Aftelier Tango

March is away today, so we swapped places, but I am wearing one of the aprons she recommended, so just pretend I look like her, but she might be horrified at what I did to her slot today.

Back when I was a kid, my sister and I would play Barbies all the time. You’ve heard some of my Barbie stories, and much as I hate to beat a plastic doll and lead you to believe that I spent all of my childhood with the barbies, too many of my critical life lessons were with my Barbies by my side to ignore that I did spend a lot of my childhood with my barbies by my side.

We didn’t have a boy doll – normally named Ken – and he didn’t look that interested in Barbie anyway, so we made our own boy by cutting off the hair into a Beatles bob and smooshing the boobage down and drawing a pair of glasses on him/her with a blue ink pen.  Yeah, that’s right, he was totally hot. Well, as all things go when you are pre-pubescent, the Barbies would inevitably go out on a date with the boy-ish Barbie, they’d make out, us moving their heads back and forth and making all the appropriate mm-mmm sounds.  Before you knew it, their little homemade clothes were off and they were rubbing all up on each other.

Things got much worse, though. We had some rectangular wire hanger things, and we went out on the porch and used clothespins to pin them together until we had a fairly spectacular Barbie flying trapeze. We’d change their little homemade clothes into the two strips of cloth that were tied around them to be their circus bikini, bling not included, and “Ken-kinda” would be the tosser and flip them around on the trapeze. Of course, we were doing all of their moving, flipping them through the air at each other — there were a number of horrible accidents at the barbie circus — but it was quite a show… until the Barbies would get into a bitch-fight over who Ken-kinda lused  for most.  Then one of the Barbies would back Ken up on the trapeze and start coming on to him to show the other Barbies what was what, and before you know it, they were hanging upside down rubbing up on each other.  Trapeze Barbie booty call.

From Aftelier Tango’s promotional blurb:  “by the dance of love, sexy and smoky with roasted seashells and champaca; a heady floral with spice and honey notes.” This starts off pungent, slightly sharp, and this rubbery smell shows up, smoky rubber, almost a little Nostalgia’ish, but veers off into a floral’ish rubber. Tuberose responsible for that rubber?  Not sure.  Then it drifts along as this slightly freaky thing that I keep sniffing. 

And then it hits me: This is what Trapeze Barbie booty call would smell like. Ken-kinda and Barbie all rubber-sweaty from their exertions, but there is not really a funky smell, just roasted and odd, like something a little rubbery and/or plastic just tore it up. Is that a bad thing? Frankly, no.  I’m fascinated by this thing, just trying to figure out what is the roasted seashell smell in there.  It’s vaguely sexless, while not being unsexy. Am I going to wear it? Only when I want to sniff odd things that fascinate me, which happens more days than I care to admit to. 

Recommended sniff for:  Experienced perfumistas looking for their next freaky thrill.

Give-away for today, but I probably won’t have it for another week, a set of three samples of the new Roja Dove perfumes.  No idea what they smell like, I have a list of notes, so it could be great or a disappointment for the lucky recipient. Just leave a comment here and I’ll put you in the drawing!

  • Sarah says:

    Please enter me in the drawing!

    Funny, I now remember how happy my sister and I were the day our older cousing finally stopped playing with Barbies and gave us her Ken…our “stories” got much more interesting after that. I think that’s also when we started fighting more…hehe.

  • pat boutilier says:

    Please, please put me in the drawing!

    Trapeze-artist Barbie, who knew?


  • Carol says:

    This was hysterical as were the Barbie-related comments. Sent multiple clips to one of my sisters who asked me to stop so she wouldn’t wet her pants laughing at work. We were no where near as creative.:(

  • Susan says:

    What a fun trip down memory lane!

    Beleive I’m older than most of you perfumistas (sp).
    I had the auburn-haired bubble cut Barbie & her brunette-flip friend Midge. This was long before the days of Barbie convertibles & dream houses – before “theme Barbies” – when she was still just a fashion doll. In those days, the pattern companies produced dressmaker patterns for Barbie’s wardrobe – and my mother who was very creative(& must have had excellent eyesight!) spent hours sewing for Barbie.

