The Five Worst Smells I’ve Ever Smelled

(In a very particular order.)

1. Freesia (1998)

Ever the young crafter I was, leaving me home alone was not a smart idea. Burning plastic and scotch-taping my body were a few of the many disastrous ordeals that I could find to bide my time. After a treacherous morning of arguing with my mother about my situation of drinking baby formula (until I was 13) I had a new goal: melt existing bars of soap to make new soap shapes. The purpose? There barely was one, but it was probably only to reconstruct the pre-existing formal shape of bar soap into a new creature that would clean the body, in hopes to invent a new form of soap and probably buy a new bicycle or clear purse for the seventh grade. In my less than Americanized home, the golden egg lay in the hall closet: Bath and Body Works freesia scented soap. It was most likely an Easter gift to my mom from my aunt, that she was hoping she could re-gift. I lit the stove and burned the complete fuck out of the bar of soap. The artificial oils stuck in my nostrils, not to mention clinging to the entire kitchen, for days, causing migraines to everyone who walked through the door. Needless to say, my hopes for invention did not work and it more than likely caused verbal abuse between my parents.

2. Angela (2009)

A self-proclaimed, very wealthy, supposed wife of a Russian gymnast, who wreaked of vintage Givenchy perfume. A plump, middle-aged woman, leaving her accent and scent. Working in close quarters alongside her, in an overpriced, consumer-driven, suburban department store was pure hell for the four months she worked there; until I found her on eBay and saw she was selling the merchandise that was missing in the store. She was fired and I didn’t feel bad. Especially since she smelled like shit. Somewhere between 2009 and early 2011 I developed something that makes me so sick from bad smells that I have flashbacks to Freesia. The next three scents all happened within months of each other…

3.Parmesan Eggs (2011)

I have a boyfriend that finally has a real job, (finally) a college education, and (finally) his own car, and I think my parents are fucking shit-thrilled. He is gorgeous and smart and we are team and did I mention that my parents are fucking shit-thrilled? To the point they want me to vomit. Straight to the point, my father and him text. Even further to the point, my dad will show his acceptance of my lover by cooking us breakfast, frying the fuck out of anything he can find. I will play this step by step to convey the actual scene of what happened here. Smelling a rather putrid scent from across the house, I peer into the kitchen. With my lover conversing with my father, I assume all is well. Full into the kitchen, I open the front door, while gagging, step out of the house and slowly vomit last nights cocktails and chips. My dad comes out, only leading more of the scent out of the door. I ask my dad what he is “cooking,” he is frying; eggs and grated parmesan cheese with butter and liquor. Yes, that’s fucking right. The smell made me dry-heave, and vomit within a minute of each other. I go in the kitchen to see what this mess is and it is a green pile that my boyfriend is now consuming with a smile. With him telling me to calm down, I start screaming and crying like I must be, oh five or six, because the smell is that bad. Once again, flashbacks of the Freesia ’98 Fest in the same location, and I am in a panic. On the bright side, my boyfriend made my dad happy. What a fucking champ he is, eating that shit. (He will later confess it was probably the worst thing he had ever eaten.)

4.Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Treats (2011)

Something really weird is going on with this one. There are two parts to this. My boyfriend and I went to Trader Joe’s and bought Gluten-Free Dairy-Free frozen pancakes during one of my fad diets (which usually only last a weekend until I change my mind) that I was considering a treat. After getting home and microwaving a few, after the first bite I was gagging. He had no reaction. This does not come as a surprise to me, being that he can eat Parmesan Eggs with a smile. I let it slide until the next ordeal: My mom, being an avid baker and health-conscious being, is constantly baking new recipes for cupcakes. She recently asked me to try a cupcake and the smell lurked my memory – I instantly began sweating, my jaw tight, my grip deflating, I dropped it on the floor with a weak heartbeat. When she asks what the problem is, I tell her the truth from my point-of-view: “They smell like dog’s breath.” Feeling weak and asking her what the hell smell is, she is obviously clueless. THE CUPCAKES SMELLED HOW THE PANCAKES TASTED! Now, I’ve never met anyone who can decipher the meaning of how my brain processes that statement, but it just does. It makes me ill, and the scent of any of those treats make me gag.

