What is that middle-aged smell?

I keep noticing a bad smell in some people who are in their 50’s. I’m not sure if it is my nose or some middle-aged smell.

Am I crazy?

It is not like BO. It is kind of a sharp, bitter smell and I notice it on women who are otherwise well-dressed and seem clean.

What is wrong with me? Has anyone else noticed this? I am desperate to not smell like these people.

Ass and cane sugar.

It comes from long stints perched upon wicker bar stools sipping Mohitos.

Well, it’s one theory. Otherwise, I’ve got nothing.


Hair dye maybe? Or Hair Spray? Or really crappy cologne?

The slow approach of Death.

It must be that “bitterness” that Obama was talking about…

Cigaret smoke? Middle-aged women who are otherwise well dressed and seem clean probably don’t want to admit they still sneak a smoke now and then.

Ladies of that age in this office tend to buy and use bargain-basement hairspray. I can recognize it a mile away, because my mom and grandma used to use it: Aqua-Net or White Rain. It has an acrid stink like no other product.

I’m in this age group, and I make sure that my products are either scentless or have some very mildly sweet accent.

Aquanet: Holy crap, I thought I was the only one who would push that theory.

Over-primping is a contributing factor. Every thing must be ‘just so’, so it’s extra hair spray, extra starch, extra anything that covers, secures, moisturizes, hides, bolsters, etc. These products just don’t smell as purty as basic fresh shampoo/conditioner with light body soap. Lots of polymers, alcohol and other drying agents.

It is why you can be 12 cars behind the lead car at an intersection, see nothing more than 2% of the back top of a female’s head and be able to pin down their age in .37 seconds. Because that 2% of her head that you see from 12 cars back has a certain ‘primped’ factor that screams the age. Try it. It’s an amazing thing.

Hee. we’re not very primpy up here, but this reminds me of the paranoia I would feel when I used to primp. Spray deodorant to not get white stuff on my sleeveless dress, Static Guard to keep the dress laying correctly, mousse, hairspray… :eek: Job interviews I was very conscious of my chemical aura.

Lanolin and Geritol. It takes awhile to get the mixture exactly right but once you do - watch out! The blue hairs come a-running. Its like Axe body spray for the leisure suit crowd.

This almost seems destined for GQ.

I dimly remember reading something many years ago about that “old people smell” that indicated that as we get old, we start to generate and give off a set of chemicals.

Given that I’m about to turn 46, I’m not looking forward to generating my own Old Person Funk.

I object to the idea that women in their 50s are Aquanet-addicted hags.

twicks, who, at 53, doesn’t use hairspray, starch, hemorroid medicine, or Geritol, and who quit smoking 9 years ago.


I know what smoking smells like.
I know what hairspray smells like.
I know what really old people smell like.

This is something else. It may have to do with drinking. But it doesn’t smell like alcohol-breath.

Are there any commonalities between these people beyond age?

Is this women-only? Because my husband’s in his mid-50s and he smells sweet and fabulous. If he didn’t believe me, I’d know. I’m extremely attuned to smells.

That said,I had a friend who was in her early 50s. She wasn’t a primper, but for about six months she had this strange smell. It wasn’t BO or any other yuk, but just like you describe: sort of acrid. However, it went away. Don’t know how, don’t know why. I never asked her. But away it did go.

I’m sure that provides no clues, but … well, there it is.

Yes, just women.

The three are in their 50’s. This one woman is probably 70.

Hope. Dying.

It’s a brand of products covering body spray, body wash, perfume, soap, makeup, deodorant, face powder, etc.

It’s called Ol’ Phartress. It’s based on the premise that women will never admit that their shit stinks like everyone else. If this is too far-fetched, put on a pair of yellow hunting glasses when among them.

Green clouds emanating everywhere.

Wisdom and experience.

It also bloats the body as you get older as you accumulate more than you can contain. Some mistake this for fat.