    Confession time: I still have Barbie, Midge, & their wardrobe packed away. Makes me want to dress them for autumn!

    • Patty says:

      I remember Midge! We had one of those too, but not the bubble cut barbie. Ours were a lot less glamorous than they became.

      your mother is a saint for sewing those! We could actually sew, along with my mom, and she made us one outfit and said never again, those teensy clothes were killing her. 🙂

  • Theresa says:

    What a fun, off-beat post. It sounds a little too strange for me but please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!

  • Lucy says:

    Wow, loved this story. The thing I liked most about the Barbies were the high heeled shoes (and the shaped feet, fascinating!) and the hair. I remember somehow I saved up and got a wig for her and that was really identity shifting and peculiar. I remember I also did a very bad thing and cut into my mother’s clothes on the sly to get little bits of cloth to fashion Barbie’s accoutrements. I denied everything, but of course they knew, it had to be me who took little squares out of the back of each dress…but I had no remorse…I tried Tango and it seems too rich for Barbies but your Barbie play seems to have had much more physicality than mine. Tango has an almost newly lit cigarette scent for me, with kind of a brandied sweetness after awhile on my skin, so as usual I have the high keyed sweetness issue to deal with…

    • Patty says:

      Sweet, Tango? Wow, you do have some sweet amplifying skin. Other than a really roasted begining that had some mild sweetness to it, I got non of that.

      You cut out of the back of the dress?!?! Hahahahahaha!

  • Maria says:

    No Barbies here. I haven’t tried Tango either. As for Nostalgia, I’m eagerly awaiting the club discussion. I wonder if Louise had a similar outcome. But I’m not telling what it is yet. :d

  • Linda says:

    Delightful post! I have to confess to having a similar Barbie experience, although I did have GI Joe and Stretch Armstrong to populate the imaginary manscape…

    Oh, me, me! I want to be a guinea pig!

    • Patty says:

      Stretch Armstrong would have been very handy during trapeze play. 🙂

      • Lee says:

        A little buddy of mine had Stretch Armstrong – he was king of kink I seem to recall.

        Now, I was sexually precocious. My muum was called in to school when I was 8 cos I kept drawing giant naked women with big boobies marching into a Western town.

        Gawd only knows what that was all about. I love to imagine they were masterpieces, but I bet it was difficult to make out the horses and the saloon, and even harder to distinguish nipples from wonky eyes…

  • bluechile (Cathy) says:

    I wasn’t allowed to have a Barbie – according to mom, Barbie was too “mature” (too much boobage) – so I had Skipper instead. Poor Skipper always ended up at the hostage when my 3 brothers played GI Joe…..

    Tango sounds like it’s worth a try, and please enter me in the drawing.

    • Patty says:

      We had skipper, too, but we didn’t think she liked boys that much. Did you ever see Penny? She was younger, but was about the same actual size as the barbies, she she was the friend they were always being mean girls to.

  • Divalano says:

    Patty & Lee, I so wish I could have played Barbies with you both!! I find it fascinating how often I hear women (& guys now, too. yay!) talking about enacting their sexual & social rebellions out through their Barbies as children. My Barbies had no boy dolls, nor did I ever think of role playing any (wow, gender fluidity in the doll set!) but they did run away from home, seduce the Beatles, & get sent to reform school. My Barbie was also an Amazon warrior who captured & enslaved the Skipper & Dodi dolls, ruling as a warrior Queen. Those girls knew how to have fun! 😉

    Tango is on my short list to try. I hope it doesn’t go to the rubbery Nostalgia place for me … some week I’ll have time & will trot up to Bendel’s to investigate. And sure, enter me in the drawing, thanks 🙂

    • Patty says:

      I think you might not have been as sexually precocious. Take that as a good thing. 🙂

      Now, why does everything think rubbery Nostalgia is a bad thing? It’s one of my favorite weird scents.

