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Thursday, May 06, 2010


The Longest Post, or Scent of a Maureen

This week is the first week I have left for work without a jacket. Jackets are now my enemies. They make me hot and sad.

I do not want to work; I just want to cook.

Elisa has been posting about perfume for a while (post one, post two); Reb has responded, and Elisa now has a perfume review up at Open Letters Monthly. I have been following the perfume blogging with interest, if only because I don’t wear perfume, and am confused about why, exactly. It seems to occupy a very important, emotionally rich place in many people's lives. But I never have worn perfume.

I was remarking on this to Jeff just after Elisa’s first perfume post and he asked whether I wore perfume at our wedding. I didn’t. It wasn’t a conscious choice; I didn’t even think about it (I also didn’t get a manicure or pedicure, a choice that made the woman who did my hair for the ceremony think of me as a deeply suspicious character).

My mother doesn’t wear perfume either, so I guess that set the pattern. My grandmother regularly wears Giorgio, and I can remember the bright yellow stripes on the packaging on her dressing table, but in my own house, we only had an ancient bottle of White Shoulders that my mom would splash diffidently upon us any time we had to get on our finest and haul off to some navy function. Maybe that is one of the reasons for my anti-perfumery – it makes me think that there are admirals lurking around, waiting to give you some kind of personal demerit.

Anyway, I was intrigued enough by the whole discussion to try wearing perfume for a day or two. I have some little sample spritzer thingy I got from Ann Taylor. The perfume is called Possibilities. I think that is very funny. It is like wearing a spell. I am open to all Possibilities, through the sympathetic magic of my perfume! Also, the name makes it sound like the marketing department couldn’t actually tell what the stuff smelled like. Possibly…chamomile? Possibly…oak? Possibly…musk? (Ann Taylor has another perfume called “Destination,” which may be even more hilarious. Coupled with my recent observation that they are calling one of their fabric colors “walrus,” I think one of their marketing people may be a mole from Talbot’s).

This was not my first attempt at wearing perfume. Though I like the idea of perfume, it just doesn’t seem to work out for me in practice. Whenever I first put on perfume, it seems to smell way too strong, and it makes me grumpy, like music that is too loud. But then it fades to barely there, and I can't really tell what the point is. It was the same with Possibilities. There is a possibility it will not work. Argghh.

I know that scents are very memory-rich…I once dated a guy whose mom wore Chanel #5 and couldn’t date anyone that wore that because it was too weird, but at the same time, he loved the smell. It was very comforting. When I was growing up, we regularly used Suave’s strawberry shampoo, which had this great plasticky smell (it smelled just like a strawberry shortcake doll) that can still take me back in an instant to the mid-80s(Personal dream...meet the person that invented artificial strawberry spell. For some reason I picture this person as being Japanese).

I bought tomato leaf perfume a few years' back from a seller on Etsy, because I love love love the smell of tomato plants. With the stopper just off, the bottle really did smell like tomato plants: scratchy and sunny and kind of disgustingly fertile. But the scent soon faded into an over-alcoholic morass. Feh.

So, for now I am scentless. If any scent experts out there would care to give me recommendations, I like citrus fruits, cucumbers, tomatoes, and peonies. The peonies are out now in my neighborhood and I stop to smell them often. I carefully make mental notes of people growing scentless peonies. These people are philistines.

posted by Reen |link| 2 comments

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