There are a few smells a person has to get used to when they choose to live in my area of the world. I still remember the first morning I walked out of the dorm nearly 14 years ago and was smacked in the face by the west wind, bringing with it the smell of paper factory. That's a smell anyone could detect, and turn to the person next to them to comment on.
The spring of my freshman year brought with it a new discovery; one I wasn't so fast to talk to other people about. Sitting in the radio station, windows thrown open to celebrate the new born spring, I caught a very unique smell. I sat there thinking to myself: "Self", I thought, "that smells an awful lot like semen". But where could it be coming (no pun intended) from? To generate that heavy an odor it would have to be a whole lot of spunk. Was there some sort of fraternity circle jerk going on by the fountain? I said nothing, and neither did anyone else. Before you knew it the spring gave way to finals, and finals gave way to a trip back to New Jersey for the summer.
The following spring, now surrounded by my closest friends -I had known them for 19 whole months at that point after all- I had the guts to wonder aloud about the smell. It was a short conversation which went something like:
Greazy Tony: Don't those trees smell an awful lot like...
Everyone Else: Cum? I know, what is that about!?!
From that point on, we called them Jizz Trees, which I thought was an invention of the good students of York College of Pennsylvania. In the following years we would draw attention to them when they were in bloom, and enjoy watching as the bewildered freshman struggled to bring themselves to talk about it. Of course we laughed even harder at the boys who feigned ignorance of the smell, and the girls who would one day go on to say "eww, it smells just like those trees on campus."
Just what was nature playing at when she made these trees? Are they there to remind us that spring is here, and its time to get with the propagating of the species? And why in hell would anyone put these trees on a college campus filled with horny young hard-bodied teens and twenty-somethings? We wondered all this as we sat talking about the trees each spring, and some of us (Hint: the boys) wondered where the female equivalent to these trees could be found. And don't say pussywillow, because we've checked.
Now, in the day of the internets, all you have to do is Google "Jizz Tree" and you get 47 different mentions of the phrase. They can't all be York College Alumni can they? If you do a bit more digging, by broadening the search, you find that there are ton of trees nation wide that cause this problem. Be they Ginko Trees, Flowering Dogwoods, The Tree of Heaven or the Bradford Pear which is the one we have on campus. There are just a lot of trees that stink like semen this time of year.
I thought it was only a York thing, but while plodding around the net I found a site run by a woman from my hometown in New Jersey that bemoans the arrival of the Bradford Pear bloom, and it's accompanying smell. She has far more aplomb, or far less experience with man mayonnaise than the average college student, and as such doesn't mention what the smell is evocative of. It makes me wonder if they were there when I lived there.