“Stinky! Hey Stinky!”
That was my nickname in the 9th grade. I had to endure that moniker for an entire year. How you are wondering did a big handsome fellow like me get such a mean nickname?
Kathy and Jacky were their names. They were tough girls and frankly they scared me a little. So I ignored them. They sat behind me on the bus wearing white lipstick and bleached ratted Bobs. They talked too loud about boys and who was better, the Beach Boys or the Beatles? What make up they were going to buy at Harris’s department store and who was the hottest guy in the movies this year, Steve McQueen or Sean Connery?
Every day on the bus I looked out the window at the passing orange groves and dreamed of moving away to the big city. I was deep in the midst of one of those dreams filled with nightclubs, penthouse apartments and Broadway opening nights when without warning I was suddenly drenched. I was inexplicably wet! What was going on? I jumped up and turned to look at Kathy and Jacky. They screamed in unison and fell over each other in a storm of wicked laughter. Then the horror of it hit me. Hey had doused me with a whole bottle of ‘Soir De Paris’.
The entire bus was now engulfed in laughter. “Hey Stinky!” was the war whoop. I was mortified. And come to think of it, this was the first time I ever wore a scent!
When I got to school I rushed headlong into the restroom and tried to wash it out of my hair with the grainy as beach sand Boraxo soap they used to have in the boys lavatory.. Well it turned to a horrid smelling paste! The principal thought it would be a good character builder to not let me go home and clean up…. So for the rest of the year I was “Stinky”.
Years later I ran into Kathy and I asked her why she and Jacky had baptized me in that cheap perfume.
“You mean you don’t know?”
Nope I told her.
She smiled and gave me a hug. “Oh you poor guy, we both had a crush on you and you didn’t even know we were alive. We just wanted to get your attention.”
THAT was my introduction to the wonderful world of fragrance and romance.