(Latest letter, March 11, 2013)
For years now, I've wanted to get sprayed by a skunk. I've smelled the scent on the wind and the thought of getting skunked and taking a tomato juice bath arouses me. Still, I don't want others around me to suffer from the smell. Should I try to get sprayed or even be honest with those I’m living with about my desire?
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Some reading this might think your love of skunk spray is odd, but it does have validity. Interestingly, there have been studies on this, and while most people find skunk spray repellant, a small minority of people find the scent very pleasurable. This has a lot to do with how people are wired. It’s kind of like how some people get physical pleasure out of pain (though your interest is not so extreme as that, of course).
There are other smells that some people love while others hate, including horse manure, gasoline, mildew, body odor, and pipe or cigar smoke (I actually like pipe and cigar smoke but not cigarette smoke). Scientists who get government grants to research such things (your tax money at work) have come up with two theories: 1) it is a genetic predisposition, and 2) it is a learned behavior. Of these two theories, the second one is more supported by experimental research.
So, first of all, wanted to emphasize that you are not a weirdo for liking skunk smell. In fact, you are attracted to the musk scent in the oils of the skunk’s glands, which, interestingly, perfume and cologne manufacturers often use in their products! It is used not only for the musk component but because the chemical in it (butyl mercaptan) is a scent adherent (that’s why it’s hard to get off) that makes perfume scent last longer. Secondly, I congratulate you for being considerate of other people’s needs and that getting yourself sprayed and not cleaning it off would lose you a lot of friends.
What you can do is this: don’t try to find a wild skunk and get yourself sprayed (there is, after all, the possibility of being exposed to diseases a wild animal might be carrying, not to mention that harassing wildlife is not a good idea.) Instead, go to a local outdoorsman store (e.g. Cabela’s; hunters use it to mask their human odor from their prey) and you can purchase skunk scent in a bottle. I even found a website called SaveOnScents.com where you can purchase it (http://www.saveonscents.com/product_info.php/products_id/4831). You can then squirt some of the oil onto a handkerchief, for instance, and smell it at your leisure when you are not with others who might find it unpleasant.
As for telling others, I wouldn't make it a big deal. If the subject ever does come up, for some odd reason, in conversation you can nonchalantly mention that you like the smell of skunk, no biggie.
I think that would be the best solution for you, Angus!
Premiere of "Tail Talk"
The premiere episode of "Tail Talk" is now live on the AFA site at www.americanfurryassociation.org. Episode 1 is about the movie "Bitter Lake" and stage play "Fursona Non Grata."