Dormouse who is Way Smarter Than Me

Torpor.  I haz it.

from (yeah, the go-to authority)





sluggish inactivity or inertia.

lethargic indifference; apathy.

a state of suspended physical powers and activities.

dormancy, as of a hibernating animal.
1600–10;  < Latin:  numbness, equivalent to torp ( ?re ) to be stiff or numb + -or -or1
2. stolidity, listlessness, lethargy. 4. sleepiness, slumber, drowsiness. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.


Well,  and truer words have never been written.  I do not have SAD – I couldn’t care less about the sun (well that’s a lie but let me roll here, okay?).  I’m not a person who benefits from one of those lights – what happens to me, every. stinkin. winter.  Is. Torpor.  My blood congeals, my spinal fluid gets all crackly and I spend a lot of time just….frozen.  Not depressed.  Frozen.  Weird, huh?  It can take me 5-10 minutes to get out of bed to pee because I can’t conceive of actually moving!   Please, PLEASE tell me I’m not the only one.  Please.    Funny how torpor doesn’t have the same cachet of its temperate sister, languor.  Perhaps it’s the absence of the gin and tonic with the chaise longue and the umbrella….and the increase in fleece.  Whatever, it’s not nearly as fabulous!

So…now that we’ve got that out in the open, let me tell you what I’ve been doing to combat torpor.  Yoga, of course.  And thank Floyd for Nina and the crew – this post kept me from ripping a freight dispatcher’s face right off his head!  But when I’m not running amok I find myself, not in depression, in that emotional way – this is largely physical.  I just….do you know, I can just sit there, like a meatloaf.  For a long time.  Or the Tin Man in the snow (except I can’t even imagine how cold he must’ve been.  All that metal.  Getting colder.  And colder.  brrr).

Understanding that (finally!) I am making some adjustments in my day since torpor, no matter how ‘natural’ it is, doesn’t fly in the workaday world.  So the yoga, for sure!!!  Setting the Google alarm to remember to get up and walk around.  To remember to make certain calls (rather than just sitting here, in torpor)…remembering to blink.  Remembering to breathe!  Seriously – the urge to hibernate is just overwhelming.  I rejoined our little gym – but the problem is working up the stones to walk out to the car and drive the 3 blocks to the gym.  Walking on the good days *uh…what good days? LOL!  -15F, gale-force winds, more and more ice…thanks so much, Winter!

Not really whining here (liar) but the interesting thing about torpor is that very lethargy makes choosing perfumes unbelievably difficult.  For me,  it’s different from feeling depressed so cuddly scents aren’t effective.  I can watch TV shows about tv but not actual shows (huh?)  and fuggedabout a movie – I spent 30 minutes of my life flipping through the Netflix queue, unable to even move my head, let alone make a decision; it actually became its own entertainment(not).  So scents have to be very decisive – they mostly have to make the decision for me.  Divas, front and center – if you are a subtle, ladylike scent I’ll see you at the May meeting of the Junior League, okay?  Don’t forget your gloves.  But the scents can’t be too challenging, either, since torpor means I can’t be bothered to be challenged; I’d just as soon wash you off as have to deal with you yelling at me.  I spritzed some Mitsouko and you’dve thought my hair was on fire, I was twisting & hopping around so much.  Ditto the normally gorgeous Diorling.  She hissed at me and Slapped My Face, the shrike!

The best scents for torpor – the ones that can keep me awake but don’t scare me with their teeth?  The Big Whites!  But not just any  BWFs – the buttery ones, like Fracas, are a little too round for me and the oil makes me itchy – what’s working best are the Giant Girls with the pissy attitude (no, not that kind)  Carnal Flower.  Honey, I put on so much Carnal Flower ….it was like..every time I spritzed it, I woke up!  Isn’t that weird?    Tuberose Criminelle is #2 on the list.  Another wakey-wakey!   Not a BW, but a WakeyWakey nonetheless,  is Bas de Soie, with its iridescent-cool metallic base and bloomy hyacinth heart.

These are the scents that are keeping me from falling into shadow, during these frigid days.   You winter-haters:  are you Torpors are SADs?  What are you wearing to help you through it?

  • Diana says:

    I moved to Chicagoland last year from Raleigh. It takes me 20+ minutes to get out of bed in the mornings and its a major effort just to keep my sorry azz awake until 9pm. I’d say this is my idea of hell, but since I hope to escape to warmer climes in the next 5 or so years, I hope its just purgatory. Purgatory ends after a bit of suffering. All the same, I don’t want to do anything AT ALL in this weather other than cuddle with the dogs on the couch or go to bed. Cabochard smells aggressive and energetic to me, but unfortunately even IT doesn’t inspire me to action. Guess we’ll just have to wait for the spring thaw.

  • Nina Z says:

    And I’ve been thinking of a perfume that might help invigorate you. How about Chanel No. 19?

