Tuesday, December 29, 2009

One last apology before my resolution to stop being an apologist

I never do make New Year's resolutions, actually. But, if I did, here's what they'd be: Stop being an apologist. Embrace my disdain for American "culture" without becoming embittered. Protest loudly, hopefully without the stridency that turns people off. Do more. Make more. Reject the constraints of a society that tries to enforce normalcy. Finally accept myself for my slippery personality. Finally accept my disabilities while embracing my strengths. Work harder for myself and others. Listen to my inner voice, which is usually "right" and not do what's "sensible", which is usually wrong (at least for me). Speak up for those who can't. Do not live out of fear. Listen more carefully to others.

Did I forget what my last apology is? Hmmm. Oh yes - it's this: Sorry to all of you who come to this blog expecting only interesting tidbits about perfume, crafts, rural life, and nothing "lurid" or angry. There's anger in me. As much as I see the good in everyone (and I do), I have been trying to sublimate the part of me that sees just how much this so-called society hurts many. Assimilate or be punished! I do not live in an urban ghetto of acceptance of all people. If I did, it would be fairly safe to be as I am and say and do what I want. Folks who live in places like I do keep their mouths shut and their lives a secret, for the most part, or have assimilated to the point of being "acceptable enough." To those who don't, my apologies for generalizing, and my congratulations to you.

As part of the "last apology" (though I'm sure I'll make what the 12-steppers call "a slip"), here's a perfume story for y'all:

Way back in the early summer, I popped into Marshall's to check out their often interesting sale table. On it was a bottle of Annick Goutal's Neroli and two bottles of Armani Prive Eau de Jade. They were both $22 bucks. I was basically broke during this time and I figured if it wasn't under twelve dollars, I'd pass. One bottle of the Armani was open and I surreptitiously sprayed a bit on my wrist. Then I got in the car and started driving home.

I loved the smell. I kept bringing my hand up to my nose. I have a predisposition to thinking anything Armani is junk, so I found it hard to believe how much I was enjoying the scent. After driving for about ten minutes, I considered turning around and going back to buy a bottle. I did not. It seemed silly. By the time I got home, unfortunately, I was in love with the scent. So, I called Marshall's up and asked them to reserve a bottle for me. Unfortunately, exactly one half hour after I left, they marked down everything on the sale table to ten bucks and all the perfume was gone (except for the Elizabeth Taylor dreck).

The next morning, I called every Marshalls and TJ Maxx in the state. I kid you not. I'm always looking for a scent that truly intoxicates me and I had done so. I needed it. Yeah, I know it's a type of compulsion. I have plenty of nice perfume. But if you're reading this, you probably know what I'm talking about. I really needed that juice.

Hey, others have much worse habits. In fact, in retrospect, I realize I spent far less on my compulsions than the average beer drinker or cigarette smoker. Ten to twenty bucks a week on fiber and perfume is not much. But I digress.

I googled the Armani Prive Eau de Jade and found many a bad review of the stuff, with comments galore, saying how much many folks absolutely love it. It's a fairly straightforward scent: "A citrus-aromatic scent with notes of bergamot, spices, bourbon vanilla and Tunisian neroli." It feels to me like a strong traditional men's cologne but with more heft.

The kicker of knowing that I could have gotten two bottles for ten bucks a pop if I had loitered in the store is finding out that this stuff is listed for $185 and discounted for about $140. That's out of my league. Pleas for in on MUA produced nothing. Ebay disappointed, as usual. I thought of all the folks who had scooped it up at Marshalls across the country and were now selling it for over a hundred bucks on the aforementioned Ebay and wanted to kick myself and kick myself hard. I also wanted the Goutal Neroli. As ubiquitous as neroli is, I love the stuff, and if I can find anything that is good with neroli in it, I want it. Ah, well, one can't have everything. As for fragrances, there's many I want to get my grubby little hands on that I can't: Nasomatto China White, Neil Morris' Spectral Violet (and many of his vault scents), various Lutens (all the overpriced ones, of course), the new Artisans, a bottle of Chanel Les Exclusifs Cologne. And these are just off the top of my head. I've stopped paying much attention to the perfume blogs, for the most part. The "stage one" symptoms of perfume addiction were relatively benign and easy to satisfy. Freebies and little samples were all welcome. Everything was new and interesting. Now, everything I want is harder to find. The swaps I'm offered on the boards are never met with anything interesting. No, I don't want to swap my Lutens for your Victoria's Secret perfume. And no one has any Ginestet Le Boise, another perfume I adore. How many little vials of it can I procure? I yell at myself in my head: use up what you have! Well, I will.

This short story has become quite long. Anyway, for my birthday, I decided I must get myself some of the Armani. Of all the scents on my lust list, I figured it would be the easiest to find at an affordable price, and it turned out I was correct. I finally got lucky on Ebay where I usually am not. There happened to be three auctions ending in the same hour for the stuff, and one of them was for a refill (which doesn't have the lovely jade stone on top). Sure, I'd love that nice box with the stone, but since I keep my fragrances in the boxes, why should I covet that? I bid $25.01 and called it a day, figuring I'd be outbid and that'd be the end of it. Much to my surprise, I wasn't, as the stoned-topped boxes wound up being sold for close to retail. People want the flourishes, don't they? Good for them, and good for me.

To top off the pleasure, the seller sent it to me priority mail and I got it a day after my birthday. Thank you, whoever you are. I've been wearing it every day since. I can't help myself. I passed it by for Christmas and wore Goutal's Myrrh Ardente instead. Oddly, my once-loved Encens Flamboyant has lost its charms and the Myrrh scent has crept up on me. Okay, add that to the list. My sample vial has enough for one more dose (oh, I mean application).

And so, that brings my perfume update to a close. I hope it softens the new harshness of my blog. Hey, that's me. Soft, hard, nice, cruel, forgiving, angry, understanding, intolerant. We're all made up of contradictions. Some find it intolerable in others and in themselves. Some are blind to the parts of their personality that don't "fit" with their sense of self. I hope, at least, that I'm not completely blind to my faults. I know I can be a bore, that I'm not attentive enough, that I'm both oversensitive and insensitive at the same time (which can be truly confusing), and that I can be overly needy. Need more resolutions? I'm working on it. I think we're all capable of change, even up to the day we die. Most people harden like arteries by the time they hit the grand old age of 30. I am grateful that I did not, and never plan to.

Enough about me. What are your grand plans for the teenage years of the 21st century? I hope this adolescent period will bring about great changes that adolescence usually elicits, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'm right.

Photo note: Self-explanatory, I should hope.

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