Perfume Skank Shame – Bal a Versailles Walk of Shame

Bal a Versailles

Hello to all of my lovely Posse peeps, lovers of all things smelly from cat pee to crypts through to  schwetty ass. How glad I am to have you! Most especially glad when I have had had close encounters with Those Who Do Not Understand as I did this week. Allow me to set the scene for you: a stormy Tuesday morning in the Home Counties of England. I have to drop my daughters off at their respective schools – the older to her Reception class and the younger to preschool- and then run back to the first school for a Parents’ association meeting. The alarm fails to go off (which you can read as husband hit ‘off’ instead of ‘snooze’) leaving us with 30 minutes from consciousness to the school gate. It is only a 10 minute drive but the parking is AWFUL, especially in torrential rain when everyone drives.  In my haste to get dressed, I just grab the nearest decant and give myself a healthy blast, sort of like perfumista Dutch courage. Grab children, get them in car, buckle up and we are off! Miraculously, the traffic gods smile on me and I hit all green lights. Clearly, the gods thought I have had my fill of luck because the only parking space I could find was 2 streets away and I had 3 minutes to get to the gate. So, of course, we run- wearing waterproof jackets that reckon themselves breathable. Daughter 1 safely delivered, Daughter 2 and I set off for her school, only to find ourselves stuck in traffic due to a collision up ahead. Consequently, we pull up at her school just in the nick of time and I run her in, and then run back to my car to get back to the first school in time for the meeting. Bypassing the collision traffic on the way back, I manage to get a reasonable parking space and, for the third time that morning, sprint for the door. I make it in time and, as you can imagine, I am feeling hot and flushed from all of the rushing around. So, I whisk off the jacket and and slide into a chair…..

And for the first time that morning have a chance to really register what fragrance I am wearing as it billows out in a cloud from inside my jacket and off of my flushed skin…Bal a Versailles. To my nose, it is a sultry, spicy scent so I figure I am okay – no perfumed sex here, thank goodness. I focus on what is being discussed but soon become aware that the women on both sides of me have discreetly moved their chairs away a bit. I tune out the meeting and tune into the people around me and notice several people sniffing the air suspiciously. Uh-oh. Two mums are whispering to each other and then look at me. This is not good. I try to surreptitiously sniff my shirt and find the same sultry spice that I always find with Bal a Versailles. What is going on? The meeting finally, mercifully, ends and the room clears out quickly. My good friend who was sitting across the room from me comes across to say hello and slows her approach at about 4 feet away, face wrinkled in confusion. ‘What’s wrong?’ I ask. ‘Can you smell that raunchy smell? Who didn’t shower? Oh my god, it’s you!’, she says, coming closer and sniffing. ‘You smell like you have just been shagged rotten! Oh no – Is that why you were late and all flushed?’ I am horrified. Horrified. My innocent rushing of the morning, due to no alarm, torrential rain and traffic, has left me looking like I just rolled off my husband and then driven to a Parents Association meeting! And, as if it get could get worse, I cannot even explain that it was my perfume because who, besides us ‘fumies, would understand why a person would deliberately want to smell postcoital?

Clearly, what smelled okay to me on my skin smelled like something VERY different to others who smelled Bal a Versailles on me. Has this ever happened to you? Or have you had a similar horror story of the absolute wrong fragrance for a certain occasion? Please share them if you do – I don’t want to be the only one! Also, suggestions for scents of innocence and moral uprightness welcomed as I think I need to do a lot of damage control on this one.

  • Kismet says:

    Late to this party, but must comment that your very funny post gave me a smile! I was recently in a similar situation where a lovely co-worker gifted me with bottle of Chanel Cristalle EDP and in my enthusiasm I spritzed with a little too much abandon. Bit much for the office, let’s just say.

    Gotta love that BaV. Agree with the other commenters about the power of the “Monroe Response.” As in Marilyn circa Seven-Year Itch. “Oh, my goodness! It was nothing like that.” All innocence–then walk away.

  • I laughed out loud at the great post, thank you, and so wish I could get away with “shagged rotten” and “rumpy pumpy” here in the U.S. So great. Completely agree with Tom, Denyse, Noz Noz et all about the sly wink. Go you.

  • Disteza says:

    Your post = straight up fantastic! I have a mini of BaV parfum, and I wish I got skank like that out of it. I’m the skank-eater though, so all’s I get are some spicy citrus and a really spiky LotV note. Like ice-pick-to-the-brain spiky.

    My favorite skanky misadventure involves the Marquis de Sade 1740 from Histoires des Parfums. I wore that to a day-long hiring and firing how-to seminar, except it was July, and there was little AC in our DC-area office. People kept on giving me the “I think you’ve stepped in poo” face. The smell, it was THICK. I was never so happy to go home and shower.

