What The Hell Is That Disagreeable Odor? Is it—-FEET??????

Are you as sensitive to scents, smells, odors and fragrances as I am?  I mean it. Factors other than a lifetime of allergies and sinus issues have added to my “Scents-it-ivity”. 

Hypochondria is a factor. It started when I was about ten years old. I read a biography of a famous person. Damned if I can remember the person I read about, but he died of a brain tumor. And the symptom that leads to the drastic finding was that he smelled odors that weren’t there.

It affected me.   If I smell something unusual I will ask Bonaparte or anyone within my space if they smell the same odor. If they do, I feel much better. If not; I panic.


My reaction to many disagreeable odors is usually something like this.

When I’m in my car driving on the highway or any road, the disagreeable odor of exhaust or gas or rubber will waft through to my nasal passages. I will freak out because I will oftentimes think something is wrong with my car or me—only to find out that a massive truck up ahead is polluting the area with the black cloud of poisonous fumes exiting its exhaust pipe.  Believe it or not, it gives me great comfort that the stink is not coming from my car. It gives me greater comfort to find that the odor is real and not imagined.

During the holidays I cannot walk into many stores—especially craft stores, because of the goddam cinnamon scent emanating from those piles of pine cones.  Pine cones are not supposed to reek of artificial cinnamon. Otherwise they would be called “cinnamon” cones. Pine cones are supposed to smell like pine. And the scent of pine is pleasant and clean. WTF is it with the cinnamon scent anyway? It causes such awful headaches for me that I need to be in bed with the lights off.

Tis The Season Pinecones

These cinnamon scented pine cones are the most vile, disagreeable and offensive odor of all time.  My head aches just looking at this!

I’m also that person who shies runs away from perfume counters. Certain perfumes give me horrific headaches. That is why I limit myself to very few scents.

My three scents

These three scents are the ONLY ones I can wear without getting a headache.  From left:  L’Instant by Guerlain; La Petite Robe Noire also by Guerlain; Fleur d’Oranger by Fragonard. All other perfumes are merely disagreeable odors to me.

Some people aren’t as scents-it-ive.  Example:  When we lived in New Jersey, I had the unfortunate event of a dryer fire. (Remember to clean out the MOTOR of your dryer once a year. Cleaning out the lint isn’t enough. I learned the hard way).

Luckily my home was saved but the washer and dryer had to be replaced.  The house had extensive smoke damage and I’ll never forget that awful burning scent. However, my son Roman didn’t appear to be bothered by the smell.

The day after the fire, Roman, who was in high school at the time, got dressed and headed off to school.  Since I was starting to tackle some of the clean up, I wasn’t paying much attention to his choice of clothing.

A couple of hours later, I received a phone call from the high school office.  Mrs. Baker, the greatest high school office secretary of all time, requested that I come to the school immediately with a change of clothing for Roman.  This was confusing.  I knew that he was far too old to have had made a “mistake” and I explained that I was waiting for the cleanup crew to arrive at my home due to a fire.

Mrs. Baker knew about the fire and proceeded to explain to me that the clothes Roman was wearing were taken out of the burnt dryer. He tried to disguise the burnt smell with an overabundance of cologne and that the classrooms and corridors he had been in—well, they smelled bad.

dryer and burnt clothing is not a nice scent

Dryer+fire+burnt clothing+Curve men’s cologne = One very bad smell!

I got one of my neighbors to wait for the cleaning crew and high tailed it down to the school with a change of clothing that, luckily, hadn’t fallen victim to the fire or to the scent of smoke.

When I arrived at the school, Roman was waiting in the office without a care in the world or any concern of the disagreeable odor surrounding his person.   The conversation went something like this:

Me:  “OMG. Roman!  ” What did you DO?” Why did you wear those clothes?  What did you spray on them?”  “Ugh!”  “It’s awful”.

Roman:  “Um. These corduroy’s are new and I didn’t want to get rid of them” “I took them out of the dryer and tried to make them smell good so I sprayed Curve on them” “They don’t smell bad”

Me:  “Change into these. I’ll take your other clothes with me and throw them in the trash”

Roman:  “Don’t throw them out. They’re new” “I love those corduroys”

Maybe it’s a teenaged boy thing.

Anyway. I’m the one who isn’t sensitive to the scent of a clean detergent. Nor does the scent of a laundry spray bother me—if it’s not too floral. Lately I’m into those scent pellets for the dryer!

Linen spray and scent booster

I love the very agreeable scent of clean clothing!

And I always have a scented spray in the bathrooms to mask some otherwise offensive odors that come with certain bodily eliminations.

Scented beads and room spray

My bestie Mary Beth DiBiase gifted me with these. The beads are great for eliminating kitchen odors–and the Sage & Citrus spray is great for eliminating the odor of food that has exited one’s body through waste!

My purse is filled with flavored  gum, Violet candies, and little breath fresheners. You never know when that garlic you ate the night before will seek revenge and leave your body as the worth breath on earth!

