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It’s Not Me. It’s You.

At the beginning of any new relationship, you have to get acquainted with the other person’s mannerisms, preferences and even their quirks. One of my first dates with Oregano was to watch a tennis match at the U.S. Open held in Flushing Meadows, New York. We were still in the very early days of our relationship, in fact, it was so early I shouldn’t even go so far as to refer to it as a relationship. It was just a date.

I’m not the biggest sports fan, but I do like to watch tennis.  I’d never been to a live tennis match, so I was very excited to go to the U.S. Open and moderately excited to be spending the evening with Oregano. On our way into the stadium, Oregano bought a t-shirt. We grabbed some drinks and waded through the sea of humanity to find our seats.

As we hiked up the mountain of stairs to get to the nose-bleed section, I realized that we were so high up, we could read the tail numbers on the planes that had just taken off from nearby LaGuardia Airport. We found the row with our seats and excused ourselves as we sidestepped our way to the center of the section.  After some jostling of bags and drinks, we settled in. To be festive and in the moment, Oregano slipped his new t-shirt over his head. We sat back and watched as the first ball was served.

Not five minutes into the match, Oregano leaned over and sniffed behind my ear. I thought it was strange, especially since I wasn’t wearing any perfume. Maybe he was checking to see if I was. Whatever his reasoning, I chose to pretend that I didn’t notice this odd behavior. A few more minutes passed and he leaned over and sniffed my shoulder. I gave him a strange look this time, but said nothing. Another ten minutes passed and he leaned in for a longer, deeper whiff. This one I couldn’t ignore.

“Can I help you with something?”  I said concerned about his bizarre behavior.  “Why do you keep sniffing me?”

“I smell something strange,” he answered not seeming to understand the level of creepiness he was exuding with his olfactory oddness.

“I took a shower today. I have on deodorant and I’m not wearing any perfume. Whatever funky smell you’re smelling isn’t coming from me,” I said a bit indignantly.

“I think it is,” he countered.

“Seriously! We are sitting here squashed in among all of these people and you think that smell is emanating from me?!” I was annoyed.

“These people,” I said gesturing to the mob surrounding us, “aren’t exactly the tea and crumpets Wimbledon crowd. How do you know it’s not one of them causing the stench?”

“At first, that’s what I thought, but the smell is definitely coming from right here,” he motioned to the air between us.

I took a whiff and definitely smelled a funky chemical odor. I leaned closer to him, grabbed the sleeve of his newly purchased t-shirt and inhaled.

“This is the culprit,” I said dropping the fabric from my hand. “It’s not me. It’s you! You smell,” I nearly shouted.

Oregano pulled the shirt up to his nose. “Huh! I guess it is me. I thought it was you. Sorry about that,” he said smiling sheepishly at me.

Despite Oregano’s less than charming behavior during the infancy stages of our relationship, I married him anyway. I didn’t know it at the time, but that date was foreshadowing my future. For the last 21 years, whenever there has been a funky smell, it’s usually coming from him.

And now a word from our sponsor

For the past two weeks Oregano and I have been playing host and tour guide to Flat Kathy of The Fantastical Voyages of Flat Kathy. She’s been having adventures around the world since last November. If you’d like to see what she has been up to on her first trip to the United States. Click here to pop over to her blog.

About Paprika Furstenburg

I was born with an overly developed sense of humor and poor coordination. The combination of these two character traits has taught me humility and given me the perspective to find the funny in everyday experiences.

67 responses »

  1. now that was funny! it reminds me a bit about Timmy when he was having a bit of a GI problem a few months after moving in. he was sitting comfortably in my arms when all of a sudden he expressed some air, to put it delicately. although there was nothing delicate about the aroma which filled the air. and within moments he looked at me, all perturbed and annoyed, as if to say, what did you do? and jumped onto the floor. 🙂

  2. that was weird AND hilariously funky. haha.

  3. this was hilarious! thank you! : )

  4. I am wondering if first date(s) are foreshadowings of things to come. My dearly beloved was threatened with physcial violence, yes by me.

    Love that he couldn’t figure out the smell was coming from him.

  5. The last line was the best! It’s late, but I’ll explore Flat Kathy tomorrow…

    Love, Paula

  6. Paprika … Funny stuff. Happy 21st anniversary, I’m guessing? Oregano sounds like a keeper. He was sheepish, after all, when he discovered his error.

    Your post got me thinking of that song by Lynyrd Skynard … “Ooh, that smell. Can’t you smell that smell?” (1977)

  7. Great story! I should think back to my first date with my husband Anne see if it explains a lot about out relationship now, lol!

  8. Hilarious! And it sounds like he became less weird with time. Most men get more weird.

  9. Hi honey – interesting that you didn’t ask me to review this post before you finalized it. You also didn’t tell me that you posted anything today. I wonder why. Something smells fishy, and I think it’s coming from you! Just kidding, of course. Love, me

  10. I am the guilty one of funky smells in our relationship and my shoes are banned from coming inside the house. Just a random fact that I thought I would share…


    Still laughing…. l love this story and love that you kept him. Cannot believe it has been 21 years!!!!

  12. Vivian Landsburg

    I haven’t been commenting, but want you to know I enjoy reading your posts. This post pushed me to take action, and to tell you how much pleasure you provide. Thanks! (I’m still smiling!)

    • Thank you for taking the time to leave such a lovely comment, Vivian. I’m so happy to know that you’ve been following the posts and that you’ve been enjoying them so much. It makes me want to keep writing them.

