Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Growing up I remember jumping up onto the front seat of the car and shutting the door as we headed off to Sunday morning service. Within a matter of seconds after pulling the heavy minivan door shut, a thick layer of my mother’s Ciara perfume crept across the steering wheel, meeting me square in the face. The overwhelming scent was suffocating. Blocking my airways and giving me a massive headache. Rapidly rolling the window down, I’d stick my head out the window, searching for the scent of fresh air. Every Sunday I’m sure the man mowing the lawn around the corner saw me, similar to a dog, sniffing for air.
My mom wasn’t the only person who had an overwhelming love for her perfume. I’m pretty sure she learned from her mother. You don’t know what Interlude really smells like until you’re trapped, driving at 30 miles an hour down the freeway, windows rolled up, on the hour ride from San Jose to Tracey.
And still, there were the girls that start wearing make-up at 14, hung a mirror in their locker, always have a can of Aquanet hairspray handy, and freshened-up with Bath and Body Works fruit body splash right before they'd slide into their seat in biology class. These are the same ladies that grew up, and freshened-up with frequent sprays of Pink by Victoria Secret before their communications course in college. The scent sticks with them -- that misty, musky, funky smell. (My husband is standing over me saying, “stripper, it smells like stripper.” I’m not going to ask how he knows what a stripper smells like.) Enough said.
Needless to say, I was never going to wear perfume. I hated it. Note here the word "hated", as in past tense.
Recently my grandmother handed me a small bottle of Balenciaga Eau de Parfum. Of course, she wears Interlude, so she had no use for it. I figured is sounded cool, I mean it was Balenciaga right, so I would give it a try. I started with a dab on my wrist, and within days I was wearing it on my neck. Not bad I thought; after a few days I was getting used to the smell. It was good, but not perfect. With the possibility of a tolerable, perhaps pleasurable perfume out there, the quest was on. I did some research, a quick 1-2-3 tutorial on what makes perfume, well perfume. No matter what I read, what I kept coming back to was Chanel.
This is getting long, so I’ll get to the point. . . I love Chanel No. 5. No, it’s not a hip Marc Jacobs Daisy, it’s not a Gwyneth Paltrow frolicking with flowers and baby lambs in Pleasure, and it’s certainly not sexy Scarlett Johansson The One by Dolce and Gabbana. It’s better.
Chanel No. 5 subtle, sophisticated, refined -- just like a lady should be. Perhaps a little old for a 26 year-old, but certainly something every woman can grow into. It’s not what you wear, but how you wear it, right? Perhaps the age-old saying applies to scents, just as much as it applies skirts, scarves, and so forth.