PHOENIX—The bedroom of Jeffrey Worthen has that weird sort of Jeff smell, housemates of the 22-year-old Rio Salado Community College art student reported Tuesday.
"I don't know what it is, but the whole room always has that certain distinct Jeffish odor," housemate Evan Cadwaler said. "I can't put my finger on what the smell is exactly, but it definitely smells like Jeff."
Convening to discuss containment strategies for the mysterious Jeff-based vapors, Cadwaler and fellow housemates Eric Mayhew and Chad Beem agreed that the smell seems to be strongest at around 8:30 p.m.
"His room is right off the room where the TV is, and usually, like halfway through The X-Files, we're hit with like this wave of, well, I can't really describe it."
According to Mayhew, the housemates first noticed the Jeff smell this past May, when Worthen left the door to his bedroom, located right next to the living room, open while he was out of town for the weekend.
"While Jeff was away, I went into his room to look for a videotape that had that week's Space Ghost on it, and that's when I first noticed it," said Mayhew, a dishwasher at The Timbers Supper Club. "I can't really describe what it's like. It's not a terrible smell, actually, but it's definitely there. You can sort of smell it on Jeff himself, but if you go into his room it hits you the second you open the door."
Discussing the odor while sifting through a stack of CDs on Worthen's bedside table, Mayhew and Beem agreed that the smell is neither a foot smell nor a rotten-food smell, but could be something closer to maybe being like a musty sort of smell, almost.
The smell, which the housemates also agreed is not an old-person smell or even a sweaty-guy smell, has always been a part of Worthen and his room, though it has never been displeasing enough to interfere with the housemates' friendship with him.
"I wouldn't really say it reeks," Beem said. "It just smells kinda 'off.' It's not the kind of obvious smell where you could just tell him straight up, 'Dude, crack a window in here.'"
Though a general open-door policy exists in the house, the housemates, who generally convene in the living-room area, rarely have the need to enter each other's rooms. During each of the five known instances when one of the housemates did enter Worthen's room, however, the person emerged noting the distinct Jeff-esque scent that is unique to his personal area.
"My first guess was that it was dirty laundry, but there weren't that many dirty clothes lying around," said Cadwaler, who recently led an expedition into the room to rule out such potential smell sources as old plates of food, half-empty beer bottles and wet articles of clothing. "Maybe it could be those boxes of old comics he keeps under the bed."
Added Cadwaler: "To tell you the truth, I never used to think about the smell all that much, but now that we've started talking about it, I kind of want to know what's up with it."
Last Tuesday, during a venture into Worthen's room to look for a rubber band, Cadwaler detected a particularly strong dose of the Jeff smell coming from the vicinity of his pillow. He was unable to determine, however, whether the pillow was the source of the smell or simply a carrier.
The same question has been applied to Worthen, who, according to the housemates, showers four to five times a week but still bears the odor. "Is the smell coming from Jeff, or does Jeff smell that way because he spends time in there?" Mayhew said. "It's kind of like the chicken and the egg."
Worthen's roommates doubt that they will ever discover the cause of the scent, as all three have been reluctant to broach the subject with him. The three unanimously agreed, however, that the smell is "more weird than bad" and ultimately "no real biggie."
Said Mayhew: "You know how sometimes a dog smells like a dog, and it's not actually bad that it smells that way, but you just sort of notice it and think, 'Oh, there's that dog smell'? Well, that's kinda how it is with Jeff."