The Sniffer

When I was twenty-two and living in Melbourne, I kissed a Berliner backpacker who boasted a seemingly endless supply of unbelievable stories. After we first kissed, he sniffed my hair, my neck and both of my ears. For some reason, we started dating. Apparently, in his younger days, he had slept with the 2004 Ford Supermodel of the Year and would tell this to other European backpackers. Her name induced gasps and he received some high-fives. Unfortunately every time, I misheard her name and I so badly wanted to google the bejeezus out of her.

     I moved to Berlin soon after he returned home, but within months I began to lose interest in him. His ego was far bigger than his libido. With little to lose, I asked him what the name of the supermodel was. He responded smugly, ‘Maxi Marinova’. Obviously, I googled the bejeezus out of her. She was indeed a mega-babe: long-legged, dimple-cheeked and bronzed like a jungle woman — a jungle woman with immaculate teeth. How did I feel? A little physically inadequate but very intrigued by their encounter.

     A few days later I told him that I’d googled her. He told me that I had nothing to worry about ‘because she’s got a kid and a big ass now’. Sometimes, there are sentences that a partner can say to completely soothe your mind. This was not one of those sentences. The thing was, I was never worried or threatened. And tally marks had been lining up like soldiers in the ‘cons’ column for quite some time, ready for breakup. (Every episode of Germany’s Next Top Model that he watched received one mark.)

     Soon after we broke up, I met up with my friend Hannah, a lovely leggy Australian model, at one of Berlin’s super-hip cafes. From under her floppy hat, she mentioned that her mate Maxi lived nearby and might join us. Up rolled Maxi Marinova on her bicycle in all of her jungly brunette glory, sporting cut-off dungarees and heart-shaped glasses. The two five-foot-ten babes and I ordered our almond lattes and chatted. Maxi was hilarious, empowering, authentic and I really liked her.

     Then I brought it up. I told her that she may know my ex-boyfriend, that they may have slept together and that he definitely was bragging about her on several continents. Initially, she didn’t recall his name. But then she did.

‘Oh him! Ja, I knew him when we were 14. We didn’t sleep together!’ she continued with a laugh. ‘No, he used to ride to my place, press the buzzer and when I came out he would hug me and then sniff me!’

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Image: Ferdinand Stöhr