Gum violets and breath freshner

I especially have a fondness for Violets. Not only do these little candies smell good but they taste soapy–giving me memories of all those times my mother washed my gutter mouth out!

A spare stick of deodorant has always been kept in my desk at the office (when I had a job), because sometimes stress attacks, not in a pit like a trench, but in the arm pit.

Which brings me to this:

Yesterday I rediscovered a very attractive pair of ballet flats.  These shoes were purchased on sale at Banana Republic quite some time ago. Years ago, in fact.  When I put them on, I pondered as to why they were sitting in a box and not worn very much.

BR shoes

These shoes really are very flattering to the foot–but it ends there! Read on!

It was only a couple of hours later when I realized just why these were not worn often.

I went to the mall to make a bra purchase at Victoria’s Secret. VS was having a sale and I’m a fan of the brand’s bras.  Also needing exercise, I decided to “walk the mall”—stopping every now and then to try on clothing or perhaps shoes.

New bra

Bra info

This bra is not only perfect for under a tee or knit shirt, but the support it gives to women with saggy girls is incredible! I highly recommend!

As I approached J. Crew, I noticed a 25% off sale in progress.  I entered and went straight to the shoe area.  I’ve been admiring the Gemma, a pointy-toed flat that I would never pay full price for.  And as much as I am not a fan of J. Crew’s most uncomfortable heels, the flats are pretty comfortable. (Even though they stretch out like crazy…..)


Aren’t these Gemma flats adorable? Another addition to my love/hate relationship with J. Crew!

The shoe area was empty and I saw that the pair on display was my size so I slipped my Banana Republic ballet flat off.  As soon as the shoe came off, I noticed an odor. This odor was not pleasant. It was downright disagreeable!

I sniffed a bit—like a dog sniffing the air outside on a cool day.


Actually, I sniffed more like this!

I smelled the tartness of  vinegar—but nobody was eating a salad with vinaigrette dressing.  In that mix, I could detect the slight scent of sweat—but it was apparent that none of the shoppers in the store had come from a taxing workout.  This horrible vinegar/sweat smell was incredibly close to me.


The scent was more like red wine vinegar–not as sweet as balsamic!

Then it hit me like my momma’s slap!  The odor was coming from my feet.  You have never seen anyone put shoes back on and leave an area so quickly!  In fact, when I was over by the sale rack, a sales assistant approached me and asked me if I needed help. I asked for the Gemma flats in black, in size 8 1/2.  When she asked if I wanted to try them on, I explained, fibbed, lied and told her I had two pairs in other colors.  God forbig she should be subjected to the odor from my feet!  I should be ashamed for lying during Lent—but I’m not!

And it dawned on me as to why I hadn’t worn those Banana Republic shoes. They are not leather. I should have known! Further proof of this was that there was no indication of the shoe’s material to be found. If the shoe is leather, “leather upper” or some indication of leather will be printed either inside the shoe or on the sole.

Genuine Leather. Stamp of my nasal approval

At least J. Crew will let the consumer be aware that the shoe is genuine leather. Banana Republic didn’t do this–a clear indication the shoes are synthetic!

This odor issue has only happened twice before and both times the shoes were not leather. They were synthetic materials.  And both times I ended up with the humiliating symptom of stinky feet!

Now, I am not one to wear socks with shoes. I’ll wear socks with boots only for comfort reasons. But shoes. No. I like my feet to breathe. And since all my shoes are leather, I don’t feel the need for socks.

But yesterday was different. While I was mortified that the most disagreeable odor was coming from my feet, I later broke down and purchased sheer foot liners. These foot liners have been placed in the box where the Banana Republic flats have been put to rest.

foot condoms

I’m comparing these foot liners to a condom because of the protection they offer!

Fact is, I really love the way these shoes look—but if I dare adorn my narrow feet with them in the future, I’ll need protection.  I’ll wear my foot condoms  liners!


What is that disagreeable odor 004

See–they are cute! And with the liners, I won’t have to deal with stinky feet syndrome!

I wonder if my Vegan friends suffer from stinky feet.  I wonder if Vegans suffer from body odor issues if they wear pleather pants or a pleather jacket instead of natural leather.

What say you?  Do you have any disagreeable odors that you want to tawk about?  It’s ok. We’re friends. Do confess—and you can have a good laugh. After all, we need a fun and silly topic of discussion after the most recent events.


What is that disagreeable odor 003

My heart and spirit are with the people of Belgium.  

We need laughter to help us heal.

Oh. Before I leave, remember my post from a few days ago about bringing real fashion back?   Have a look at this post from my friend Trudy who writes the blog “Rendezvous En New York”. It’s a post about a very fashionable exhibit at the Met in NYC from last year! It’s good read!

What better song than this for today? “That Smell”! XOXOXOXO



About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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24 Responses to What The Hell Is That Disagreeable Odor? Is it—-FEET??????

