Smell is an intense observation that can be as off-putting as an ugly face.
"Ugly face" is such a hated term these days. People attempt to close their eyes to what was once proved as "ugly." They hunt for an individual's beauty, even if they have to look beyond the physical and weed into someone's personality to find it.
But people are not forgiving, or willing to look for beauty, when it comes to smell. Ripe body odor or flagrant flatulence will not make a person friends. Instead, people will have trouble standing still after the scent hits them.
If someone stinks, people crinkle their noses, shake their heads to acknowledge the whiff, and ask softly, "What's that smell? Do you smell it too?"
In other words, ugly is ugly when it comes to smells.
But we all smell beauty and aren't shy to hide it.
Opposite of funk, a lovely scent draws others. "What perfume are you wearing?" we ask. Or we subtly lean in for a second sniff.
How badly do people want to smell good? In 2018, the global perfume market size was valued at $31.4 billion. By 2025, the market could be worth about $52.4 billion. The growth is attributed to growing trend of personal grooming and with increasing demand for luxury and exotic fragrances.
In other words, everyone wants to smell nice.
Of course, smells go beyond perfumes and unwashed armpits.
Grandmas have kitchens. Grandpas have particular colognes that they only wore when they had to. Moms have flower gardens. Dads have particular colognes that they only wore when they had to.
These are the havens of scent that can trigger memories for a reader.
Include smells in your writing. A description can connect readers to their own experiences, from a grandmother cooking Sunday dinner to the gunk clogging up a drain.
Offering a reader a chance to reminisce is valuable, and it will connect the reader to the writer.