Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Banish the Guilties

Yes, I’ve been feeling out of sorts lately, too. I read a wonderfully candid piece on OlfactaRama blog called Fiddling While Rome Burns, about fragrance obsession guilt while the economy is in a downturn. People are losing their homes. This isn’t just random “people” on the news, I know someone who is foreclosing on her home. Our country is still at war, people are dying. So, OlfactaRama asks, “does it feel a bit extravagant to be writing about perfume?” My answer: Yeah, it does.

Lately, I think I’ve been unconsciously focusing on fragrances that I already have. I’ve been having a love affair with decidedly “un-trendy,” inexpensive perfumes that I’ve had for years. Ivoire de Balmain was one, then Loulou, Bvlgari Black, Ava Luxe Mousse de Chine and today it’s Chanel Cristalle. But this is sort of a self-imposed guilt, I think. Surely it’s important to continue enjoying life, even in the face of difficult times and obstacles, right? I think the guilt more or less boils down to the idea that perfume is a trivial, unnecessary luxury item. Well, of course it is unnecessary, almost everything is truly unnecessary besides the basics that one needs to survive.

After feeling guilty for the past month and having these conversations in my head about the uselessness of writing about fragrance I’ve decided that this is silly. Life will march along, we will all manage to get through these tough times in our own ways, and I will continue to obsess about perfume because it makes me happy. In the moments where I’m sniffing a perfume for the first time or the fifty-first time, I’m happy. On my drive home from the office I think about which perfume I will change into for the evening I feel happy. When I know I have a box waiting for me at home, I'm ecstatic. When I’m writing about a fragrance I get so deeply involved with it's aroma that I experience “olfactory joy.” Perfume is a hobby, an obsession, an escape and it makes me very happy.

So, today I’m wearing Chanel Cristalle edp. It’s been a long time since I’ve worn this. I’d forgotten how wonderful it is. Chanel Cristalle is a beautifully light chypre based on citrus and florals. I love the aldehydic citrus kick in the beginning. The citrusy quality dies down after the first hour and it becomes a well-done fruity floral. I’ve had this bottle for at least 10 years and I’m happy to be under its spell today.


Tania said...

I read that blog too.

I agree with you - whatever adds to the sum of human happiness, however little, is a good thing in times like these. Being all doom and gloom won't help. People who see you smile because you are thinking of what perfume to wear don't know you are smiling over something so 'trivial' - they just see the smile, and it brightens their day a little , too.

Or at least, that's my excuse - and I'm sticking to it! ;-)

BTW, I tried LouLou again and gave it a bit longer. And now I can see that it hasn't changed, but I have. I've just outgrown it. It's pure nostalgia for the nose, but I couldn't actually wear it now.

Abigail said...

Oh, that's a bummer that you can't wear Loulou, but I totally understand. I can't wear Poison, White Linen or Diva anymore and these all seem to fall under that big 80's umbrella.

I'm glad you agree and don't think me shallow but I just have to keep doing the things that make me happy...hey, perfume is less expensive than a golfing habit!