From Crim Dell to boys: the stench of spring

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April 10, 2007

1:08 PM

Something has taken over the campus: A terrible smell has settled over the buildings and landmarks of this adored institution. Not just one smell, but distinct and characteristic smells, each foul in its own particular way.

p. Only a few weeks ago, the stench of fertilized mulch hung around Jamestown North and South — this smell, at least, has a purpose. The scent of soil and planting can be a little comforting, if not pleasant. The thought of spring flowers in all of their radiant, well-nourished glory helps temper the odor.

p. However, this raises other questions about similar nasal-offenders. What on earth is the reason for the over-cooked broccoli smell in Tucker? An oscillating bouquet of cruciferous vegetables and the scent of raw sewage plagues my favorite building on Old Campus. I have heard the most concentrated area of stench is down in the Charles Center — hardly conducive to inviting students to apply for grants and fellowships. Perhaps this problem might speed along the rumored renovation of the structure.

p. Moving on to that most delicate of ecosystems, the Crim Dell is in full stink bloom as of late. The smell begins along the Landrum path and lasts to the UC Terrace, forcing a quicker pace as one moves by the picturesque spot. The smell poses a problem for tour guides as well: Usually we stop by the Crim Dell to regroup, tell stories about the traditions and superstitions of the site and let prospectives snap photos of our beautiful campus. Recently, these moments have been cut abruptly short because the smell of some biological decay makes it hard to wax poetic about the bridge and its surroundings.

p. The runoff from the Crim Dell travels along the paths in the woods toward that large sinkhole and the smell travels with it. While some students complain that the hole should be filled in or miraculously fixed, it does serve an ecological function as a drainage and overflow basin. Some classes muck around down there for research; perhaps a new assignment should be to figure out its bacterial composition and why on Earth that little area produces so much sulfur gas. That would certainly have a place in a syllabus.

p. While individuals have no way to fix these situations, there is a final smell that I hope to banish from campus — the over-cologned male. Perhaps these students feel a need to mask the various other unpleasant scents on campus with their own overpowering musk. Perhaps they would like to mark every girl they hug with a distinct halo of transferred scent. Please, spare us your consideration; you reek.

p. It is not only the stench of imposter designer cologne that gets me. Any fragrance applied with a heavy hand ruins desired effect. Even the most expensive, delicately mixed notes will render one nauseated if splashed on like aftershave. Please, I beg you, stop choking your peers with asphyxiates in the guise of colognes, body sprays and body splashes.

p. If a guy takes care of his personal hygiene, I promise he’ll smell good. Nothing can mimic the scent of clean, freshly washed skin, the limited but thorough application of deodorant, the delicacy of moisturizer, the minty notes of a well-cared-for mouth or the mild halo of hair product. This subtle balance cannot be recreated in a lab and slapped on willy-nilly in an attempt to appear well groomed. The finishing touch of extra fragrance should be the last step in a full pampering routine, after which, nobody needs the additional help anyway.

p. Regardless of the general aroma of campus, please, do not take on the task of masking the odors single-handedly. It’s more nauseating than a dip in the Crim Dell.

p. __Charlotte Savino is a Confusion Corner columnist for The Flat Hat. She uses only the lightest spritz of designer perfume.__

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