No darling, you can’t stay over

Being single forever and ever, and never again sharing my life with another is a prospect that I am quite happy with. I put that down to my unwillingness to be responsible for another person and also my low tolerance for other people’s personal detritus encroaching on my space. As well as that, I have a bit of a phobia of the smell of other people. I don’t want to rub up against another person’s scent for longer than I have to. A few hours is OK, one night is too much, so a lifetime of living with the “pong of man” is simply unthinkable.

I’m a bit like a Vulcan on Star Trek – super-sensitive to the smell of humans, so much so that I need a nasal inhibitor that has yet to be invented. Even the smell of my own children sometimes gets a bit too much, and they’re not even teenagers yet!

Smell is an extremely important component of attraction. I do get smell-crushes on people, where just the sniff of them will bring me crashing into them like a wayward magnet. By the same token, I’ve been known to dump someone simply for the way they smell. There was once a guy whose alpha-male testosterone smell was so overpowering it was like eau de scrotum from head to toe. I let him down gently by telling him that he was “too masculine” for me and that I like my men a bit more effete and metrosexual (not a lie). So when I’m “entertaining”, I have an aversion to the lingering smell of a man on my sheets. Most people won’t even make it to my bed if they give off any kind of bad smell. Assuming they don’t have body odour, I still don’t want my private haven of Egyptian cotton infused with the scent and oils of any man, even one whose pheromones I’m attracted to. Which means having that awkward conversation that it’s time to catch the last tube home.

I’m usually very frank and outspoken to a fault, but the hospitable host in me still has some problem with kicking people out of my house without feeling bad. My friends advise me that I should have the conversation in advance with my gentlemen callers, along the lines of, “hey, I don’t usually like people to stay overnight, because I need my sleep and that means sleeping alone” (also not a lie). I still struggle to get this out. However if I need to, I summon up the memory of the aforementioned Scrotum Scented Alpha Male and the way he snored and sweated his way through the night, leaving me to abandon my own king-size bed and sleep in my kids’ room on a narrow single. The next morning, after he left, my sheets were still soaked through with his sweat, all the way through the mattress and pillow protectors. I’m determined never to go through that shit again.

Oh but morning sex is so nice, I hear you say. Yes it is. I’m not imposing an outright ban on sleepovers but it has to be a pretty special person to make me overcome my smell-phobia and invite them to leave a scent memory on my pillows. And if I ever do find a partner, I see great advantages in continuing to live separately!

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