Saturday, November 29, 2008
My Top Ten Perfume Neuroses
1. I walk into a store with a clear plan, spend an hour longer than I told myself I would, and leave with three things I don't really need, rather than the one thing I went looking for. I bought Elizabeth Taylor's Diamonds and Rubies this way.
2. I treat my favorite perfumes like old ladies treat their heirloom china, moving it to a "safe place" in my cabinet, forgetting it exists, while I tell myself I'm saving it for a special occasion, which is just a lot of bunk, because I don't have special occasions. Like those old ladies, I reevaluate any occasion that could be special, finding it, ultimately, not quite special enough. When I'm dead I will have full bottles of: Dzing!, Azuree (at 35 dollars; hardly Waterford), Parfumerie Generale's Cedre Sandaraque and Un Crime Exotique, Ungaro III, M7, Chanel No. 19, YSL Nu, Broadway Nite, H.O.T Always, Knize Ten, La Nuit, Vent Vert, Gucci EDP, Eau de Patou, Chanel Cuir de Russie (when I couldn't possibly ever use the 6 oz. bottle up anyway), Messe de Minuit, Caron Infini, Palais Jamal, Cristalle, 1000, Kingdom, Iquitos, Guerlain Vetiver, Jean Louis Scherrer, Comme des Garçons 2, Hypnotic Poison, Sables, Habanita, Bois 1920, Antique Patchouli...(stop me any time. Please).
3. I spray too little, worried about being wasteful, whereas having hundreds of bottles isn't a problem for me.
4. I ask for people's opinions, let the opinions influence my purchasing decisions, then go back, after spending the money, to buy my original choice, spending twice as much, if not more.
5. I will spend any amount of money on thirty to forty bottles I'm only modestly interested in, passing on something which compels me all out of proportion, because it's too expensive. I can justify 300 dollars on big bottles of so-so fragrances, but 300 on a knock-out is crossing the line into excessive.
6. I wear it to bed, despite many appeals not to. I in fact spray it on right before getting IN bed. This can't be good for interpersonal relationships. Not that I'm sleeping around, mind you.
7. I spend money on perfume to present as gifts to people who don't appreciate it, telling myself they will grow to love it and pay it proper respect, no matter that they think it smells like Citronella for the time being. These bottles, I've noticed during my subsequent visits, collect dust.
8. When buying something I instantly love, beyond all reason, even if by some weird temporary insanity, I think in apocalyptic terms. What if I can never find this fragrance again? What if this store closes tomorrow, or next week, before I've gone through a bottle? What if the company stops making it, or reformulates it in the middle of the night, while everyone is sleeping, and it's never the same again? What if I break my only bottle? What if someone else does? What if the sales clerk hides all the inventory to sell to her friends? I've seen it happen, people. What if someone wants to buy some? I could make a small profit. My gut reaction is to do what people do when cyclones are imminent. I stock up. Naturally, these bottles become fine china. Fragrances I have more than one bottle of: YSL Nu, Ungaro III, Iquitos, Caron Infini, Kingdom, M7, Chanel No. 19, La Nuit, Gucci EDP, Eau de Patou, Vent Vert--please stop me. Consult mistake number 2.
9. I tend to shop for perfume the way mothers shop for school clothes. I buy what is most "practical", though the term relates only peripherally to perfume. What will I wear the most (again, consult number two) before I grow out of it? What is an investment? As if perfume were stocks and bonds--or bottles of fine wine. I buy what will be nice additions to what I already own, as if I'm collecting modern art ("Let's see... I have a Warhol, and a Lichtenstein, now all I need is a Jasper Johns") or make educational trips to local schools ("Class, what you see here is everything ever created by Annick Menardo, even the ones no one wears, like Roma". Who would like to tell us what Benzoin is?). In short, I shop for perfume using deductive reasoning which has nothing to do with it and probably is better applied toward melons and cucumbers at the local market.
10. I treat perfume the way I used to treat my stuffed animals, as if they or their creators can hear me and might get their feelings hurt. "I should wear Tocade today. I haven't worn it in six weeks. It's at the back of the cabinet. What an insult, what an offense to Maurice Roucel that I've neglected it so. Or maybe I'll wear Donna Karan Signature, because no one wears it and everyone treats it like Chaos' and Black Cashmere's ugly step-sibling."