Passing The Torch…And, I Hate You Because You Stink

This will be the last Haute Plates blog that I author for a couple of months. I am taking a leave of absence. National security concerns1 prevent me from disclosing what I will be doing in July and August, but I assure you that I leave you in good hands. Four good hands, as it happens.

Aaron Weidenhaft and Jenny Sklar will be alternating every week for the next two months; I will return in September, assuming I survive the extremely dangerous work I will be doing2.
 
Aaron is a native of New Orleans and the former head of the International Monetary Fund. He speaks seven languages, only two of which are of his own invention. He enjoys long walks on the beach, piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.
 
Jenny is from Liechtenstein and is the founder of the World Lemur Foundation, a group that advocates for the legalization of marriage between (consenting) lemurs. She has a degree in advanced lemur studies from Brown. Hopefully neither Dr. Weidenhaft nor Ms. Sklar will burn the Internet down while I’m away. If they do, you people are my alibi.
 
And so, confident I’m leaving you in good hands, I’ll return to my curmudgeonly ways and address something about which I’ve ranted before. Some of you stink.
 
Everyone has a few things that annoy or cause irritation. Perhaps you are sent into a rage at the sight of someone with 12 items in the “10 items or fewer” line at the grocery. Maybe you can’t stand drivers who pull right up to your rear bumper at traffic lights. Does it bother you when someone mis-quotes song lyrics? A lot of people are bothered by the use of cell phones in restaurants. Not me. Unless you’re screaming into your cell phone, I’m no more bothered than if you were having a conversation with a dining companion.
 
What bothers me are people who have decided to share their taste in aroma with the rest of us. People who wear a great deal of cologne or, less often, perfume. These people are assholes.
 
I was chastised recently by a friend whom I respect a great deal about my use of intemperate language. I took his point. Usually, a writer who employs profanity is doing it because he or she lacks the vocabulary to express the intended opinion more eloquently.
 
I’m using “asshole” here advisedly. Because if you go to a restaurant smelling like you just walked out of a bordello, you are ruining the experience for everyone else. You are a self-centered, self-involved, tasteless asshole.
 
Let me explain. I had a friend in my youth who had no sense of smell. She could not detect the difference between chocolate and vanilla ice cream in a dark room. Food was not important to her because she couldn’t really taste it. This impressed upon me the importance that our sense of smell plays in our sense of taste in a very direct way.

When a person wears a great deal of cologne or perfume, they do so, presumably, to share that scent with the world. They do not ask the rest of us whether we want to share the scent. They do it with the blissful ignorance of the profoundly stupid.
 
I envy them. I wish I was not cognizant of how my actions might affect those around me. I wish that I could be so wholly inconsiderate of my fellow humans that I, too, could bathe in Drakar Noir with no thought in my tiny head but, “man, I smell good,” or, “chicks love this smell, riiight?"
 
Alas.
 
The problem, as intimated above, is that our sense of smell has a great deal to do with how we experience food. So when you, you asshole, are wearing enough cologne to drown three dozen kittens, you are affecting my ability to enjoy a meal.
 
I have not had this experience all that frequently, but in the past month it’s happened twice. Once I was dining at Rio Mar. We’d been seated for about 10 minutes when a table next to us was occupied by a woman who apparently thought bathing in perfume was a substitute for an actual bath. I felt like a jerk, but it was so overpowering that I requested a different table. The restaurant was very kind, and after we moved, I had an excellent meal.
 
Aweek later I was dining at Dominique’s on Magazine, and was almost done with my meal when a guy sat down at a table around 10 yards from us. The stench hit me before his ass hit the seat. It was extraordinary. It was incredible. The son of a bitch had to have showered in the stuff before he left his house. I honestly can’t fathom the thought process behind wearing that much cologne. I pity the people who had to drive to the restaurant with him because I imagine at those concentrations, his cologne was a more potent carcinogen than asbestos fibers.
 
And the asshole wore that much cologne to a fine-dining restaurant. Each time I’ve experienced this, I’ve thought about saying something to the offender. Each time I’ve been persuaded – and rightly so – that by doing so I’d be the asshole. While I’m comfortable with that characterization, my girlfriend would rather I didn’t make a scene, and so I’ve let it pass.
 