  13. Now I’ve got the J. Geils Band song “Love Stinks” looping in my mind. I’m glad yours was a case of stinky shirt and not unrequited love. 😉

    • Thanks, Lisa. Not only do I have that song stuck in my head now, I can see the video for it, too. I keep visualizing that fish singing “Love Stinks.”

      Who knew that stinky shirt would lead to marriage?

  14. That was so funny!! I never heard that story!! Oregano was probably just problem-solving on his own before mentioning anything….and he was wearing the culprit!! Very funny blog! Sorry about the nosebleed seats…we probably gave you the tickets!! So glad you kept him!!

    • If he was problem solving on his own he should have found a less creepy way to do it.

      Actually, you did give us the seats. We had a great time, once we figured out where the smell was coming from.

      It wasn’t such a hardship keeping him 🙂 Besides, he came with a great package deal… you and Basil!

  15. My family’s tennis crazy, though we live in England, so we’re the ‘tea and crumpets crowd’. 😉

    • I’ve never been to Wimbledon, but I’ve watched it on TV. I can assure you that while the crowd in NY was enthusiastic, they were definitely not of the tea and crumpets persuasion. No royal boxes at the U.S. Open even though it is in Queens, NY.

  16. In a rather unique way, you reinforced the old adage “whoever ‘smelt’ it, dealt it.”

  17. That sounds like a memorable date, Paprika! I hope it wasn’t your *first* date with each other?! Still laughing…

    • It wasn’t our first date. On our first date, I had pink eye (conjunctivitis) and couldn’t wear any eye make-up. This lovely encounter occurred on our third date.

      • LOL! I think the two of you were meant for each other. Besides, Paprika and Oregano make a fabulous pizza topping, and in fact go well together with everything. 😉

      • Awww… thanks, Reggie.

        Paprika and oregano may be great pizza toppings, but you’re still not going to convince me that bananas are. 🙂

      • I know, I know….

        To be honest, I didn’t think they would be either – until I had to lay off cheese permanently, and hubby persuaded me to try pizza with tomatoes, red peppers – and bananas. I’ve been hooked ever since!

        Incidentally, they also taste very good with pieces of crispy bacon and avocado. 😉

      • I guess this falls into the category of “don’t knock it till you try it.”

        Bananas and bacon sound fabulous together. I might have to try that one, just not on a pizza.

        I’ve had bacon and avocado on a pizza and that is a great combo, but I’ve never thought to mix bacon, avocado and bananas.

        As I type this I’m wondering if your bananas are the same as our bananas or more similar to what we call plaintains – which is a much less sweet version of our bananas.

      • I agree! Bacon and bananas do go well together, as do bacon and avocado – so I thought, “Why not mix all three together”… add some red peppers and tomatoes, and there you have a really balanced pizza topping. Yum.

        Our bananas aren’t plantains, as far as I know; I think they’re the same as your bananas, and probably similarly sweet. When you put them on pizza, they become a little creamier.

        I think one of the reasons we often combine those three on a pizza is because they’re available year-round. Avocado is seasonal, as is pineapple is seasonal (unless you go for the very sweet and juicy canned version, which just tastes excessively sweet on a pizza), and crispy bacon ain’t all that healthy.

        I know there’s a lot of other meats and seafood things you can put on pizza, but I’m allergic to all things seafood, and don’t eat a lot of meat. So that leaves vegetarian combos, of which there aren’t many available in the restaurants. Particularly not without cheese! 😉

        I’ve also tried roasted sweet butternut and sliced zucchinis or baby marrows in various combos – those also work, but they need a longer roasting time, so one needs to pre-prepare them before putting them on the pizza. And that kind of defeats the object of “making a quick pizza for supper”. 😉

        Right… Now you’ve made me hungry for pizza, even though we’ve just had supper. Ah well, Friday night – tomorrow – is a GREAT night for Pizza!!!

      • Thanks for some great pizza topping ideas. Might have to try some of the roasted veggie ones. Enjoy your pizza tomorrow 🙂

  18. Hysterical!!:)

  19. Love it – even with their quirkiness we still marry them to keep them out of the dating pool. Mine’s a worrier to the nth degree. Claims I’m the reason he’s losing his hair; sadly there are dating pictures proving he had a full head of hair. Oh well – like I’ve said, I’ve often wished for his hips and he, my hair……God only made a few beautiful heads; the rest he covered with hair.

  20. I think it’s funny that he wouldn’t ask if you smelled something funny too, before sniffing all over you:).. Hilarious!

  21. How funny – (come to think of it, some fabrics do smell)
    Love your description of your seats (3rd paragraph) It doesn’t matter – you were there!
    Great story

    • The shirt really did have funky odor, even after he washed it. I don’t know why that is – something to do with the dye or the silk screening.

      The seats were in the last few rows of the stadium. It didn’t matter. It was a lot of fun to watch the tennis even if the ball was nearly invisible from that vantage point.

  22. LMAO!!!! Love it!!!!

  23. Somehow it doesn’t surprise me that a guy would first blame you before checking himself out. If you smelled it first, you would be checking your armpits and other private spots before making any accusations. Gotta love ’em though.

    • You are absolutely right, Kate. A woman would have considered all personal possibilities before blaming her date for the odor. He’s never lived this one down, but it has given us something to laugh about for 20 years.

  24. Hahaha, great story! I hope he learned a valuable lesson about jumping to smelly conclusions!


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