  1. Trudy says:

    Been through that all Catherine! Yes synthetic shoes are what I try to avoid like the plague because they make your feet smell horrible. Only get them when they are one season shoes, like trendy sandals. You’re feet are being pickled in there. I don’t use fabric softener but love the laundry smell, Arm& Hammer is lovely and so is ECOS( magnolia lily). And for the bathroom I use Poo Pourri, The best invention ever and lasts for hours!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Trudy. I despise fabric softener!! The downy stuff that is pictured are scented little beads. Hey. I like my clothing crispy. That’s why I air dry and don’t use softener. I hate that filmy feel after clothing has been softened. Yuck! I’ve heard great things about Poo Pourri. I’m going to have to check it out! XOXOXOXO!!!

  2. spearfruit says:

    Another great post Catherine, I like you do not like wearing socks with shoes, and at times my feet did stink! Also, I am very sensitive to some smells also. I get bad headaches from candles, the fake hair fresheners and some flavored coffees such a hazelnut. I always enjoy reading your posts – have a great day! 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Terry. Thanks! Oh–today I’ve been wearing my Bass loafers sans socks, (as usual) and my feet don’t smell at all. I must be allergic to synthetic materials near my precious dawgs!I’m fine with flavored coffee but certain flowers trigger my head. Thankfully I’m fine with my favorites–peonies and roses! Enjoy the day!! XOXOXOXO!

  3. Suzy Barker says:

    You are very funny Catherine – you’ve made me smile. I try to avoid all false or man made scents, as they disagree with my nose. The worst culprit is the stuff that folk puff on in their electronic cigarettes – that makes the inside of my nose actually blister. But then I am a bit freaky – being orange haired and pasty-skinned – it doesn’t take much to set off an adverse reaction ….!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Suzy! Glad you enjoyed and got a good laugh. Wow. I never even knew that the electronic cigs gave off an odor! I’ll have to keep away!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  4. calensariel says:

    Adorable as always. And I have the same thing with those damn pine cones!

    • Catherine says:

      Lady Calen. Just what IS it with those damned pine cones?? I’ve complained to store managers and they look at me like I’m a freak!! Ugh! XOXOXOXO!!!

      • calensariel says:

        They don’t care. They will when someone has an asthma attack on the spot and they have to call an ambulance. Then I suspect policies nationwide might change about that.

      • Catherine says:

        OMG. You’ve inspired me. I could quite possibly have a sinus attack the next time I enter a shop with these horrific little stinky cones!!!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  5. Judy says:

    A great post, Catherine. My big “no no” are those smelly things which you stick into electric plugs – they can be anything from ultra sweet and sickly to fake “fresh air” – the pine is particularly bad. And it clings, oh boy, does it cling. Just open a window instead!

    • Catherine says:

      Judy. We have an ongoing battle in the house. Bonaparte LOVES those plug in thingys. I can’t stand them. The fake scent is so chemical–I’m sure they add to my sinus issues!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  6. BunKaryudo says:

    My youngest son’s feet smell like a summer meadow — if the summer meadow was next to a chemical factory, that is. All that running about he does in them give them an odor that could be used by police forces around the world to disperse unruly crowds.

  7. Gina Blue says:

    I wasn’t aware of smell sensitivity until I met/worked with Selip. (We were teachers in a prison and didn’t use first names.) The guys loved strong colognes. It was unbearable for her in a self-contained, windowless classroom!! Now I pay attention even to my cats who, if I put on even a light perfume, run away from me! And yes! cinnamon pine cones should be a criminal offense! Reminder: Check dryer motor annually! Thanks for the tip!!

    • Catherine says:

      Oh Gina. You are quite welcome about the dryer motor tip. I was floored when the firemen explained about cleaning the motor annually because I was so OCD about cleaning out the lint after each dryer cycle! Just what IS it with guys and strong cologne??XOXOXOXO!!!!

  8. Haylee says:

    I’m a sniffer – if I pick up a scent, good or bad, I become some kind of crazed bloodhound. Bad enough when I’m just sniffing the general surroundings but it’s worse when I start sniffing people! And I’m so glad I’m not the only one who worries about a brain tumour. I’m always smelling things others can’t – I frequently smell cigarette smoke at our house, suddenly out of nowhere, yet none of us smoke. So either I’m about to keel over or we have a ghost! Great tip about the dryer – that’s scary to think it could cause a fire. 😕

    • Catherine says:

      Haylee! Great minds DO think alike!! I’m so glad to find out you smell things others can’t too!!! I smell gas a lot. I dunno–maybe it’s my gas! XOXOXOXO!!!

  9. LosiLosLoco says:

    Well, I admit I do suffer from that underarm smell rather seriously. Gotta have that Arm & Hammer deodorant! I mean, it smells like an onion field. It’s pretty bad. Tart, if you will. 😆 But, um, yeah… I can’t say anything else because I’m literally on the floor laughing! 😆 Thanks for sharing your stinky feet darling. <3

  10. Mark says:

    Try to use cornstarch and baking soda in your flats also invest in a shoe sanitizer to help kill some of that bacteria and odor and soak your feet in black tea to help reduce the sweat.

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