Remember when I told you all how I’m barely a girl? How I eat like a man with a piece of bread in my left hand, ready to dip in gravy? How I despise chick flicks, how my jewelry box looks like it belongs to a nun, and how I hate romance and happy endings even in real life?

Yeah, well, I don’t wear perfume either. Another notch on my big, manly rawhide belt. Occasionally, when I have somewhere special to go, I wear Kiehl’s Original Musk, which my friend Nicola gave me. It is really beautiful, more than I deserve, really. But I still can’t get into the habit of wearing it on a daily basis. And I can honestly say I haven’t purchased a bottle of cologne or perfume for myself since the early ‘80s and I bought something that could have gotten me a date with Boom Boom Mancini, but instead got me in trouble in the newsroom where I worked.

My husband and I had gone to a concert with some people we knew and there was another couple who came along. The woman’s cologne was really different and exotic. I asked her the name of her perfume, without giving the impression that I was gay for her, and she told me. I went to Strouss’ in the Eastwood Mall and went up to the cologne counter and asked for it by name.

“Oh, this is a very nice scent,” the girl behind the counter told me. “This is the cologne that Boom Boom Mancini buys for all of his new girlfriends.” She went on to tell me that Boom Boom, the boxer and Youngstown’s favorite son, loved the scent so much that when he started to date a girl, the first thing he did was go to Strouss’ in the Eastwood Mall and buy her a bottle of this stuff and give it to her and tell her to wear it on all of their dates.

Well give me a bottle of that!

I bought it and wore it like the dickens, picturing me and Boom Boom walking hand-in-hand around the Eastwood Mall, him stopping in front of Sears to smell my neck once in a while.

I wore it to work every day, wore it out at night, wore it, wore it, wore it.

Then I got my desk moved at the paper where I was a reporter. Someone came back from maternity leave and ousted me and I had to go sit in the back of the newsroom by the special projects editor and another lady. The special projects editor was cool. She and I had both worked with the publisher of another small Ohio newspaper, who she dated and who I just worked for, who later killed himself and his girlfriend in a grisly murder-suicide that was overflowing with gossip, sex, weirdness and apparently mental illness. So we had that to talk about.

The other lady was another story. She was a little older than me, had a bunch of kids, a back-to-nature life philosophy, a big bust and a Volvo. She was kind of a know-it-all and I didn’t have a whole lot in common with her, but because I’m nice to everyone, I thought we were getting along pretty well back there in our corner.

Then one day she came over to my desk and said, “Can I talk to you in the hall?” I followed her out to the hall and we stood in a darkened corner and she said, “Could I ask you not to wear that perfume you wear every day? It’s really bothering me.”

I was so shocked by what she said I just nodded my head and mumbled something completely acquiescent and slithered back to my desk.

An hour later I was starting to get really pissed. Bothering her? Give me a break. I didn’t see her sniffle or rub her eyes or anything. As you know I have a very sensitive nose. If anyone was going to be offended by the Boom Boom perfume, it would have been me.

If I had been a more assertive person, I would have gone over to her desk and said, “Can I see you in the hall?” and then pointed out to her that a) this wasn’t some cheap drug store Skinny Dip we were talking here. This perfume was pricey and worth every penny. The fact that it wasn’t cheap makes it impossible for you to be bothered by it.

And b) I hope you realize that you’ll never be Boom Boom’s girlfriend with that whiney attitude.

After that incident I stopped wearing perfume altogether. Couldn’t come up with an alternative that I was confident wouldn’t sicken the people around me, so it just wasn’t fun anymore to smell good.

Actually, not wearing perfume goes along with my other non-girliness, so I guess that whole incident did me a favor.

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