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5 Iowa City Smells We All Know and Hate

Here in good ol’ IC, the continuous, season-transitioning breeze is responsible for many things: ripping headphones out on a hurried walk to the EPB, allowing your olive Patagonia jacket to billow out like Vin Diesel’s walk away from any explosion in the Fast and Furious franchise, and wafting many conflicting scents into your nostrils at any given moment. Here are five of the most infamous and offensive smells of Iowa City:

5.) Barf:
Look, you knew this was coming, and if you’re someone who likes to toss your cookies after a night of vodka crans at SpoCo, no judgment here! At The Black Sheep, we believe in gettin’ it out, not keeping it in. If you’re one of the unfortunate souls who is forced to take an 8 a.m. on Friday mornings, then you know the smell of barf a little too well. Send up a prayer for whoever has to hose that down on a steamy spring morning, and watch your step.

4.) Unshowered Desperation:
Being a student at UIowa has its many perks, but Hawkeyes tend to be insanely busy and still somehow end up being approximately eight years behind schedule. The smell of college student desperation is one of the most pungent scents around our darling university town. Desperation for sleep at 10 a.m., F’real milkshakes, begging your professor to sign your drop slip, or one night of awesome, uninterrupted-by-your-drunk-and-crying-roommate, sexy time. Whatever the reason, all collegiate desperation smells of the same “in need of a scrub-a-dub-dub” eau de parfum.

3.) Axe Body Spray:
Oh frat boys, how we love you and your incredibly sharp, overzealous body spray. On any zoomed-out Google Map image of Iowa City, there will be a cloudy, ballooning haze. Most of you liberal kids may mistake it for Global Warming, but psshhh no way!  It’s the residual cloud from the pledges of Zamba Die Alpha Male getting ready to tell women they’re “hot AF” at Cactus 2! One can’t help but wonder though, what does Axe Body Spray smell like when it’s not mixed with Busch Light and sweat?

2.) Pagliai’s Pizza:
Iowa City has many places to catch a bite, especially if you’re into eating balls (of grease while excruciatingly inebriated). However, most of these late night options don’t have a signature smell attached to them unless of course, it’s Iowa City’s own, Pagliai’s Pizza. The only thing more confusing than the pronunciation of this off-path pizza paradise is why the smell of their pie is so enticing. What better way to welcome the freshman 15 than with an assembly line of men in white hats manufacturing cheesy smells to die for?

1.) An Inevitable Dorm Fire:
Chances are if you’ve ever lived in the dorms, you, your roommate, or your overly-peppy RA have accidentally lit a fire. The culprits are all the same: ramen, Christmas lights, and hair straighteners. In the end though, all of your clothes will smell like burnt popcorn, and you’ll be wondering how you somehow managed to take (and save) your laptop but not the charger. Looks like you’ll have to light another illegal Yankee Candle to fan that smell out Currier/Stanley, freshies.

Smell is one of our most powerful senses, it has the ability to trigger memory, emotion, and even physical pain. Luckily for us in Iowa City, these smells enact all three. Go outside, Hawkeyes, take a whiff!

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