      • Divalano says:

        I dunno, I’m not sure that the physical lack of boys meant it wasn’t sexual – I lived with my mother, we didn’t have a guy in the house. My Barbies were a bit freaky & seemed to have a total disregard for gender roles, sexual or otherwise. And that capturing & enslavement had definite erotic overtones.
        And I’ll give Nostalgia a real try some day. I’ve only ever smelled it in bottle. How do you think it’d go with a latex dress?? 😕

  • Heather says:

    Ooh, I’ve been wanting to try those – can you enter me into the drawing? A sample of Tango is winging its way to me currently, can’t wait. I don’t recall my sister and I ever doing anything particularly inventive with out barbies, but our barbies did have by far the best wardrobe of any barbie I knew. We lived in Korea for a while when I was a kid and my parents used to buy us black market barbie clothes from a little man on the street corner. He had a much better inventory than I found in any US store when we came back!

    • Patty says:

      Absolutely, Heather!

      OMG, I am so jealous of those barbie clothes! We had like two outfits besides the outfit they came with. It was sad!

  • SMY says:

    Great story! Ken-kinda sounds like a Transgender Ken ahead of his/her time!

    • Patty says:

      That is a true fact! It’s a good thing we didn’t have two kinda boy dolls. 🙂 There would have been all sorts of multiples with them and the slutty barbies.

  • Jen says:

    How did you get the boobies smushed down? They were always hard plastic on my Barbies. Is it weird that I’m wondering this?:-?

  • sybil says:

    Hmmmm. I’m not sure I’m ready for the Tango, but I’m up for trying the Roja Doves. You were much more creative w/ your Barbies than my sisters and I were. Although 1 of ours did get a butch haircut, and we pierced their ears w/ pins…

    • Patty says:

      Oh, yeah, we did pierce their ears with pins! Boredom, I tell ya. We only had three channels of Teevee, which my dad wouldn’t let us watch but maybe 1.5 hours a day max (one soap opera and bonanaza, red skelton, Gunsmoke, Lawrence Welk or Hee-Haw), so even though we had our little butts worked off, we still had a lot of down time to fill in the winter.

  • Christine says:

    Oh I think March would fully approve of what you’ve done with her normal slot. And a Ken-kinda and Barbie makeout fest? Fantastic. We used to do the same thing with our Barbies only we had a boy doll from some other toy set (stuffed, but not much larger than Barbie…we called him “Blue Boy”. You’d think we could have given him a name.) Barbie had many an unexpected pregnancy.

    And do sign me up for the drawing. Thanks!

    • Patty says:

      Blue boy? We used to that a print of that painting up in one of those rounded picture frames in the house. It still remains one of my favorite paintings for sentimental reasons.

      Was you blue boy related to the painting, or some random blue little boy?

      how did the children turn out?

  • Billy says:

    As a little gay boy, I did in fact finally convince my mom to get me one Barbie when I was ten years old. Once I had her though, I was less interested. I think it was around that time that I discovered my mom’s OUT magazines and the pictures of shirtless men did something else to me entirely. However, I still remember exactly how that first Barbie smelled and how my best friend’s huge BIN of barbies smelled.

    Not sure I’m that interested in smelling like one, but a roasted seashell–that I would love. Wouldn’t it smell something like salt and smoke?

    • Patty says:

      It definitely has the smoke, and maybe a little salt. I get more of a saltish bitter tang in the open.

      Barbies have a completely unique smell, down to their plastic hair.

  • donanicola says:

    After Marina reviewed it recently I was very intrigued so ordered a sample of the Ken’n’Barbie rubber trapeze fest and now you’ve made me even more curious, thanks Patty! Well post permitting ……(we now have wild cat strikes here on top of the official ones. I’m not amused.)I’ll sniff it soon. As Silvia said we did get to try the 3 RDs and I think it was “Unspoken”, the chypre, which disappeared quickly and disappointingly. All 3 were lovely though. Scandal was the white flowers one and Enslaved the oriental one – quite heavy on the amber if I remember right. But it’s also true that our heads were quite turned by the tres exclusive ones!

  • Diana says:

    Wow, am I glad my Barbies weren’t the only ones getting their freak on! I have one a little creepier… I had a set of Donnie and Marie Osmond dolls, and I never quite grasped that they were brother and sister… but then again, maybe they didn’t either?

    • Patty says:

      Donnie and Marie@?!?!?! OH, now I’m super-jealous. I wanted those sooooo bad, but they came out when I was a little too old for them, dagnabit!

