As Paul mentioned yesterday, he recently spent time in Peru. We were chatting about his trip, and he mentioned that Peru is a place where toilet paper is not flushed down the toilet, and that he learned he has a surprisingly sensitive sense of smell.

This reminded me of testimony I'd heard/read from people who'd done immersive work with the homeless, who confirmed that navigating the scent of the prolonged unwashed is the first and one of the toughest obstacles for outsiders.

Both of these things bring up the boundaries created by smell, which can seem like they're insurmountable (deep disgust feels like Truth). But of course they're not. Smells can't hurt a person, and finding a way to familiarize oneself with upsetting new smells seems as valuable a human task as becoming fluent in a second language or learning HTML.

I'm not kidding. I don't want my world constricted by my prissy sense of smell, and I want to know the best way to become accustomed to/tolerant of off-putting stink.

Does one just suck it up and eventually get used to it? Does taking a huge, deep whiff right off the bat speed up this process? Are there helpful things to smear on one's upper lip, ala Clarice in the autopsy room in Silence of the Lambs? Share theories/make fun of my first-world problem in the comments.