Monday, June 23, 2008

Dandy of the Day, Defined

The poet Charles Baudelaire described a dandy as one whose interest in aesthetics approaches religious devotion, if not fanaticism. However, dandy means all sorts of things. The connotation is that of someone whose passion for art and beauty (and fragrance) is unrealistically devout. The dandy's adherence to beauty beyond the strictures of date, place, and time is out of step with modern standards, which are considered mere nuisances. Here at I Smell Therefore I Am, we view as a dandy anyone whose style and/or taste/and or overall outlook and presentation is decidedly bold and individually extravagant. We applaud, by singling out, people whose outlook is visionary. Fancy dressers, arch intellectuals, perfume connoisseurs. The woman at the corner deli who wears her hair high and her perfume loud. They like what they like, and whether or not you like it too is of no significance to them. They wear it or say it or pursue it regardless. In an era of conformity and marketed identity, we seek out those who persist as individuals, against the grain, until the grain finally, if ever, catches up with them.

Don't think only men can be dandy. Women are dandy too. They even had their own term for it. Several terms, in fact. Quaintrelle, dandyess, dandizette. Famous courtesan Cora Pearl was an early quaintrelle. We use the word dandy to mean both genders. We use it to mean beyond gender; rather, a state of mind and a state of being. We use it on this blog to celebrate the unusual and to speculate what kind of perfumes would best befit these particular forms of maverick individualism.

1 comment:

Rocketqueen said...

Fantastic post! I used to be really strict when I was very young, always spending time with worrying about what other people thought about me. Then I found one day thet everyone was too busy with their own lives to constantly bother about what hair pin I was wearing that day and whether it was a red or blue one. Plus, it was deadly boring not having my own style as I was so afraid of what others might think. A total clash came and it was highly freeing for me and who I was; I started to dress just the way I wanted and didn't give a damn about everyone elses thoughts about me. A brand new life, to be frank! I still am the person who couldn't care less about if someone else doesn't like my appearance. Too bad for them! I've lived through my own Dandy revolution!