I am steadily completing the features for the book, and as expected, there is a lot to say. One of my farmers market friends is a woman who is a stewardess, and she has recently picked up the route to Paris. She goes for just two days at a time, but she stays for free and her husband goes with her, and they are having a marvelous time rediscovering Paris after flying to Asia for several years. And it seems like every Saturday morning, no matter what we chat about, the conversation invariably turns to Paris, either talking about the book or her next trip or I forgot to mention such and such place that she must try next time. She is pressing me to get it done soon because she is going to turn her wide circle of stewardess girlfriends on to it and get them to buy it. Mostly, she just wants to have all these little tips and bits in writing after seeing some of it on my iPad at the market. I know!!! I am writing as fast as I can!!
Today I am finishing the section on Perfume, and I have to say, I have had a particularly tough time getting it started. Once I get a feature started, it seems to go fairly well, I can organize my thoughts in writing, but this one was tough. I have had a hard time figuring out how to approach the subject, and mostly how to avoid any mention of people’s negative associations with certain perfumes, which kept popping into my head.
I admit, when choosing French perfume houses, there was one I knew I had to include, immediately, another I wanted to cover and did, with success, another that I would have liked to have covered but didn’t have time to visit, and another that I already mentioned that would not allow any photos or discussion of any kind, so that house was out. It all worked out perfectly in the end. But there is one other that I hesitated to go see, but nixed even before the trip began. It would have been a “confront a demon” kind of a visit though, and I chose not to go there. No, I just can’t do it.
When I lived in New York, I spent a year working for a female managing director, who was very good at being a managing director, but also at scaring the wits out of us financial analysts. Booming voice, perpetually demanding, large physical presence in very fitted suits and…always in a cloud of her signature French perfume. You could smell her coming, and you could smell when she had been somewhere five minutes earlier. It was like a trail of perfume around the office. And to this day, when I smell that perfume on anyone (thankfully it’s since gone out of style) it gives me this knee-jerk reaction that this woman is going to show up around the corner. I mean, I can’t stand that perfume. I don’t even like to see the bottle, it’s almost as bad as smelling it. Am I the only one who does this perfumey-association?
I saw another friend at the market today and tested out my question on her: “How do you feel when you smell your Mother’s perfume?” Mother has passed, but her response was short and expected: “….Angry...” So there was my answer, I am not alone….
I wanted to be sure to steer the text widely away from this notion, and focus on the positive. I got going and the text is good, and interesting, though not finished. I included a few other perfumes that are famous but lesser-known to most. The first time I smelled one particular perfume, I was with a girlfriend, having fun shopping in Paris, and we both agreed the top note was like getting slapped across the face by a leather glove, followed quickly by a middle note that’s like being hit over the head by a bouquet of carnations and a few batons of vanilla bean and a bunch of other scents. And then you might expect Marlene Dietrich to come slinking around the corner singing, in a tuxedo and silk top hat, as the perfume settles in. It’s a positive association, and perfectly wonderful fragrance when you are feeling a little racy; I didn’t mention the leather glove would be like this lambskin pretty from Palais Royal~
I wish I lived somewhere cool and chic like Paris, because then I might have bought these gloves. Faux trench-coat gloves in lambskin, wow; check out the buckle and the inner cuff at top; it’s so me, I am going to add this to Pinterest now.
Anyway, I feel better telling the story of the perfume, as it is now off my mind. But I am curious, if you have any perfumes that give you a strong association, positive or negative, when you smell them? OK back to editing now….enjoy the rest of your weekend….