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Something lighter today.  There comes a point where contemplating guilt and philosophical questions about our own existence becomes too heady.

Good segue, if I may say so myself.  Heady, is a good word for today.  So are, bewitching, seductive, alluring, evocative, sensual, intoxicating.  Clearly, I can go on and on with these words.  What am I describing?  Glad you asked.  Perfume.

Go figure.  Scent has always been a significant part of my life.  From as far back as I can remember, I would pick up and smell things.  When my brother went through an "I-won't-shower" phase I was cruel in how I held my nose walking past him, coughing around him.  (Fifteen year-olds can be that way.  I'm not proud of it.)  Smells of food baking, flowers, people's homes, travels, getting off an airplane, and of course people's perfume–this is what gets me going.  Good smells simply pick me up, elevate my mood, make me happy.  The opposite is true, but focusing on that doesn't get me anywhere.

I have read books on perfume, mix my own, and have a "signature" scent for long periods of time.  In university, it was Opium.  So much so, I can't wear it anymore without it taking me back to that stage and life and making me feel 22 again.  For several years after getting married, it was Coco.  This, one day, no longer worked.  My chemical changes, I was told, made Coco smell differently on me, one day, out of the blue, and it was horrid.

I have a goal of learning to speak and read (and I suppose write) French well enough to get myself into that famous perfume school in France (the one I can't remember the name of) is out there.  Among other grand plans I have.  If Julia Child can start over at forty, then I can, too.  So I keep telling myself.

I do know good scents, good perfumes, bring me joy.  That alone is enough of a statement.  I don't need or want to know why.

Two anecdotes I want to throw into the mix.  If we ask the question why we wear perfume, I have two answers for that.  These reasons are connected.  If we entertain the notion women want four things in life (and men), attention, affection, love and sex, then the first answer for why we wear perfume is simple.  We want attention.  We want to be noticed.  We want to talk into a room and leave our scent behind, so when we are gone something of us lingers behind reminding those still present we were there.  Godfry said it best.  When walking past a candle store in a mall one day (he must have been six or so), he stopped, took a deep whiff of the scent wafting out into the mall and said, "Now I know why Stella wears perfume.  She wants to be pollinated."  Gavin and I laughed and Godfry, totally confused ("whats so funny?" he said) looked embarrassed.  Sometimes it takes a six year-old to make the point so clearly.  I wear perfume because it makes me happy.  If I get "pollinated" wearing it, so much the better.

Paris, to me, epitomizes the perfume capitol of the world.  Some day I will live there and spend days walking through the streets just smelling the city.  I will.



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