But I ask you, if you were seated in a restaurant and someone was seated next to you whose body odor indicated he’d not bathed in three weeks, would you not complain? Would you not expect the restaurant to turn him or her away? Why, then, won’t restaurants do the same with the pea-brains who slather on the eau de cologne? Because it’s the same thing, really.
 
I hope I develop the intestinal fortitude to say something if I’m unfortunate enough to experience this again. And I hope that if you’re reading this and feel the same way, you’ll do the same. If nothing else, it may convince restaurants that excluding the “stink-ass” portion of their clientele will benefit them in the long run. Because while I am not going to hold my recent perfume/cologne experiences against Rio Mar or Dominique’s, I’d be happier dining in a restaurant that had standards not only for how its patrons should be dressed but put limitations on how they smell, as well.
 
Finally, I want to remind you that there is a benefit for Nathanial Zimet on Sunday, July 10. Instead of trying to restate the press release, here it is:
 

New Orleans Community Unites to Host Benefit
for Boucherie Chef Nathanial Zimet
“Beasts & Brass” Supports Local Chef Shot in Act of Violent Crime

WHAT:     Local chefs and the community have come together to host Beasts & Brass:  A Benefit for Chef Nathanial Zimet, which brings the best in New Orleans cuisine and music together to help raise funds for local chef Zimet, owner of the Que Crawl and Boucherie.  Zimet was shot multiple times in an armed robbery in May.

The benefit will feature food by more than 30 of New Orleans’ finest restaurants and chefs, including La Petite Grocery, Lilette, Three Muses, Patois, Sucré, The Link Restaurant Group, Bayona, Mondo, Crescent Pie & Sausage Co., Brigtsen’s, Matt Murphy, Iris and Zimet’s own Boucherie, to name a few.

Beasts & Brass will also feature an array of live music and burlesque on multiple stages, including Hot 8 Brass Band, The Revivalists, My Name is John Michael, Supagroup and Happy Talk Band with more bands signing up daily.

Patrons will have the option to attend the Beasts & Brass Patron Party for full access to the night’s events or the Night Owl Benefit Show concert. WWL’s Eric Paulsen will emcee the Patron Party and Ben Wisdom with Slow Burn Burlesque will emcee the Night Owl show.

All ticket sales, auction and raffle proceeds and a portion of cash bar sales will go to the Nathanial J. Zimet Fund.

WHEN:     Sunday, July 10, 2011
                  Beasts & Brass Patron Party:  5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
                  Night Owl Benefit Show:   9 p.m. – till
WHERE:  Howlin’ Wolf 
                 907 S. Peters, 522-9653
        
PRICE:    Beasts & Brass Patron Pass includes access to Patron Party and Night Owl Benefit Show, food, open bar, live music, live and silent auction
$85 in advance; $100 at the door
 
Night Owl Benefit Show Pass includes access to Night Owl event only featuring a cash bar, raffle and live music. Food available from The Que Crawl. $20 in advance & at the door. Tickets can be purchased in advance at  http://www.benefit4nathanial.eventbrite.com or at the door the night of the event.

WHY:     Proceeds from Beasts & Brass will go to the Nathanial J. Zimet Fund, which will help Chef Zimet, who is without health insurance, pay for exorbitant medical bills incurred from his immediate treatment and future rehabilitation.  Known as the “Beast” among his restaurant peers, Zimet is a well-loved chef and resident in the New Orleans community, serving the city since the mid-2000s.
 
For more information or to make a donation, please visit http://www.benefit4nathanial.wordpress.com.
 
For media inquiries, please contact Jennifer Bond with Bond PR and Brand Strategy at mailto:jennifer@bondpublicrelations.com  or 504-897-0462.

Have a great holiday, my children. I’ll be back in September.

 

1Fear of prosecution.
2I will not be able to write if I am incarcerated.

Digital Sponsors

Become a MyNewOrleans.com sponsor ...

Sign up for our FREE

New Orleans Magazine email newsletter

Get the the best in New Orleans dining, shopping, events and more delivered to your inbox.