I was in the mood for talking, properly, extensively, in the flesh, all night long, from the mouth, not just on a screen, and so on Friday night in Ofuna I went out with my friend, neighbour and colleague Mr Y – see photo above – in the smoking section of the only izakaya pub open at that time, and it was good : for the spirit.
For the lungs and for stench though, I must say that it was one of the worst I have ever experienced. Although he refrained for the first three hours – an exemplary case of Japanese stamina and consideration, I finally realized that he had been doing so only for my sake, which I appreciated but which seemed futile in the smoke hellish section in which we were seated, and I think he was gasping, and craving, and so started.
The next day, though. The smell.
I am not entirely sure that I can ever do it again.
Smoking is vile. The smell of it – on hair, on breath, on clothes – how I HATE the way it lingers; destroying my scented equilibriums, making me smell skunky, acrid and unclean. . The jadedness of it – that tired old nasty familiar odour. It infuriates me. It obsesses me. It makes me debate whether I can at all face a night out when I know for a fact that it will be very smoky ( so many people in this part of the world have the habit – you can’t avoid it and that, combined with the fat from restaurants swirling in the vents making love to the coagulating smoke, can make you just want to tear your clothes off, and die. Sometimes, riding the train home stinking to high heavens, as a smell sensitive person I find it absolutely unbearable. )
I loathe the grubby, lingering staleness of cigarette smoke : it smells demeaning; gruff; trash can : it lessens you. The next day that grey and ugly smell on my clothes makes me feel so irritated and polluted it can almost make me hate the night before, no matter how good it actually was.
And yet, despite all of this – bizarrely, hypocritically, I must admit here that I do myself occasionally smoke- say three to five times a year, when the moment takes me – a habit I picked up in Italy, when I was in my early twenties when everyone around me was doing the same – preferably Indonesian Kretek clove cigarettes because they remind me of Kenzo Elephant- but if I am drunk and the mood feels right I will partake; sometimes, no matter the rancid make ; enjoy a momentary clarity of vision and heart beating nicotined perception, gaze out at the stars and ill advisedly puff away but then almost immediately began to neurotically regret it and feel it trapped inside my lungs and artilleries. SMOKE moving within your own plush, wet,organic body. It’s so unnatural.I can’t understand it, a killer, ultimately, at the end of the day.
Is smoking really all that pleasurable ? One after another after another? Why do so many do it ? As though it were the last pleasure on earth……..and I was wondering : how do you smoking perfumisti reconcile your desire, or the addiction for the bacco, and the simultaneous need to smell at your optimum best? Do you have strategies to deal with the stench? I understand the whole fur coat and forties Lauren Bacall thing, that some perfumes might even collude with the smell of smoke quite beautifully – Habanita, for example: ( in that picture of me the other night taken at a club in Tokyo I was dressed up in a fake fur, ankle length Chinese men’s fur coat,wore vintage Rochas Mystere, and did indeed, stupidly smoke a cigarette). I understand the ‘glamour’ and the Gainsbourgian coolness but why do we human beings, at the end of the day, do these things, though? The smell is a repugnance, a stained and lingering banality, and an absolute antidote of beauty.
Today i smelled nice: all clean clothes, nuit de Cellophane, and my latest blood orange hand balm; bright in the night; ready to rock : I like to see old friends, and thoroughly enjoyed our conversations tonight by Yokohama station; but when i have studiously tried to create my own olfactory pleasing biosphere from the morning and then everything smells like greasy ass smoke shit I just want to toss everything single item of clothing – even my bag – afterwards immediately into a dumpster and jump into a staggering waterfall -stark naked.
On balance, I sometimes wonder whether it is even worth it. I will sometimes cancel nights out for that very reason.
Because how can you truly care about smell and still be a smoker ?
i’m quite interested to know.