Monday, May 27, 2013

I have been on an inquisition for a new perfume.

I am a funny creature,  for smells and what people smell like are intimately important to me.  I imprint to smell.

My own perfume choices are carefully considered. I have had phases through my life in which I use perfume to become something or someone.  I know, instantly, if a scent is not going to work for me. I lean in towards people and try to smell them without seeming creepy or cannibalistic.

One of the ways Terrance snared me was his exquisite scent the night we meet. Not overwhelming like most of the boys in 1990, smelling of Polo or Drakkar...but close, sophisticated. Something different. He smelled.....right.

This choosing is taking time. I have to sample a number of scents before I can decide. I have to consider what season I will be wearing them, and what they remind me of when they linger on my skin.

I try a new fragrance and ask Terrance to smell them. He hates this. He refuses to place his nose to my proffered forearm. Emily, however, is always willing to engage in this exercise with me. She, too, is a creature for whom smells are part of how we engage with the world. In fact she still, daily, wraps her arms around me and inhales my scent. I am mother to her. I am strength and security and unconditional love.  Whatever my faults and misgivings, I am her olfactory rock of Gibraltar.

My decants arrive and I place them in the bathroom to be sampled. I choose one each day and test it on my skin. Some fade quickly, others spark something in my memory causing me to reject them. This happens with jasmine heavy fragrances  I don't care for those, although I can't tell you exactly why. I find them cloying and overpowering.

Some require second and third wearings before I can get a sense of who these perfumes are and of what they speak. Lutens Filles des Berlin is one of these. I like it, but do I want to commit to it? Do I want this scent to wrap it's tendrils around a specific part of my being?

Some are instantly obvious. Commes des Garcons Red Carnation intertwined itself around me from the moment I opened the decant. I walked into the hallway and Emily said "THAT IS AWESOME!" She recognized it as a smell that belonged on me immediately. Peppery, with bright carnation overlayed with a musky rose and cloves...Oh, the cloves.

Others, like Creed's White Flowers or Spring Flowers are lovely but are too delicate for me. I am not delicate. I have never been, nor will ever be delicate.

With others I have high hopes that are never realized after wearing the scent for the day. Lutens  Daim Blonde, Tubereuse Criminelle, Vitriol D'Oeillet and  A La Nuit all get the "meh, not for me" and are relegated to the sample box.

Others, like Lutens Silver Iris Mist make me stop and wonder. What is this on my skin? Why do I like this despite not knowing how I feel about it?

I wanted to love Etat Libre d'Orange's Putain des Palaces. I mean the name alone made me want to love this scent. Alas. It did not wear well on me and gave me a headache. Like this, Tilda Swinton however gave me the same sense of not knowing how I felt about it. I ordered a larger sample so as to wear it in a variety of settings, getting a sense for how the scent lives on my skin.

I am like a feral child, sniffing and circling on the scents I like. Discarding some, moving others to a second wearing I keep circling back, sniffing, snuffling, inhaling all the smells.  I exhale, hard, through my nose - clearing it of memories.

In my continual becoming, I seek that which belongs to me while not yet knowing.

1 Baleful Regards:

Heath said...

I love thinking of you trying to sneak a sniff of people without them thinking you're about to bite them.

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