12 Lesser-Known Scented Candles

Jay Ludlow Martin
The Hairpin
Published in
2 min readJan 7, 2014


by Laura Jayne Martin

1.) “Over for Care” — Smells just like your ex’s threadbare navy blue t-shirt that you didn’t have to lie about still having because they said they wanted you to keep it. Or they would have, if they’d had the time.

2.) “Ghost Soup” — Smells just like that soup your mom made just once from a recipe she cut out of Parade magazine, folded into the stained Joy of Cooking on the counter, next to the nine-inch Kitchen Madonna statue, but then somehow it got lost. Also, it might have been a Reader’s Digest; no, no, it was definitely Parade. You know, the one with whatshername on the cover.

3.) “Autumnal Neuroticism” — Smells just like the inside of a dented pumpkin you bought because you worried no one else was going to pick it.

4.) “Track Meet, 1997” — Smells just like youth and Whitewater Splash Gatorade infused with starter pistol smoke, Bengay, and hot pretzels.

5.) “Nuts 4 Nuts” — Smells just like street-grade optimism and crystallized sugar.

6.) “Mentholated Cherry” — Smells just like the cough drops you used to prevent your nose from registering the stench of the July afternoon garbage that you had just tossed inside of the garbage truck you were riding on.

7.) “D Train” — Smells just like urine and the tidal anticipation of traveling from your apartment in Brooklyn to her apartment in Harlem.

8.) “BFFs” — Smells just like the intersection of fashion magazine perfume samples, Hershey’s TasteTations, and the white-hot fear you’d mistakenly be perceived as being attracted to one of your straight friends before you had the chance to tell them you were gay and not into your straight friends.

9.) “It’s Fine.” — Smells just like your dad’s incinerated stovetop hamburgers, which were vastly superior to his incinerated oven baked fishsticks — though both entrees were cooked in an undershirt amid yelling.

10.) “Used Books” — Smells just like a dirty, chain-smoking cat and possibility.

11.) “Pleasant Conversation” — Smells just like orange, cherry, bourbon, and eye contact.

12.) “Bodega” — Smells just like overpriced toilet paper that smells like bacon.

Previously: Lesser-Known Birthday Party Themes

Laura Jayne Martin lives and writes in New York City. She tweets @laurajaynemart.



Jay Ludlow Martin
The Hairpin

Editor of Human Parts. Writer based in Manhattan. Gay Trans Pizza. Author: Death by Nostalgia (2018) and my own misfortune.