I am a woman obsessed by many things. Music. Literature. Poetry. Writing. What happens in the world around me, and what happens right underneath my nose.
That last is a big one. Because I am also a woman obsessed by perfume. What other form of art contains such a shortcut to emotion and memory, and what other art form is so hard to articulate and pinpoint, when the vast majority of Planet Earth rarely thinks further than “that smells…good/bad/horrid/heavenly?”
Picture this. It’s Paris in the spring of 1977. In Paris that spring, that seminal year, was a woman in her early thirties and her gobsmacked daughter, just turned fourteen. Paris had been an education in several senses of the word. The sightseeing, Versailles, the smiling strangers at the top of the Eiffel Tower, the patisserie shops, the very idea that life itself and all things enjoyable could be turned into at art form of its own. The woman – being a woman – knows of the joys that come with the territory. The daughter is just learning, suspecting that maybe being a girl is not quite so overrated. She is perched on the diving board of womanhood, and far, far below glitter many things that can’t all be bad. There are intimations of experiences ahead, like boys, like sex, like having something someone else could want, like desire. She knows about that one, at least. She just had her butt pinched by an unseen stranger in the Paris Métro.
Mother and daughter enter one temple of sensual pleasures on the Champs-Elysées, the Guerlain store. Time to graduate from all-over body sprays to the good stuff, the hardcore stuff, the olfactory equivalent of crack cocaine.
I was – am – that daughter, and that afternoon was a day I’ll never forget. The many perfumes I never knew existed, conjuring up emotions and sensations I couldn’t even understand, never mind articulate. Perfumes so rich, compelling and complex, “it smells good” didn’t even begin to cover it.
Maman left with Mitsouko. Daughter left with Jicky. The world was never quite the same again.
Fast forward, an uncomfortable amount of years later. Meanwhile, I had fallen on hard times. All my perfume bottles were empty. There was no…YSL Paris, no Rive Gauche, no Chanel no. 19, no Ralph (don’t shoot me!), no Bulgari Thé Verte Extrème. The closest thing was scented body products, and even then, they seemed a poor substitute.
Which was when I came across perfume blogs. I knew it wouldn’t be quite the same, would, in fact, be…perfume by proxy, so to say, to see if I could conjure up a scent with words alone.
It was another kind of education. So much to discover, so much I never even knew. I knew only what I liked and what I didn’t – and on a select few occasions, absolutely loathed.
Since then, I’ve declared never to smell like anyone else, ever again. Since then, perfume is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. There are days I want Liquid Courage. I want to take on the world by the teeth. There’s a scent for that. Sometimes, I want to sheath myself in invisible armor, so nothing can faze or unhinge me. I know what to use. There are days I want nothing more than to contemplate the unbearable brightness of being. There’s one for that, too.
Last, but not least, there are the days when I desperately need to put some lethal va-va in my voom, in more ways than one, and yupp, I know where to go now.
But above all, I’m a writer, inconspicuous now, but I might have potential – or so I delude myself. I write my passions into my blogs. Here’s another one.
The only disclaimer is that anything I review on these pages is usually something I bought myself, or was gifted, unless I tell you otherwise.
And of course, that my attempts at grasping the ethereal, the ephemeral are here for the taking, the commenting.
I can’t write like some of my own favorite perfume bloggers – most of whom you’ll find on the right. I can only write as myself.
I can also smell like…myself, and like myself, but better, finer, classier, brainier, sexier, taller, drop-dead intimidating.
You never know. I might even educate you!
Watch this space!