Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Smell of a Man

We have been busy moving our son into his dorm room. Somehow, even though my husband drove our car out packed to the gills with his things, accomplishing this has taken three trips to Wal-Mart (and counting), to pick up fans, plastic dressers, extension cords, toiletries, desk supplies, and countless other sundries. Right now, the room looks great: everything is organized and in its rightful spot, and the sheets on his bunk are freshly laundered. I am not naive enough, however (after seeing the way my four other sons lived in their college dorm rooms--and even worse, how a couple of them lived in off-campus apartments...let's not even go there!), to believe that this is the way my son's room will look--or smell--the next time we come out to visit him here. I think his roommate (or more likely, his roommate's mom) is the smartest person I've ever met, because he brought an item for the room that I've never even thought to buy: a can of Oust, an odor-killing air sanitzer. I was so impressed that I took a picture of it sitting there near the sink that the two boys will be sharing. (Is this, now, the most beautiful sight these eyes have ever seen?)

Years ago, our family watched a movie that was somewhat humorous, but pretty ho-hum in general--I think it was called "See Spot Run," but I'm not even sure if that's the correct title. (Let's just say it was not nominated for any Academy Awards or anything.) Anyway, this obscure little movie provided us with one of the funniest quotable lines ever, one that's utterly perfect for a male-dominated home like mine that has a bit of a locker room ambience about it. Here's the set-up: a young man's friend, a single mother, had to go out of town on business and had arranged for a sitter for her little boy; but the sitter canceled at the last minute, so she was desperate and asked the young man (a bit of a Peter Pan type) to watch her boy for a few days. When the little boy walked into this guy's "man cave," he wrinkled his nose and asked, "What's that smell?" The guy answered, "That, my boy, is the smell of a man." Great line. If you've ever had a boy go away to college, and you've had the unique joy of seeing his dorm room after he's had a chance to really burrow in and remove all the traces of a mother's touch, you know exactly the smell I'm talking about. So forget the mini fridge and the T.V.; this can of Oust may be the most important item in that room a few months from now.

Moms forget sometimes that boys don't care about the things we girls care about. On one of our trips to Wal-Mart, I asked my son if he'd like me to get him a shower caddy. First, I had to tell him what it was, since he'd never even heard of it. I told him it was something desgined to carry his shampoo, shaving stuff, etc. back and forth to the shower. "Sure, I guess," he said. But when I brought it over to the cart, he took one look at it--this large black plastic purse--and said, "Uh, there is no way in the world I'm ever going to use that." I'll bet the girls all have them, in pink and purple! It's a whole different experience, I've heard, moving girls into their dorm rooms. My sister-in-law, whose daughter is a freshman out here, too, told me that one of her daughter's roommates had an aunt who'd come and hung curtains for the room, put a rug down on the floor, installed furniture, and even set up a little table with a coffee pot and matching coffee cups. My sister-in-law said it looked like something out of a magazine. As good as my boy's room looks (now at least), I don't think it would ever be featured in a magazine! But the little cubby area under his lofted bunk is pretty cozy and efficient, and I think this room is going to be a good home for him for the next year.

I don't expect my son to ever use the decidedly un-manly words "cubby" and "cozy"; but I really do hope that he and his roommate will remember to use that can of Oust from time to time!

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