Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The Lynx Effect

I hate going to the PE block at school. I try to avoid it as much as possible but occasionally I have to go and hoik a child out for tutoring. The PE block is ENORMOUS. It used to be the local sports centre, and has many floors and many corridors which is never a good combination for someone who has no sense of direction i.e me.

And then there's the over-powering smell of Lynx deodorant. There's nothing subtle about the post-PE freshen up ritual of a teenage boy. It's in off the rugby pitch, off with the smelly PE top (which I suspect in many cases gets washed only once a half term, spending the interim 6 weeks festering in a damp ball at the bottom of a faux-leather sports bag), out with the aerosol and spray, spray, spraaaaaaaaaaaaay with wild abandon until every living creature within a five metre radius is left gasping for breath.

Multiply that by 15 six times a day and it's no wonder PE staff looked permanently dazed.

In my last school, my drama room studio used to share a corridor with the PE department. I used to suffer the Lynx effect there, too. I tried to counteract it with a lavender oil burner, but I was fighting a losing battle.

What's wrong with the fresh smell of Palmolive, I wonder. Or Wright's Coal Tar? Cor, that brings back some memories. Fantastic smell - fresh and invigorating. Personally, I'd be happier if the kids just rolled in some freshly mown grass.

It's funny how smells evoke particular memories. Fresh paint, for example, reminds me of Christmas, because my Dad insisted we move house (where he'd done some painting) just 3 days before Christmas. Wood shavings - my Dad's carpentry workshop. Anne French Cleansing milk evokes memories of teenage years. Plasticine, of the incessant models I used to make for an elderly and very tolerant neighbour who would display them on her mantlepiece. Raspberry jam takes me back to visiting another neighbour and being allowed to make jam tarts when I was 6 or 7. Plastic is the smell of caravan holidays where I slept on a camp bed in the awning. Ralph Lauren's perfume, Romance, reminds me of mine and Andy's wedding day, because it was a gift from my matron of honour. Wright's Coal Tar reminds me of my grandparent's out-house; wood smoke, of my other grandparent's breakfast room. Coal smoke brings memories of childhood trips on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Miniature Railway, Nivea cold cream reminds me of an aunt of mine. Cloves remind me of the dentist. Cat fur reminds me of a little toy koala I had, which in hindsight must have been made from real animal fur.

And I suppose that Lynx deodorant will always remind me of PE departments.


Olly said...

Anne French, my goodness do they still make that? Interesting what you say about the koala, I had one like that, and yes, now you mention it, it must have been made from animal fur ... yeuch!

Denise said...

I loved my little koala. I've no idea where it came from, or where it went for that matter, but as a five year old I loved burying my nose in it and sniffing it!

It's a habit my cats have to bear now!

As for Anne French, well, I used it as a cleanser when I was a teenager but it didn't half make my skin sting. Lord knows what they put in it. The original chemical peel, no doubt.