Metro-East Living

Can you cover up the smell of chicken with perfume?

Michelle and her best friend Lydia Kachigian pose with scallops in a photo booth the night of “The Chicken Incident.”
Michelle and her best friend Lydia Kachigian pose with scallops in a photo booth the night of “The Chicken Incident.”

I thought I looked pretty good in the royal blue dress. It fit well and it was clean, so two big hurdles jumped. Now to drive to an event I should have arrived at an hour ago. I hopped in the car and shifted it in gear.

Essence of chicken enveloped my body.

Not just any chicken. Rotisserie chicken purchased earlier that day. While I was unloading groceries, the chicken container popped open. I wiped down the seat but I must’ve missed a spot. Chicken juice is sneaky that way.

So now I was running late for Bags for Wags — an upscale Belleville Area Humane Society fundraiser — and my car smelled like a rotisserie on wheels.

No time to turn back. I rolled down the windows. Like cigarette smoke in a crowded bar, the scent of chicken permeated my clothing.

“I smell like Colonel Sanders’ girlfriend,” I thought, as I pulled off the highway and into a church parking lot. Whipping out my cellphone, I did the only thing I knew to do. I texted my friend and hairstylist Shayna Kueker, one of the few people who runs later than I do and possibly the only person who wouldn’t judge me.

The following is an exact excerpt from my cellphone text messages log:

“Are you going to Bags for Wags tonight?”

“Yeah … if I can get my butt in gear. Are you there already?”

“No! On my way. Running late too. And I smell like chicken. Will tell you about it when I see you. Please bring perfume!”

“You got it sistah!!!”

And got it, I did. Forty minutes later, Shayna was whipping out perfume samples and I was spritzing myself in the middle of a very fancy gala. My husband, Mark, would have been mortified. But he was home alone eating rotisserie chicken and none the wiser until today.

“You will read about a certain ‘chicken incident’ in my Sunday column,” I told him. “I won’t bore you with the details. But your name will be mentioned.”

As will the name of my lifelong bestie, Lydia Kachigian, who sat shoulder-to-shoulder with me at the bar until Shayna arrived.

“You’ve smelled worse,” Lydia told me.

“I don’t give a ‘cluck,’” I said in my best chicken voice.

Later in the evening, someone actually complimented my scent. At that point, I was much more Chanel than Colonel Sanders. As I told them the story, I realized there’s a moral here.

Everybody does dumb things. Some of them involve chicken. Some of them don’t. Some of them can be covered up with perfume and some of them can’t. Like the plate of scallops I spilled on my blue dress. The lights were dim so I don’t think anyone noticed.

I rolled down my car windows and drove home.