5.Moisturizer with Ester-C (Today)

I wrote all of this because of what happened today. Have you ever vomited and had the vomit stick to your face, creating a crust only forcing yourself to smell it throughout the day? I have not, but if so, I’d imagine it would smell how my face did today. The situation: The mate and I used a sample moisturizer from a health food store. Five minutes later I’m complaining of such a sickening smell, asking him where it is coming from. I rub my face and in doing so, I realize the moisturizer on my face smells of what I’d imagine old puke to smell like. I didn’t realize this until I was in the car, next to him, forced to smell my skin, with him remaining absent of the the smell. Flashback upon flashback, I feel weak. Starting with the Freesia Fest I had, and all of the others interrupting what pleasant smells I should be enduring, I realize a few things: I have an undiagnosed disorder and nobody smells the world that I smell. I hope it smells like baby flowers to all of you. TC mark

image – Avlxyz


More From Thought Catalog

  • Aja

    Everyone knows an “Angela”.

  • CARL

    This is hysterically and enjoyably vapid, nice job.

  • genna mae

    I am trying so hard not to guffaw like an idiot at this coffeeshop. Please keep writing things like this!

  • AdolfHipster

    The expression is “bide my time” not “buy my time”

    • Thought Catalog

      Fixed.  Thank you.

      • STaugustine

        uh:  part 2: “wreaked”…? (and I don't mean  this aggressively… I enjoyed the essay)

      • Viblastych Mbyato

        Seriously, so many errors, how did this get published?

  • Mr Shankly

    Burnt cous cous. The worst.

  • Michael Koh


  • Shwax

    “Have you ever vomited and had the vomit stick to your face, creating a
    crust only forcing yourself to smell it throughout the day?”

    -Yes, except it lasted more than a day, even with two showers and several face washes. I feel your pain.

  • Sarah

    I wonder if Cold Plasma moisturizer has Ester-C in it. The smell roughly equaled that of an animal carcass decaying in the hot sun for a few days, but worse.

    • GUEST

      “…but worse” – lol.

  • Joseph Rafidi

    me likey you're writey.

  • douchegirl

    OMG YES! 

    The absolute worst smell memory I have is this: 

    Back in '05, I was over at my best friend's house. Her mom decided to make some sort of baked salmon concoction for dinner. I guess the salmon was bad because it stunk up the house like crazy. Like, just old fish slowly baking in the oven for hours bad. AND THEN. She decided to light 4 cinnamon candles to fight the bad smell. 

    Upon smelling that bad fish/cinnamon combo, I threw up in her kitchen. 

  • bret

    i think you gots yourself a psychological problem

  • Soleman10

    You want to smell the most awful food odor in the world?  Guaranteed to bring on the puke. Take a good whiff of the Dorian fruit.

    • Jason Ham

      How dare you.

  • Anonymous

    it's “reeked” not “wreaked”.

  • Julia Kath

    oooh grooosss. but by the way, if you're looking for a great gluten-free dairy-free food: The Inspired Cookie makes amazing cookies and brownies. Try 'em out!

  • STaugustine

    “They smell like dog’s breath.”

    You have a promising future as David Lynch! Funny as phuk.

  • toofunny

    “i wrote all of this because of what happened today”
    i laughed…out loud. this whole piece is hilar!

  • Pfft

    drama queen

  • crennabampbell

    “THE CUPCAKES SMELLED HOW THE PANCAKES TASTED! Now, I’ve never met anyone who can decipher the meaning of how my brain processes that statement, but it just does.”i know EXACTLY what you mean. I think the Diet Coke at Disney World tastes like the Pirates of the Caribbean ride smells.

    • MollyPamela


  • Myemail

    I didn't read the article; I just want to know where I can get that amazingly delicious lookin' dish from the picture.

  • RamonaCC

    Mashed potatoes gone bad in the fridge. Horrible. Sometimes the smell comes from out of nowhere and my insides tighten up and my mind becomes fixed on finding out where the smell is coming from and how to stop it immediately. Blegh.

  • dex

    It's reeked, not 'wreaked'

  • eferf51
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