You smell …

I love my hairstylist. I drive 40 minutes just to get my hair trimmed by Michele. She is young, vibrant, gorgeous – a tiny trim thing with bright green eyes and glorious blonde hair falling in waves down her back. The kind of person that would stop a man in his tracks, just to look at her. I would stop to look at her. And I don’t swing that way.

I mean, my mother used to say that I was “boy crazy from the womb.” And really, what kind of thing is “boy crazy?” That I turned into a raving lunatic and ripped my hair out by the roots when a person of the opposite sex entered the house? Followed them, drooling, from room to room?

I do know that as young as 5, there were two men I was in love with. One was my Swiss grandfather. Because he was quirky. He cussed and hid cigarettes in his left hand shirt pocket so my grandmother wouldn’t find them.

The other man I fell deeply in love with, at age 5, was Ricky Ricardo. No shit. I dreamed of Ricky Ricardo when I wasn’t dreaming of Mighty Mouse. That may also explain some of the bad boyfriend choices I made in my 20s. But that’s a whole different blog, one I would be ill advised to write with small children present.

Last month Michele was trimming my unruly mop, smiled sweetly and said “you have your own well, don’t you?” Wow – aside from being everything I would ever want to be,  she’s also a mystic. “Yes, I have my own well. How could you have known that?”

“Well, Susan, I can smell you.”

“OMG” I squealed.” I smell?”

Michele tried to backtrack and said “oh, really, I’m sure nobody else notices. I just notice every time I wash your hair. It smells like iron. But it’s really not that bad. Just, well, a really strong iron smell.”

I’m doomed. I don’t have much going for me. I have 2 bad ankles that consistently twist during inopportune times. Like when I walked into the Amphitheater in Hollywood during a Beach Boys Revival concert, hands full of drinks, and fell down the first flight of stairs, in a packed house.

Or when I was running with the dog, twisted my ankle, tripped, tried to get my feet back under me by running, but couldn’t do it in time before I slammed my head into the steel posts holding up our backyard gazebo.

Or when I went for a walk with my husband at our Fijian resort, stepped on a tiny coconut, fell on the gravel, hurt my knee and fainted when my husband tried to get me up. It took years before I could convince him that I wasn’t prone to fits, I didn’t have a life altering illness or any kind of communicable disease that had reached my frontal cortex.

I don’t have any kind of noticeable skill. I’m not clever or crafty. And I can’t fall back on my looks, because I’d be falling a long, long way. I have intelligence and a personality, which some may find attractive but sarcasm and smarts from a girl who trips in her own kitchen and smacks her face into the front of the refrigerator doesn’t quite cut it.

What I have are good hair (if cut right), good skin and strong teeth and bones.

And now I find that my hairstylist probably cringes and backs away in revulsion at the rusty nail smell I seem to ooze from every pore.

I smell. I don’t smell like a garden of earthly delights. Of  cucumber lime body wash. Or of  lemon basil body spray. Or even of the pina colada shampoo I used that morning. I smell like something that’s been putrefying for a year – since I started cleaning myself with the age old detritus that was lying in wait, in my well. The flotsam and jetsam that was streaming down upon my innocent self every single day for an entire year.

I smell.

And it’s not one of those “oh, she lives on a farm and has chickens” kind of forgivable smell. It’s one of those smells that you can’t quite put your finger on. Iron. Is it a metallic iron smell? Do I smell like a bloody piece of calves liver? Or like the undead?


These are things I think I need to know. I asked my friend Bridget, and she only told me “you need to get a whole house filter Susan. You can’t get iron out of your body without a blood transfusion!”


You mean I can’t just go to the beauty supply store and get a stronger scented lotion and shampoo? I have to actually pay to have someone clean out my blood?

I told Brad that we IMMEDIATELY need to get a whole house filter before my fingertips started falling off. And since I actually make a living by writing stuff, we’d both be broke, retire, and sit on the side of the freeway with signs saying “will sing for a salami sandwich.”

His advice? “You need to get another hair stylist.”

I’m so screwed.

3 thoughts on “You smell …

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