In a men's dormitory
, it is not too uncommon for certain residents or their rooms to smell like ass
. It is also not too uncommon for some of these residents to believe that by spraying air freshener
or burning incense
around themselves or their area, they thereby negate the smell of ass
. In actuality, the additional odor
s do not remove the original stench
; they merely add to it, resulting in an overall smell of ass and potpourri
This phrase was invented by a hall-mate of mine at Simon's Rock College. One afternoon, I returned to our hall to discover that it (the hall) was busily reeking of a combination of unpleasant odors, overlaid with a fug of Lysol and incense. Rich, my next-door neighbor, was complaining to his roommate that the hall "smelled like ass." Hearing my approach, he asked me what I thought the hall smelled like. I sniffed a bit and replied, "Um ... shit and cheap incense, why?" He then exclaimed, without warning: "Ass and potpourri! That's it! Ass and potpourri!"
For some time thereafter, any sufficiently complex and/or inadequately covered-up stink was described as "ass and potpourri".