I was tooling along to work, dodging the idiot drivers, thinking about how I was going to get the sales pitch done before everyone got on the plane to Orlando. My mind was bouncing around all over the place. I had the windows down, taking in the spring air. I thought: why doesn’t someone bottle that? I thought, this is the problem with “flower” fragrances, they don’t smell like the actual flower. I thought of roses, and how a couple of my favorite scents were ruined for me when Luca Turin pointed out their rosy component in The Guide, and after that all I could smell was the rose. (No, I won’t subject you to that.) Then I thought: man, what I need right now is my vintage bottle of YSL Paris.
No, seriously. I spent thirty seconds considering whether I had time to turn my car around, go home, and put on some Paris before I came to my senses. (Nobody wants to smell that at work. I’m two-thirds of the way to the office.) But I wanted Paris like stoned people say, hey, I could really go for a pepperoni pizza right now.
No, Paris doesn’t smell rosy to me, I don’t care what anyone says. Paris smells like 1983, and all that implies (cigarettes, big shoulder pads, The Talking Heads), and it makes me smile. More to the point, though: is perfume-craving the true sign of a fragrance addict? This is hardly the first time this has happened to me. I’ll be out somewhere, far so far from home, and I’ll get a sudden, inexplicable hankering for Lutens’ El Attarine, or L’Artisan Mure et Musc, or Goutal Mandragore, or … it doesn’t really matter what. You think normal people would be baffled by this phenomenon? It’s an urge I can’t begin to think myself around, like wanting raw steak when I was pregnant and anemic for the first time in my life.
So I’m wearing Paris right now. It’s 77 degrees and our allergies are killing us so I won’t open any windows, and I just cooked fried rice for dinner and I don’t care, Paris is perfect for all that. Paris is perfect for just this minute in my life. It’s probably some sort of allergic reaction to wearing a tasteful office-friendly scent (Chanel No. 19 Poudre) to work for a month.
What about you? Do you ever get a sudden, inexplicable craving for a particular scent? Which one(s)? What do you do then?
PS I’ve been savoring Alyssa Harad’s Coming to My Senses, partly because (full disclosure) the Posse’s in there, along with Now Smell This, Bois de Jasmin, Perfume-Smellin’ Things, and a whole lot more. It’s always fun to read someone else’s take on you, and I laughed all the way through the confessional part where Alyssa, having secretly fallen in love with fragrance, was worried her fellow learned academics were going to pull her Birkenstock card. Definitely worth a read. Update: forgot to note that our own darling Francesca did the book design (small world!) and as she says in comments, it’s not coming out for a few months, I got an advance copy.