Saturday, April 12, 2008

More nausea


Earlier this evening, I was trying to put my fragrance samples into some semblance of order. I have been wearing Passage D'enfer almost every day and figured there had to be something else that would satisfy my craving for woods or incense. I noticed I had a vial of Narciso Rodriguez for Her. I didn't even know I had this, had never heard of it, and opened up the vial for a quick whiff before returning to my clean-up operation.

I hated it at first sniff. It smelled of everything I hate about perfume with a capital P. It's not a particular note, but an impression. It's Perfume! It's the sound of a woman in a stylish power suit wearing pointy sling back heels that clickety clack when she walks. I can see her her approach in the dim hallway of a court. She's got her briefs in a folio kept close to her breast in one hand and the other hand displays her perfectly not too long French nails. She wears this scent, along with stockings and never, ever, pantyhose. It's the Perfume that precedes this same woman when she enters a room and lingers when she leaves like a houseguest who has overstayed their welcome. It screams "smell me whether you like it or not". It's the kind of scent that makes cities like Halifax outlaw wearing fragrance in public space. It's the smell of a new luxury car that's ugly but impresses the neighbors.

For me, it has no fragrance. I can not pick out anything from it. I'd have to ask an expert nose. All I can do is recoil.

I got some of this poisonous horror on one of my fingers. I may have gotten the barest minimum of molecules to even produce the smell. I didn't spill it. I only put the cap back on the vial. There's the tiniest bit of fragrance that gets on ones' fingers when doing this.

I had to stop writing. I thought I was going to be ill. I walked quickly to my bathroom and braced myself, but nothing happened. I still feel sick. Let's move back in time to retrace the origins of this awful feeling:

I had some of the loathsome For Her on my finger. Not even a drop of it. If I knew chemistry, I might be able to tell you just how many molecules there were on my digit. I'm sure Luca Turin could tell you. I assumed that because of how small the quantity was that it would dissipate quickly. Oh, how wrong I was!

I was in the midst of writing this post when I wrote: It was enough. I am writing this while trying not to think of being ill. I washed it off long ago with

In the middle of that sentence I walked briskly to the bathroom. I told you that already, didn't I?

I am stunned by how powerful a reaction I had to this smell. Is it a fragrance, an odor or a scent? Something that makes one so ill would reasonably be called a stench.

I was intrigued by how much I hated this odor, stench, swill, what have you and how I couldn't place what about it made me feel ill, so I googled it to read some reviews. They were few and far between, but I found one woman who said it was her "holy grail" of scents. How can this be? As I write this, still feeling the urge to vomit (there, I've said it), I wonder what is it that this other person smells. It is not what I smell. It can't be.

I've done everything to remove the offensive odor. I've used plain hot water, a wash cloth, the very strong scent of a cedar soap, followed by another wash with hot water. Then I applied Booth's Honey Almond body butter, which usually soothes my senses and masks any odors I don't like that linger on my body.. It was all futile.

Just the sense memory alone is making me sick. I'm not even sure I will ever be able to read the name of this vile product again without some nausea.

The interesting thing (to me!) is that, in spite of how terribly nauseated I am feeling right this moment, I am more fascinated by the fact that a scent can have such a strong effect upon anyone. What is it about this sickening potion that offends me so much? And what is in it that my nose is telling my body that it is poison? For that is exactly what is happening. Why else would one have an urge to throw up? My body needs to rid me of this toxin, pure and simple.

Note: It took me hours to find this (rare) poster from a Man Ray exhibit in 1974 on line. I put it here for one simple reason: I find it a cheerful, refreshing image (and a good antidote to nausea). I own this poster, though it is very wavy. When I saw the words "rare" on the web, I got all excited, for I hoped it was worth some real money. Nah. Only 75 bucks.

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