    • FragrantWitch says:

      Thanks Disteza!
      I can just imagine the ‘thickness’- Lordy. And ,all day is quite a trial though Histoires des Perfumes might be pleased to hear of de Sade’s longevity. (Wait, I’ve just read that back and it sounds like euphemistic porn speak!)
      I bow to your superior suffering :Worship:

  • Cheryl says:

    I laughed throughout this. The reality is so similar to my own. Don’t worry. Like others here, I think you have merely imprinted yourself on their minds as somewhat mysterious/not a zombie cookie cutout (perhaps living a bolder more romantic life). So, perfume has done it’s job! The only issue was you weren’t completely in control of the mission.
    I find this can be the reaction of people when perfume crosses the boundary of being detectable. Detectable is now “intimate”. So, rudeness ensues? I don’t make a big verbal fuss when I’m washed over with the shampoo smells, soap smells and fresh sport smells all dreadfully cheap that others select as their armor.
    Oh well..they’ll get over it. good for you!

    • FragrantWitch says:

      Amen to that, Cheryl! Next time I get a snootful of Light Blue or Eau de Detergent, and it’s flanker Extreme Clean, I should go for full eye-rolling and sneezing. :Wink:
      You do raise a good point though- we are inundated with images of half-naked celebrities and models, sex in adverts, phallic bottles yet Floyd forbid that you smell like any of the things that naked people get up to!

  • Mals86 says:

    “Shagged rotten” is my new favorite phrase. 🙂

    • FragrantWitch says:

      Its a good one, isn’t it? For a nicer turn of phrase, rumpy-pumpy makes me smile every time!

  • Patty White says:

    I aspire to this mishap, really! I realize it’s not for the rest of the world much of the time as they are all bonkers over smelling like Tide. But smelling like you are really living is awesome.

    And really funny. Sorry, I laughed so hard reading this!

    • FragrantWitch says:

      I love the notion of smelling like you are really living! Brilliant.
      And what IS it with Tide? Here, Ariel is the equivalent and it is rampant. And for what it’s worth, I’m certain several of the mums with the raised eyebrows wear lots of Light Blue. My Bal will b*tch slap that into next week! :Who-s-the-man:
      So very pleased to have given you a good laugh!!

  • Ann says:

    Hi, dear M! Sorry, I’m a little behind this week (son’s graduation, end of school stuff, etc.). I felt so badly for you after reading your post, although it was a bit funny (not laughing at you, of course). Those other mums are probably green with envy, as others have said.
    I can’t do cumin, skank, etc., so haven’t had to deal with that, but I do like some MFK Absolue Pour le Soir which can get a little edgy. Anyway, I think you’re handling it with great grace and humor. And it’ll soon be forgotten, and they’ll be talking about something someone else did soon enough.

    • FragrantWitch says:

      Ann, it is funny, I know! It’s funny in that cringe-worthy-glad-it’s-not-me-way. What’s weird is that it didn’t smell the same on me to others as it did to me, if that makes sense. I kinks things smell different on different people but I was surprised by the extent to which my nose differed from theirs!

  • FragrantWitch says:

    Quite right, Poodle! And, of course, THEY are all parents as well. Its a private school so there are several quite wealthy mums there who manage to look down their noses at everyone except each other. They don’t frown though because I suspect they can’t :Happy-Grin:
    So in this instance I am actually glad my friend mentioned it to me as otherwise I would having been wondering it it was my Gap sale outfit or my Marks and Spencer handbag rather than Karen Millen and Mulberry!

  • Poodle says:

    I have no kids so I have no idea how I would feel if other parents were thinking things about where I had just been. I will say though that if you have kids, how do they think you got them in the first place? My feeling is, wear whatever you like and let them think what they want to think. If they are like most of the women at my office then they are reading that ridiculous Shades of Gray trilogy and are so jealous of you right now.

  • Darryl says:

    I’m sorry, but smelling “freshly shagged” at a PTA meeting sounds like an absolute riot to me. (Can you tell I’m not a parent?) Really, though: Bal is a classic, fairly well-known French perfume, not some niche art-student concept scent meant to smell like dirty knickers and rotting flesh. It’s not like you intended to shock. Wear something elegant and mannered next time as penance if you must, but I don’t think you have anything to be horrified about. We’ve all committed similar sins. (Angel at the office! Indolic jasmine at a funeral! You know who you are.)

    • FragrantWitch says:

      I can totally see the funny side, just not sure how others will take it and whether it gets to my girls. Speaking of Angel , there is a mum at the school who wears enough Angel to stun a rhino – I can smell her coming from around the corner. :Amazed: When I politely inquired if she was wearing Angel, she replied ‘Yes, How did you know? I only had time for FOUR sprays this morning and I can’t even smell it anymore!’ I managed not to say,’ Of course you can’t, your nose has shut down in self-defense!’

