“Is that lavender?” asked my new co-worker, upon entering the room yesterday. It most certainly was, or at least an approximation of the same: my other new co-worker (in effect, my new boss) bought some AirWick plugins last week, and they’d been left on all weekend.
“It is!” smiled my new boss (she smiles a lot). “Do you like it?”
“Uh… no,” said my colleague apologetically. “I’m, uh, allergic, actually. I don’t like the scent, even when it’s not the actual plant.”
And she backed out of the room.
“I like lavender,” I sighed happily, “it’s relaxing.”
“I can get some different scents,” said my new boss. “It doesn’t have to be lavender. What else do you like?”
“Well, my ex had patchouli,” I answered, “throughout the entirety of her flat. It was in every room. Patchouli reminds me of…” Sex.
I didn’t say sex, and even if I had, it would have been the truth. What wasn’t quite true was that she was an ex. Alicia had been my 43-year-old lover when I was in my early twenties. But I’d decided to mention patchouli by that point, and I needed to find a way to refer to Alicia without being too revealing about my (former) sexual proclivities. “Ex” seemed as appropriate a term as possible.
Patchouli reminds me of sex for the simple fact that I had a lot of sex in a flat completely suffused with it. Alicia and I had quite a lot in common, in terms of political views, fondness for hummus and tea, and a love of musical theatre, but the thing that was most apparent was how well my penis fit inside her, and so my patchouli-filled existence was mostly spent horizontally.
Sometimes on top of her, sometimes underneath, sometimes just lying in a pool of girlcum. Horizontal, in any case.
But I couldn’t bring myself to say that to my new boss. We may get along well, but I’ve only known this woman for three days.
“Patchouli reminds me of… her flat,” I decided upon. Which, now I think about it, is a less impressive statement than it could have otherwise been. I could have gone nostalgic, wistful or humorous, and yet all I did was refer to the flat belonging to a lady my new boss didn’t know existed.
My new boss gave a friendly smile and a nod which was code for something like, “cool story, bro, now go and do some actual work”.
Best I could hope for, really. She doesn’t need to know I’ve ever had sex.