Saturday, 11 September 2010

Fragrance and self

It was nearly 2pm by the time I managed to prise Mazz off my arm.

I met her in Debenhams at 10.30 on a day when I just felt fat and ugly. I couldn't bear to look at myself in ANY of the mirrors I passed (it didn't help that I was wearing a sweatshirt that made me look the size of a house). I was happy to walk around with her as she chose clothes, but I was utterly uninterested in anything but her company. I HATE shopping, but that's another post.

Things started to perk up when she decided she was looking for a fragrance: that, I could get behind. I grabbed Obsession, which I haven't had since March and sprayed it on my wrists. Mazz really liked it on me, but she was going after Dior Addict - a new version that a Saffa friend had worn and she had loved.

We were disappointed in Debenhams, so we went wandering. We were on our way to Primark when we passed The Perfume Store in the Clarendon Centre and I suggested we give it a whirl. It looked like a cheap discount outlet with sales clerks who knew nothing about the product. She shrugged and we went in.

We couldn't have been more wrong about the sales clerk - perfume, heartnotes, basenotes were clearly her passion. She made it her mission to move Mazz from her single-minded pursuit of Dior. When Mazz demurred, she said, "Ah, I thought the same - until I tried..." She took bottles off right, left and centre, trying to find ones Mazz would like. She hit it right on the nose with some, less with others; Mazz finally settled on one of her usual faves: Armani Code.

Then it was my turn. *I* wanted to see if I could move from CK Obsession - or at least have another choice. Again, she sprayed several, some of which were options, including Armani Code. "You'll love the Gucci," she said. Finally, as she rang up Mazz's purchase, she was by the Gucci and sprayed it on a card.

Mazz loved it; I was less sure, so she sprayed it on both our skins. On Mazz, it smelled like soap. On me...

OMG. Sharp at the top, then settled into the lovely smell of fruit stew wafting through the house, with a lilac bouquet undertone. Slowly, amber and patchouli (though not as strong as I'd like) bubbled up from the bottom.

It smelt like a rich sunset. I'm still a nighttime girl, but this is gorgeous. There's a great review of it here.

Mazz wouldn't stop sniffing my arm, saying, "This just makes me want to hug you all day." Considering that neither one of us would kick Chris Evans (the seriously hot American actor, not the Brit git) out of our bed for eating Death by Chocolate, that's saying something.

Then she said something that made me think: "I can smell the Obsession on you, but I can't keep smelling it. It's sharp. This [Gucci Guilty] is so you. I can just keep smelling it all the time."

"Sharp?" With an implied 'hard' and an explicit 'edge'? Hmmm. That was very much how I wanted to project myself - not to be messed with, dark, with an edge. Wearing a scent that projected such an image was, in part, intended to do what wearing baggy clothes does for me: warn you that if you can't get past the packaging, you don't get to find out what's inside. Move on. Don't waste my time; don't ask me for anything; do NOT touch me.

Gucci Guilty smells, as 'The Scented Salamander' says, of a cornucopia - the gift of the Mother. It is a generous, warm, inviting scent of fruit with a hint of naughtiness in the amber and patchouli foundation. It says, 'Come closer, touch, nestle,' whereas Obsession says, 'Go on, I DARE you.'

It's not an either/or for me; it's a both/and. Beneath the prickliness and the edge, you find the nurturing and warmth - and beneath the nurturing, well, I'll leave you to guess at what you might find - hinted at by Guilty's touch of overripe blossom and the strengthening patchouli about 3 hours in.

I'll always be an Obsession girl.

But for now, I give in to sin...

...because you have to make this life livable.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would never regard you as fat. Nor ugly - actually, you are beautiful and I think most of your friends and acquaintances would agree that you attract people a lot - it's not just your personality, though, it's your whole persona, which includes looks.

As far as scents and perfumes go, I found what you wrote interesting. I have so much trouble with allergies that I could never risk trying out scents in the way you describe, but your visit to the store did make me wonder what I'm missing out on!!!