  • Naie says:

    That’s a recommendation for BaV if I ever heard one. I’ve got to try that next time I’m at Nordie’s =)

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    Lately, I’ve really taken to wearing Bal in EDP form. In the EDT and extract version, all I get is a whopping dose of patchouli once in a great while the floral aspect peaks out. In the EDP version, I get lots of flowers. I wouldn’t call the EDP version skanky or animalistic but I’d call it sensual. I’m always amazed about different concentrations of the same perfume can be so different. I think that perfumer make those to emphisize (sp?) different notes.

    • FragrantWitch says:

      I am not actually sure which mine is, as I received it in a swap but I am guessing the EDP. The differences in concentration always amaze me as well.

  • Tom says:

    Yes, it has happened to me. The last time was a couple of months ago when I was wearing MKK and had a bit of a run around too.

    But you know what? I don’t give a damn. First off it’s incredibly bad manners to comment on that sort of thing. I was taught commenting on something that can’t be immediately taken care of is rude: a discrete mention of lipstick on your teeth is okay since it can be fixed right then and there. Uneven teeth can’t so nice people simply don’t comment. Your “good friend” is the one who should be ashamed.

    I would have answered her by a sly smile and a glance at my watch, saying I had to be home in 15 minutes for round two.

    • Absolutely seconding Tom and Nozknoz here! Don’t feel bad about this: a mother of two who gives off the “I’ve just been loved” waft in the morning? Very glamorous, and enviable.

      • FragrantWitch says:

        Thank you both for the lovely comments! I think your policy is a good one, Tom, kind of along the lines of ‘if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all’. Like I’ve said above, I am okay with it for me but don’t want my daughters catching my flak. I do like your sly smile suggestion though as I seriously doubt this will be the last time my perfume offends someone!

        Carmencanada, I wish I’d felt glamourous at the time! But you are right, if I can squeeze some love in in the morning before getting two children to school, people should be asking me for tips!

  • Musette says:

    OMG! I am late to class today, obviously 😀 But I’m SO glad I got here in time to spit myself crazy laughing!!!

    GREAT post!!!

    xo :Devil:

  • nozknoz says:

    Yes, Meredith, you are among friends where “You smell like you’ve just been shagged! is a five-star perfume review.

    I’d recommend Chanel No. 19 for future meetings. But don’t be too embarrassed: they are all undoubtedly green with envy and dying to know your secret for keeping the home fires lit. 😉

    • FragrantWitch says:

      Thank goodness for friends, nozknoz! I do hope they are green with envy rather than scarlet with laughter. I have actually been wearing my sample of No.19 Poudre lately so we’re on the same page.

  • Kay says:

    Yes, may years ago I was in a life drawing class and a lady in the class who I really didn’t know at all, who considered herself the class clown, started walking around the students posted at their easels, saying “Whats that smell, its in this room, I don’t know what it is, its really bad, its over here,can’t you smell it … oh” as she walked up to me and stopped. I was speechless. I was wearing YSL Paris. She turned around and walked back to her easel and got to work without saying another word.

    • Jillie says:

      Kay, what a rude person! How could anyone say that Paris smelt BAD?! Roses and violet – bad?? Perhaps she had a weird sense of smell. Hope it didn’t put you off wearing it.

    • FragrantWitch says:

      I agrre with Jillie, how rude! I would have layered it with all of the matching body products for the next class and then sat right next to her. :Happy-Grin:

  • Jen says:

    Omg. This is my fear with this, Musc Ravageur, and that totally goat-y Absolue pour Le Soir. Now I’ll be up all night wondering which others are making me That Woman at PTA meetings. 😉

    • FragrantWitch says:

      Seriously! I just think ‘oh well’ as far as what others think but I dont want my daughters catching my flak.
      What do you wear to PTA meetings?

  • DinaC says:

    I feel really terrible for you. It was hilarious (from one point of view), but I felt so badly for you that I never even cracked a smile whilst reading this. Ugh. What rotten luck that BdV was the decant that you happened to grab! I’m a stay-at-home-mom, so my heart really bleeds for you. The diametric opposite, to me, would be something like Prada’s Infusion d’Iris — all prim, dry, cool and office-appropriate. Maybe you could drench yourself in that next time there’s a parents’ meeting.

    My own misadventures in scent have to do with wearing scent that makes other people sneeze in choir. The gal who used to sit next to me moved because I’m pretty sure she couldn’t stand any scents. That’s okay. She’s still a friend. No harm done.

    • FragrantWitch says:

      Aw, thanks Dina! I actually am not concerned for myself and in fact think ‘Screw ’em’. I am more concerned for my daughters as I know kids have big ears when parents are talking and big mouths about what they hear – I don’t want my daughter coming home telling me her classmates said I smell! Hopefully that wont come to pass and, if it does, my daughters know that I love perfume so I will take them both straight to the BaV and let them sniff, explaining that is what the other mummies were talking about and that everyone has their own taste in fragrance.
      I’m curious now about what scents make your choir sneeze?