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Thread: What's with hippies and patchouli?

  1. #1
    MOON GIRL FIGHTS CRIME Myrnalene's avatar
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    Default What's with hippies and patchouli?

    Sarah posted a thread earlier (in chate) from another message board. In it, a young lady was complaining that her boss had taken her aside and told her that she smells foul. She admits that she has a "natural body smell", I imagine because she does not shower everyday. She also eschews deoderant and all scents except for patchouli.

    Now, how the hell did patchouli become the official scent of these people? It's frankly a poor choice - it smells bad and it's strong, and does not mingle well with the scent of body odor, unwashed clothes and stale weed smoke. Yet somehow, it's an olfactory icon of the hippie subculture. Does anyone know why?

    Disclaimer: My parents were original recipe hippies, as in they actually were part of the group of young people that moved from the Midwest to California in the late 60s / early 70s to listen to music, live 20 to a house, do drugs and live off welfare while raging against The Man. Whether the patchouli thing was common then or a product of the various neo-hippies that have come after, I don't know. I could ask them but their memories about those days aren't so clear due to: they were hippies.
    Last edited by Myrnalene; 22 Aug 2010 at 03:00 PM.
    everything in nature is sort of gross when you look at it too closely. what is an apple? basically the uterus of a tree - terrifel

  2. #2
    The Queen Zuul's avatar
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    If there was a hippie role-playing game, patchouli's stats would look like this:
    • It's popularly used in East Asian incense (Oriental Scent, Increase Hippie Lore).
    • It allegedly has insect repellent properties (Body Funk, +1 Resist Insect Attack).
    • It's used for a variety of folk medicine purposes (Alternative Medicine, Hit Point Recovery Boost).
    So now they are just dirt-covered English people in fur pelts with credit cards.

  3. #3
    Oliphaunt
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    It covers up the smell of pot (allegedly), so people won't realize how recently you've smoked up (allegedly).

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    Free Exy Cluricaun's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Orual View post
    It covers up the smell of pot (allegedly), so people won't realize how recently you've smoked up (allegedly).
    Basically this. Weed and patchouli aren't that different of a smell, so if you smell like weed all the time nobody knows if you're high or just a dirty shitbag hippie.
    Hell, if I didn't do things just because they made me feel a bit ridiculous, I wouldn't have much of a social life. - Santo Rugger.

  5. #5
    The Queen Zuul's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Orual View post
    It covers up the smell of pot (allegedly), so people won't realize how recently you've smoked up (allegedly).
    Quote Originally posted by Cluricaun View post
    Basically this. Weed and patchouli aren't that different of a smell, so if you smell like weed all the time nobody knows if you're high or just a dirty shitbag hippie.
    But how does that explain all the New Age-y patchouli lovers who don't smoke pot? I can't speak for all of the hippies out there, but I know my mother and sister for a fact don't smoke and they adore the stuff.
    So now they are just dirt-covered English people in fur pelts with credit cards.

  6. #6
    my god, he's full of stars... OneCentStamp's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Orual View post
    It covers up the smell of pot (allegedly), so people won't realize how recently you've smoked up (allegedly).
    Quote Originally posted by Cluricaun View post
    Basically this. Weed and patchouli aren't that different of a smell, so if you smell like weed all the time nobody knows if you're high or just a dirty shitbag hippie.
    Yeah, but to me it's so closely associated with pot-smoking hippies that it might as well be the same smell. "Patchouli smell" is right up there with "laser Floyd at the planetarium" on the list of things that aren't a 100% guarantee of pot consumption, but are pretty damn close.
    "You laugh at me because I'm different; I laugh at you because I'm on nitrous."

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    Elen síla lumenn' omentielvo What Exit?'s avatar
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    Hey, I never smoked pot at a Floyd Laser show. OK, I did a little acid, but never pot (at a show).

    Patchouli seems to be more recent. My sister's crowd with the patched up jeans and hanging out and smoking in the early 70s never used the stuff that I know of. But Cherry Incense and the like were extremely popular. It too was suppose to mask the smell of pot. To the point where many older people (my parents generation) thought pot smelled like incense.

    I think Patchouli came from the Dead Heads though rather than Hippies in general. I have no real basis for this belief though, just knowing where I first encountered the unpleasant odor. This was back in the mid-80s.

  8. #8
    Confused Box Guy fachverwirrt's avatar
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    I've never smoked pot, but I have been to a Floyd laser show.

    I'm not sure what that proves...

  9. #9
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    I have smoked pot and frequent laser Floyd shows.... and am told on a regular basis that i'm a hippie and I HATE the smell of patchouli!

  10. #10
    Administrator CatInASuit's avatar
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    I have this feeling I should be glad I have no idea what patchouli smells of.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

  11. #11
    Member Elendil's Heir's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CatInASuit View post
    I have this feeling I should be glad I have no idea what patchouli smells of.
    Yeah, I've heard of it, but don't think I've ever smelled it. Or if I did, I didn't know what it was. Probably just as well.

  12. #12
    Elen síla lumenn' omentielvo What Exit?'s avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hippie View post
    I have smoked pot and frequent laser Floyd shows.... and am told on a regular basis that i'm a hippie and I HATE the smell of patchouli!
    Can you define the smell? I would go with rancid chemical smell. But that is a terrible description.

  13. #13
    Oliphaunt
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    I'd say it's more of a musty, woodsy sort of smell. I don't actually hate it in small doses

  14. #14
    Oliphaunt The Original An Gadaí's avatar
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    Yeah I haven't a notion either what it is. In fact I don't know if I've ever met an actual hippie.

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