  • AnnE says:

    Patty, your Barbie games were much more exciting than mine, which were usually re-hashes of whatever domestic crisis was going on at home. Snooze….
    Your kinda-Ken was a stroke of genius – I didn’t have a Ken either, but I may have stolen my brother’s GI Joe from time to time. :d
    I’m dying to try the Roja Dove frags – please sign me up!

    • Patty says:

      Ah, our domestic crises were more farm related and not very interesting, just whether wheat/cattle/corn prices were up or down, so we had Big City Barbie all tarted up and slutting around.

      She was a torch singer too, if I recall correctly.

  • Silvia says:

    Roasted seashell…me thinks hungry more than sexy :d, would love to get my hands on some though. On the list it goes !

    Donanicola and I smelled the 3 new Roja Doves at Harrods before their official release. Names aside, they were good (not as good as the uber exclusive line we also got to try). Can’t remember which one we tested on our skin but, it vanished on both of us after a couple of hours.

    I’d love to be in the draw, please !

    • Patty says:

      You two are killing me talking about those other Rojas. 🙂 So Lee has a mission now…

      Are they really about 1,000 pounds per bottle? Or is that just a misunderstanding. 🙂

  • Freaky Judith says:

    Ok, that did it! Now I MUST try Tango. Like some others here (seeing them reassured me) I didn’t play with Barbies (though i did make up some stories–less exciting, I’m afraid, about other dolls), but I just loved your story, and find your description of tango (as you could probably guess) VERY enticing. I also would love to try the Roja Dove’s, so please enter me in the drawing. PS Did you mean to say “I DON’T have a list of notes”?

    • Patty says:

      Heh. 🙂

      I DO have a list of notes for all three from some MUA reviews that went up, but I don’t know how they really go together, except one sounds like a pretty great incense. Enslaved maybe? Have to go look again.

  • Alica says:

    Hallo Patty and thank you for entering me in the drawing!

  • Anne says:

    😕 Coincidence? Barbies 24 Hour Bail Bonds? Will the story continue with a visit from the Barbie police? Half naked plastic bodies, trapezes and LOTS of mmmmmm sounds. The police had to show up sooner than later. Sign me up cuz’ I need a freaky thrill too!

  • Elle says:

    I was clearly a boring child. Where was my imagination?! I actually was not much of a doll person, so I’m using that as my excuse. But I *do* love freaky thrills in fragrance and I can’t wait to try Tango! I can see myself falling hard for its funkiness.

    • Patty says:

      I am still trying to figure out if you’ll love Tango or not. It’s not love for me, not in the same way I loooooove stuff like Iris Silver Mist, more like fascination.

  • chayaruchama says:

    What took you so long ?

    I’ve been in love with Tango for over 6 months; until recently, it seemed like no one else loved it except for Ayala.
    Worth every penny- seductive, smoky, quirky, one-of-a-kind.
    And it was a bitch to perfect- it caused Mandy a LOT of trouble .

    Barbie and I weren’t friends, alas.
    I played with Raggedy Ann, and cut her bangs to match my own, after I got hold of scissors…BAD IDEA, for both of us.

    Love you !
    I always was an odd one.

  • Divina says:

    Oh my goodness! Makeshift Ken’s hotness had me in stitches! Thank you SO much for the laughs, I really needed it today!! Awesome, just awesome.

  • Suzanne says:


    OK, I’m gettin’ skeered by people’s Barbie stories. My Barbies were so normal. They mainly wanted to cruise around in their pink convertible Corvette and go shopping. Or take road trips in Barbie’s country camper. To the best of my knowledge, nothing freaky ever took place in that camper. (Which is too bad. That was a rockin’ camper, come to think of it. But apparently my Barbies weren’t as, umm, imaginative as yours.)

    • Patty says:

      Oh, how I wanted those Barbie extras!!! When my niece got the great big Barbie dollhouse, I had to go down and just stare at it forever. Beeeyoootiful.

