Vocabulary: Sweaty, Smelly Valentine

There is lots of vocabulary to do with smell in the text. It’s all explained below in the glossary. After your daily bit of free English study, have some more fun by watching the videos at the end! 🙂

“Will be home in three days – Do not wash”

This is the famous message that Napolean Bonaparte sent to his wife, Josephine when he was on his way back home from a war. Obviously, he was turned on by her pungent smell and wanted to experience it at full power. I imagine that Napolean would have had quite an odour too after being at war and riding home for 3 days on horseback: horses are not exactly known for their sweet aroma, are they? (This sentence is an example of a question tag. Find out more here). So Napolean, the horse and Josephine must have made quite a stink when they finally got together. I wonder if Josephine had the same romantic idea about sweaty stench as her husband?

Well, probably not, because apparently she introduced him to bathing and perfumes…take a hint, Boney! Josephine, who grew up in The West Indies, liked exoctic fragrances like vanilla and cinammon. Napoleon preferred Eau de Cologne, which included citrus oils as well as lavender, rosemary and jasmine. So why did he want to breathe in the bouquet of Josephine’s b.o.?

In a new Royal Society of Chemistry book, Lust & Love: Is it more than chemistry?, it states that pheromones are included in sweat. These natural body chemicals, which have a specific scent, can be attractive to the opposite sex. Think about how animals know when it is the right time to mate. That’s why sometimes boyfriends and girlfriends like swapping t-shirts – the smell of the perspiration of their lover is comforting.

But don’t think that if you go for weeks without washing and reek you will suddenly become irresistible. The author, Gabriele Froböse says that sweat is only OK up to a certain point…then you just stink to high heaven.

Everybody perspires all the time, even if you use deodorant. The interesting thing is that perfume or deodorant mixes with everyone’s individual smell, so that the same brand of perfume, say Chanel No#5, smells slightly different on every single person.

Anyway, forget the expensive products! Be romantic and this Valentine’s Day, go au naturel for your lover. Isn’t that the most romantic thing you could do for them?

You might be interested in our other Valentine’s Day posts:
Valentine’s Day means saying numbers
‘As’ – Rules of Date Club
Anti-Valentine’s Special: I promise not to keep that promise

Smells Vocabulary

having a strong smell (usually bad)
a distinctive smell (usually unpleasant: the odour of cigarette smoke)
a distinctive smell (usually pleasant: the aroma of fresh coffee)
a strong unpleasant smell: His breath stank of booze
a strong VERY unpleasante smell: the stench of rotting meat
a pleasant, sweet smell
abbreviation: body odour
a pleasant smell
to smell strongly and unpleasantly
stink to high heaven
Idiom: sth is incredibly smelly (in a bad way)

Or maybe you will use deodorant…

And here’s our very own Kate Winslet showing the attraction of a good perfume…

Not to be outdone, here’s Keira Knightley earning her money by saying whatever the advertisers tell her to

These perfume ads are like works of art, aren’t they?

OK, this is definitely the last one!

Discussion Questions

  1. Which is your favourite advert from the ones here? Why?
  2. Do you think people buy perfumes because of the smell or because of the advertising?

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