YDU: Stinky Reunions Aren’t So Romantic

Army tank

I was recently thrilled when I learned that my husband’s unit was having a Family Day towards the end of their gunnery. Because my cat is not a good substitute for my regular “NCIS”-marathon-watching partner, I was already counting down the days until my spouse returned. The chance to see him for a couple hours was exciting.

When I imagine it, reuniting with my husband is always a beautiful picture-perfect experience. It involves a lot of slow motion running while my hair billows perfectly behind me, and maybe some dramatic music playing in the background.

In my imagination, we perfectly reenact the iconic V-J Day Times Square kiss and then stroll arm in arm as we discuss the day’s range events.

The practical part of me knows that this is not how it works. In reality, after a week or two in the field, the stench emanating from the whole unit is enough to limit all physical contact to high fives and fist bumps.

When I saw him on this recent Family Day, my husband had just gotten out of a sweltering tank. My first instinct was to hug him, but my arms froze inches from his dust and sweat saturated NOMEX coveralls (I believe the technical term is a “onesie”).

As I stepped closer to examine the growth of his field mustache, I was met with a wave of a week’s worth of body odor. The smell was the result of spending days in the Texas sun and sitting in a metal machine, combined with infrequently changing clothes (I intentionally do not ask how often and he does not volunteer that information).

As we stood in the shade, glancing around periodically for somewhere to sit, I realized that it was probably a good thing we were visiting everyone in the field. This way, even though I am generally not a fan of Public Displays of Affection, I was not tempted to get mushy and clingy.

It was wonderful to see my husband and get a chance to catch up on the past couple weeks. But any burning desires to passionately embrace are going to have to wait until he gets some deodorant.

Magdalene Blocker is a civilian married to a a soldier in the Army.  They are currently stationed at Ft. Hood prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse.

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  • sabrinacking

    Really? I am polar opposite, bring on the pheromone drenched testosterone laden funk. Yummy.

    • Amy_Bushatz

      LOL. You crack me up.

      • sabrinacking

        Oh come on, you know its true…the good Lord has not created any smell on a soldier coming out of the field so vile it would be so repulsive as to outweigh that, strut of dirty grrrrrr. In fact, I think I have a very short list (as you know) of perks to being in the Army, and giant soldier coming out of the field is like right up there behind, giant soldier being released at homecoming.

  • Redjb

    While my husband was away at this year’s annual training our house was broken into, twice. After the second time he was cleared to go home, but I had to go and pick him up. After the hour drive to get him all I could think of was how comforting his embrace was going to be. The truck met me by my car, and he quickly stepped out, came up and gave me a hug. It was SO amazing, until about 4 seconds in when the cloud of dirt and smell caught up. Luckily he’s been in long enough that he knows a short embrace is all that’s acceptable. I was very grateful that I have a good air freshener in the car, and that he wanted to wait until after a good shower to give me a proper embrace! lol

  • the first mel

    I guess I’m lucky. I lost my sense of smell in ’88. He can be at his stinkiest and I won’t even notice.

  • I still remember the smell of my spouse when I met him after he got off the plane in Japan during a PCS. (I got there first). They had engine trouble and had spent the night in AK en route, and he had our dogs with him and hadn’t wanted to get his luggage in addition to their stuff so he just stayed in his clothes.

    Good thing I like him, smell and all.

  • JerseyAngel2

    Quite franly, I would still have a hard time keeping from embracing this man that means so much to me. I instead, would hug this man like there was no tomorrow.

  • jay

    I love the smell of cordite in the morning.

  • Doc W

    Brings back memories. December 17, 1970. 19 hour flight from Vietnam to Seattle after 364 days in country. Army fatigues. Tired. Sweaty. Sleep deprived. Maybe a little PTSD after spending 360 days at 18 the surgical hospital (most remote surg hospital 15 miles from DMZ…think MASH only RVN not Korea) Well, I was waiting for flight from Seattle to St. Louis and reunion with family, and nobody made eye contact, nobody sat near me, or if they did the stare was discomforting. I thought it was the civilian attitude toward military and especially Vietnam vets. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe it was just the odor. Of course I didn’t smell it but I’m sure it was not pleasant. Not! It was the attitude. It took 911 to change attitude. Point of this rant? If you enjoy your freedom, thank a vet…even if he is a little ripe!