  • MattS says:

    Fantastic story; childhood is great. I too used to do Very Bad Things with my sisters Barbies. I liked to dress Barbie up in a pair of Skipper’s stretch pants that were four sizes too small and use a rubber band as her tube top, so Barbie could work the streets of town with a style all her own. Skipper makes a great guy too. With a good haircut and a chest that’s a little more androgynous, s/he’s ready to role play. Thanks for sharing a great memory. Tango sounds great too.

    • Silvia says:

      I had a Skipper with growing boobs: you turned the arm and up they went. Perfect for the job !

    • Patty says:

      Great Barbie story! We just didn’t have enough exposure in our little Bonanza world to the hooker thing, but they often played Miss Kitty, who was the hooker for beginners.

      • MattS says:

        Wow. Barbies, Lawrence Welk, and Hee Haw. Throw in the Muppet Show and, I swear, we may have had the same childhood.

  • Lee says:

    My sister had a Cindy, which I think was a British faux Barbie. I had an action man – he had a scar on his face and ‘action eyes’ ™. I’d swap their heads and set them up in kinky positions in mysister’s bedroom so that she’d go wailing to mum…

    I guess I’d like Tango.

  • Guus says:

    LOVED your Ken & Barbie story, Patty. So hot yet hilarious! Great how you mixed that fragrance up with a childhood memory. 🙂

    • Patty says:

      I smelled my Barbies a lot. 🙂 They went to bed with me, along with all of my stuffed animals. Weird how scent can make the most bizarre leaps.

  • Louise says:

    Patty-this is so freakishly twisted-stunning portrait of childhood, er, creativity. I never could get into Barbie or any other dolls, still can’t-they frighten me something fierce. They seem just like spooky shrunken corpses to me. Who’s freaky here? Give me a nice truck or choo-choo to play with anytime.

    This dolly phobia posed some problems when my son was little, and liked his Barbies and other dolls very much. He of course wanted me to play with him, so I did a bad-mommy trick. I set the kitchen timer (for at most 5 minutes)so I could get away for “important” domestic chores after a bit of joint play. Mommy had to go then. Later, when he and his best girlfriend got into Barbie decapitation and other mutilation and torture, I secretely rejoiced. Am I very sick?

    After a long summer of sampling many, many perfumes, I must confess pretty is appealing to me now. Scents of rubbing faux-skinned eroticism aside, I am leaning toward some nice Blue Amber and incense right now.

    • Patty says:

      No, not at all. Our Barbies had some rather nasty accidents, usually at the hands of one of the other Barbies, and then “Detective Ken-kinda” showed up at the door… We think my sister and I were just acting out our agression towards each other since we were about a year apart and got on most of the time really well, but living that close, sharing a room, and being that close in age posed some challenges in not beating the crap out of each other.

      Nice perfumes that smell great get too short of shrift sometimes, and I always have to remember that.

  • Gaia says:

    Sometimes I get so caught up in these perfume freaky thrills till it becomes hard to go back to that basic question: Does it smell good on me? (I guess that’s another reason to keep a husband around).

    • Patty says:

      Yeah, exactly! I try to keep in mind that we have a LOT of very quiet readers — thousands — that are in varying stages on their perfume journey.

      I wish they would comment more! 🙂

  • Kim says:

    Gee, and I always thought Barbies were boring?!

    • Patty says:

      Boring?!? Perish the thought! I think the less extras you hve — the dollhouse, car, clothes — the more creative play with Barbies becomes. My niece had all of that stuff, and she kept her barbies pristine and played with them more normally.

  • tmp00 says:

    Well, I always ready for my next freaky thrill.

    Olfactorally, mind you. My inner freak flag is buttoned up in Brooks Brothers and cashmere. Which I suppose is my wont: despite the 90210 zip code I am a flinty New Englander.

    Of course I smell faaaaaabulous! :d

    • Patty says:

      Has Marina let her beloved out of her clutches so you can smell it? It’s a weird one, and I can’t quite decide if it’s really me. I’m thinking not in the least, but I can’t really explain my weird fascination with it.

  • Joan says:

    Enslaved, Scandal & Unspoken, What’s not to like? Do put me in the drawing, Patty – I’m craving an overdose of vanilla and tonka bean – Thank you so much!!