Saturday, July 11, 2009
I meant to write about this earlier (and perhaps I have and forgot), but I received a comment on Facebook about wearing perfume. An old friend, who's never known me to wear perfume, having missed the first love affair and left before the second one began, asked "who are you wearing it for?" The question surprised me. The answer was (and is) "for myself."
I had forgotten that most people think the wearing of perfume is for others. That never occurs to me. The only thing I think about others when I put on fragrance is that I must remember to wear a scent close to the skin. The smell of perfume has become akin to a crime (and is one in some places), even while we're subjected to all sorts of scent where once we were not. Every public bathroom stinks of canned sprays, and "classier" ones reek of baskets of fake rose petals, sticks and dried leaves that claim to be potpourri. Where once clean meant the smell of pine or chlorine, it now is too many things, most of them orange, or something that tries to pass for lavender.
I'm in no way against making soaps and cleansers that smell good. I use Caldrea dish soap and it is lovely. I even use a Bath and Body Works plug-in because it's better than smelling my cat box, which even with daily cleaning, smells bad in the summer.
But that wasn't what I meant to write about. I can't help but rambling, and editing, well. . .I don't do much of that, do I?
I'm finally breaking out of being a serial monogamist when it comes to fragrances. Lately, I've started actually sampling my samples. After I discovered I had more than 200 of them, it seemed the right thing to do. The way I was wearing fragrance, one would think I had half a dozen, at most. When I like something, I stick with it.
I'm like that with most everything. I eat the same thing every day until I'm sick of it, which takes a long time, sometimes even a year or more. One could easily say that it's boring, but I don't find it so. Of course, there's comfort in the familiar, but I also see it as a way of becoming truly intimate with things. Perhaps I'm overstating my case. The other reason I am like this is ol' nature and nurture. My father was the same way. He ate the same thing every day and I watched him savor it, absolutely relish it, and some days I felt a kind of jealousy, for he seemed to be enjoying himself far more with his two Vienna cookies at lunch than someone who's just eaten the world's rarest delicacy. Did I watch and learn or am I just like him because of some gene? If I knew the answer to that one, I'd win the Nobel prize.
I've always loved scent. And this, too, I learned from my father, who thought good soap was the poor man's delight, an affordable luxury. I know I've written about this before; the trips to Caswell Massey when it was an old and venerable place, usually empty, where we were treated like royalty for buying one box of soap. We'd spend outrageous amounts of time in there, and any store we could find that sold good soap, picking up each bar as if it held something absolutely precious, which it did.
Oddly, when I left the home of my father, I developed a love for Dial soap. I even went so far as to buy a case of it, those bright yellow-orange horrors, 100 hotel-size bars. I wonder if I'd still like the smell. These days, good soap is so easy to find. Any discount store, TJ Maxx, Marshall's, has all one could want. The packaging is luscious, but somehow the thrill is gone. The hunt was fun when the stuff wasn't so popular.
I read recently that it used to be that there were 40 perfume launches a year and now there are 2000. Perhaps this is why the niche perfume, especially for me, who lives in such a rural place, where the finest perfume I can find in person is Chanel, is such a treat. I am planning on being in New York City in a few weeks, and I marvel at how one can get anything there. Of course, this has always been true, but now, as a hick from the sticks, it amazes me. Yet, as I thought of who I might be if I lived there now, I thought how my perfume lust might get the better of me. Too easy to obtain, too expensive to buy, and perhaps I would never have swapped for samples with all the nice people I've "met" online. Maybe I'd be buying a bottle a week, feeling guilty about it, and also, forgetting what a pleasure I find the stuff.
Today I wore three different scents, and I'll be putting another on before I go to sleep. I've been wondering lately if others put scent on before they went to bed, and I thought "of course they do", but probably for their lovers. I always choose something I think will bring me good sleep, make the bedclothes smell nice in the morning, or soothe me if I'm needing that. I realized I've assumed that the poor man who sleeps with me will like it, because I do. Now, that is surely delusional, but a delusion I prefer to keep.
Photo note: And what does a ball of yarn have to do with this post? I googled the words "the perfumed bed" and saw this skein. Of course, I followed the trail, and came upon an online fiber shop called The Sanguine Gryphon. What beautiful fiber they have! Not only that, the yarns have names, such as "The Perfume Anointed Bed" (above), "Beyond Their Reach", "Beautiful in Your Garments", and for many, there is poetry (besides the titles themselves). What a treasure I have just found! Even if you don't need yarn, go have a look (and a read).