Scent of a Woman

Story Sent in by Josh:

Stephanie and I were out at a noisy, busy bar. We had to speak close to each other in order to be heard. Her breath smelled like old beef and month-old milk. At one point, apparently, I cringed at it.

She noticed. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," I said, "I, uh, leg cramp."

"Oh," she said, breathing straight into my face.

I barely held it together and asked, "Want to take a walk?"

"You want to leave?" she asked, "It's 10 degrees outside."

I decided to breathe through my mouth for the rest of the evening. Could have been worse, I thought. But then I ended up telling her a story about a trick I played on one of my college professors, a decent story about switching lemonade in a thermos with beer.

She laughed at the end of the story, and I made the mistake of inhaling through my nose. The nose-ful of exhale from her mouth was so bad that I jutted away from her and hit into a guy who was standing behind me.

I apologized to the dude and turned back to Stephanie, who was no longer laughing. She asked, "What the hell's your problem? Is it my breath?"

She guessed it. Before I could answer, she breathed out at me, again, and again.

"Agh!" I cried, throwing my hands up in front of my face, "Stop!"

"Stop breathing?" she asked, "Are you a moron?"

"No! I–" My mind raced. Should I find her a mint? Should I dab something under my own nose to blunt her hellish mouth scent? There was no polite way out of this situation. I felt really awful, but you have to understand that it was the worst thing I had ever smelled, before or since. I've smelled men's restrooms that have more pleasant aromas.

I did the only thing I could think of that would possibly resolve the situation.

"I'm sorry," I said, "I really don't mean to be rude."

She said nothing, so I continued, "Let me buy you another drink. I'm really sorry. I don't want you to feel bad. I–"

She breathed on me again, cutting me off. At this point, I felt as though she was being the immature one, and so I gave her one last shot.

"Stephanie, let's just forget all about it. We can–"

She exhaled one last, giant breath at me, this one punctuated with bits of spit. I threw in the towel at that point, said a hasty, "Good night," and squirmed through the crowd for the exit. She didn't follow me. Even now, writing about it, I can still recall the scent, and it makes me shudder.

Girlfriend catch you cheating? Here's a great way out of it. Thanks to Ellendra for sending in this gem!


  1. Yeah, I can't imagine how you could have salvaged the date, although I can't see why you'd want to. It's embarrassing to find out your breath is so repulsive people can't help moving away from you to avoid it, but she was still an asshole about it.

  2. You could have simply taken a breath mint yourself, then offered her one. In civilized society that's generally accepted as a polite hint that only the clueless fail to pick up on.

    1. I was on a plane once sitting next to a guy with bad breath, and he insisted on talking to me the whole trip practically. I'm normally game for meeting new people on planes. But this guy had bad breath and we were in close quarters. I tried the trick you just suggested. I pulled out a pack of mints and ate one and then offered him one. He said "No thanks" to my disappointment. Fortunately, it was a short trip.

  3. He could have but I suspect he didn't have any on him since he wondered if he should "Find her a mint".

  4. Jared if I haven't mentioned this before I totes lurve the titles of these stories.

  5. I don't know why but I get this feeling that it was not the first time that someone told this girl about her breath. Her reaction made no sense, regardless.

  6. I got that feeling, too, S.


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