My Musk

by Nic Olson

Like a vanilla plant soaked in coconut oils growing on an island of lilacs, crop dusted with the scent of a million ripe raspberries. That is my scent sample.

I have somehow fallen into writing those self-righteous pieces where I take an already impressively dull, regular life occurrence and attempt a subtle philosophical turn that only adds to the already established monotony in hopes that it will make you think for several days about the dire situation we as human beings find ourselves in.

I’m tired of that shit.

So today I will talk about summer musk, opposing all of my instincts that tell me if I want a girl to talk to me ever again, then I will avoid this. But after five years of self-deprecating, self-disgusting posts, it would be irresponsible of me to stop now.

Musk is more than just a moist underarm. I hosted a few CouchSurfers last night. One of the free-spirited girls, a very sweet and bubbly traveller from Montreal, had unshaven armpits. I noticed. And for whatever reason I thought about it. I still am thinking about it. The sight of curly rough hair immediately brings about thoughts of unfortunate scents, when, at least my scientist brother told me, hair actually prevents the accumulation of sour smells, which is why it is found where it is found. The wonders of body hair.

I can often be found pedalling down Victoria Avenue with my arms spread wide, my free Large t-shirt flapping wildly off of my ever-thinning body. Airing it all out. My musk might be broken down into the following parts: One part bonfire smoke from a week straight of evening fires, one part garlic from cooking garlic-heavy vegan food, one part human sweat, one part vegan and aluminum-free deodorant, one part basement mustiness, one part woodsman. These parts sum up into a salt-and-vinegar chip, sharp and sweet tomato plant, fishing on a Southern Saskatchewan lake, kind of not-entirely-unpleasant scent that characterizes myself.

Someone once told me that any artificial raspberry flavouring comes from the anal glands of a beaver. Scents and flavours, same thing.

Maybe Old Spice and the other chemical concoctions that call themselves colognes should start a line of scents from everyday men like myself. Mine could be called Basement Breath, with subtle bouquets of dumpster and old shoe. It could also be called Watertrash Willow Whisper, or Beaver Asshole Bold, or Greasy Glacier Mist.

I have encountered several people who have very distinct and evident scents. These scents are always pleasant, like a subtle calling card sent directly to the nose. I have never been able to tell me if this is an artificial, conscious-decision of a scent or if it is rather a physical attribute to the gallantry of a man or loveliness of a woman. A pheromonal release that occurs at all times, especially in times of stress, sexual attraction or bad stomach illness. I am just discovering my own. I am finding myself as a person in the same way that I am finding my musk. I am finding my musk in the same way a beaver finds proper logs and trees for his huts and damns; chewing on everything, working hard with no time for bathing, and secreting a fruit-flavoured scent out of my rectal area.

My musk.

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