Remember cloves? They smelled like beautiful incense but every puff deleted about five years off of your life expectancy. I think they’re illegal now because they contained fiberglass, which is apparently a no good very terrible thing for your body. I never smoked them (or cigarettes for that matter) but my friends did and I loved it. With cigarettes, I would reprimand my friends and tell them they would all die a terrible death but when they sparked up a clove, I would beg them to blow the smoke directly into my face. Right before writing this article, I smelled a clove on 2nd Avenue (like Four Loko, I guess people stocked up) and was flooded with memories of my eighteenth birthday. For some reason, all of my friends and I had been granted permission to get a hotel in L.A. for the weekend to celebrate and the second we left our homes, all of my friends began to furiously chain smoke cloves. Because that’s what you do when you become drunk with freedom at 17 and 18—smoke cigarette after cigarette like your life depended on it. “I can’t seem to get this smoke into my lungs fast enough. Please help!” As my friends grew older (like 19), they got the memo that cloves were sort of embarrassing and deadly so they switched to smoking cigarettes, which is also deadly but decidedly less shameful. Bummer because cigarettes smell like dead bodies and cloves smell like rainbows and cotton candy.
2. Raspberry scented lotion from Bath & Body Works
Okay guys, I’m about to take you somewhere real #dark so bear with me. So when I started having sex in high school, I didn’t really know much about lubrication other than I obviously needed it. So when it came time to get down to business, my “partner” and I would just use whatever was around, which, in most cases, turned out to be a bottle of raspberry scented lotion from Bath & Body Works that may or may not have belonged to my mother. We used it so much that I obviously couldn’t use it as a real lotion. In my mind, it was Gay Sex scented lotion from Bath & Body Works, not raspberry. Your associations with smell are crazy like that. You could be sniffing something fruity and actually smell sweaty bodies and buttholes. I realized just how strong my association was when I found myself in class a year later when all of a sudden I started to smell something that could only be described as sex. I looked over and saw a girl rubbing the very same lotion I used to lube up with on her newborn baby hands. Needless to say, I got very nauseous and had to switch tables immediately. I also wanted to snatch the bottle out of her hands and be like, “No! You don’t know where this lotion has been. It will only get you dirty, not clean!” but decided against it for fear that it would make me look crazy.
This is obvious. Weed and teenagers goes together like bad decision-making and Lindsay Lohan, but my association with weed extends beyond just my friends and I getting baked on a Saturday afternoon. They mostly have to do with my older sister who, after dropping out of Hampshire, moved into the backroom of our house and proceeded to become a full-fledged stoner. I didn’t really know what pot smelled like until I went into my sister’s room and was bombarded with the smell of pungent weed and Nag Champa. Incidentally, my sister was the very first person to smoke me out. I didn’t get stoned though because I couldn’t quite grasp the concept of inhaling. In fact, I still can’t.
4. The beach
I was lucky enough to grow up in a small coastal beach town with the ocean at my fingertips. It was something I didn’t quite appreciate though. Growing up, I thought everyone had a beach five minutes away from their house and couldn’t quite understand that people lived in places like Michigan or Wisconsin where actual snow fell from the sky. You would think that because of its close proximity, my friends and I would be at the beach every chance we got. Um, no. We never went. I mean, we had bonfires and stuff but actual beach days were few and far in between. Believe me, I’m kicking myself each and every day in New York. Now, when I think of my adolescence, I have this false image of my friends and I living at the beach, surfing, making sand castles and tanning. The smell of an ocean breeze at Rockaway Beach implants these memories of me being a beach bum that aren’t even remotely true. Oh well. Your brain is weird.
5. Glow by J.Lo
In high school, Glow by J.Lo was the hot perfume. Sure, it smelled like baby prostitute but that was kind of where we were at in our lives—smelling like cheap whores courtesy of a superstar! I haven’t smelled it in a long time but if I did, I would be instantly reminded of my best friend Kristy wearing Daisy Duke’s and making out with her boyfriend on my front lawn, living the teenage dream.