  • SallyM says:

    I am a sort of hybrid SAD-Torpor. Living in Oregon SAD is pretty common – the seemingly endless rain and grey for 5-6 months of the year is enough to drive one to drink. This year however, we’ve had 2 artic blasts, the first of which saw temps plummet to an all time low and our furnace went out for 3 days to boot. Of course it did. I felt like doing a John Cleese on Fawlty Towers and hitting it with a tree limb, screaming “Heat you bastard, heat!” Then this past weekend we had a huge dump of snow and couldn’t get out for 5 days – we live up at 1000 feet. To be quite honest, at this point I didn’t even care. That’s where the Torpor factors in. I literally lived in pajamas and shuffled from bed to couch. Couldn’t be bothered to read. Couldn’t be bothered to even watch movies although we did make some Netflix choices. I found myself just staring at the TV and thinking “who the hell is she? where does he fit into the story? Do I even give a rip?” Thanks be for crock pots, otherwise I would have been quite content to live on bread and jam…

  • Mary K says:

    I am more of a torpor person. I’m in the Midwest and winter has indeed been very long, cold and snowy this year. I get lazy because there isn’t anything I like to do outdoors when it’s below freezing, and although I’m normally a person who really likes clothes of all kinds, I also find I am wearing the same 4-5 pairs of slacks, corduroys or jeans, For a little pick-me-up, I wear any perfume that makes me think of spring or early summer. I just can’t bring out the amber or incense any more.

  • Nina Z says:

    Musette, I’m so glad to hear yoga is still helping you. But in addition to using yoga as a refuge, you can also use it to energize yourself out of a torpor. Moving in and out of a pose with your breath–even just inhaling your arms overhead and exhaling them down again–can liven you up and lift your spirits. Try this with Warrior 1 and 2 (see And if you don’t even feel like standing up, you can practice the Cat-Cow pose on your hands and knees (blanket under your knees). Inhale into Cow and exhale into Cat. Then when you’ve got a bit more energy, move into Downward Dog!

  • AnnieA says:

    Wearing Encens Mythique d’Orient today and feeling as if I am wearing a fur coat, or at the very least a very thick cashmere sweater. Take that, winter!

  • wefadetogray says:

    I love the winter yet this one has been terrible. NYC gets really pretty the first day of snow and then it becomes this slushy, icy, dirty snow hell. I am really into torpor mode every cold winter since I am rather naturally SAD (sounds really sad to say it!). The perfumes that make me happy, that move me and remove me from my inertia have to be Ambre Narguille, Indochine, Frangipani by Ormonde Jayne (as per usual), and Poivre 23. I think. But then again it all depends on the moodiness of the day. Yesterday I wanted chilly woods and I tried on Winter Woods only to discover it didn’t do it for me so I layered some Fille en Aguilles on top for good measure and things got better. If my torpor is depressing me I turn to my beloved classics Santal Majuscule and Santal Blush. I just want a 40 F winter right now. That’s all I ask!!

  • Carol S says:

    Sorry to hear about your frozen-ness dear musette . Apologies in advance for being so pertinent , and not picking on YOU my dear friend…I have a serious complaint tho . You all used to actually review fragrances on this blog . What happened ?
    OK . y’all can hate on me now . But , come ON – review something already , I am counting on you !!!

  • CheninBlanc says:

    I alternate between torpor and SAD – depends on the week and how much sun we’re getting with all the cold. Yoga helps me, too! As long as I can make myself leave the house and go. I almost bailed yesterday but then saw a women struggling with a cane on the way home and was reminded how important it is to stay mobile.

    Hedonist, Ashoka, and Santal Blush are turning out to be my happy scents this winter. Anything with a creamy oriental dry down. All three of these are lovely without requiring much effort or thought.

  • Suzanne says:

    I’m an absolute winter hater, but I do find that watching the winter Olympics is a cure for deep-winter torpor. I’ve been watching it while huddled under down blankets, but after a couple hours, it motivates me to get out from under those blankets and do something physical, some pilates if it’s evening, or a drive to the YMCA for a workout there if it’s day. The beauty of the ski slopes at Sochi does make me feel invigorated, and the commenter above me who mentions Russian leather makes me want to pull out my decant of Chanel Cuir de Russie (though I’ve been wearing Amouage Epic Woman more than anything lately).

    Hope you’re feeling more energized soon, but if not, this winter’s arctic coldness certainly makes a defensible argument for going with the torpor and enjoying it guilt-free. 🙂

    • Musette says:

      I thought Epic would work for me but something in it (maybe the incense) made me feel very sad. It’s more ‘me’ than the Epic but at the end of the day it still got me all :((. I’m walking a very thin line with the scents! Poor things, they’re probably all ‘oh, get the hell OVER it, already’ LOL!


  • Nemo says:

    I recently acquired a bad cold on top of my torpor. Until then, I didn’t realize how much I depended on my perfume and sense of smell in general to wake me up! Not being able to use perfume to help set my mood and get my energy going has really made my life look very washed out 🙁 Plus, not being able to breathe makes exercise a bit harder as well. There have been so many days I’ve wished to be that hibernating dormouse! I am glad you’ve found things to help you function despite the torpor. I totally know what you mean about perfumes that wake you up, and I very much look forward to the day that I can smell again and enjoy being woken up by my perfume!

    • Musette says:

      Here’s wishing you a speedy recovery, Nemo. Lack of smell leaches so much everyday joy, doesn’t it.


    • Ann says:

      Nemo, so sorry to hear this. I was right there with you a week or so ago, so I feel your pain (stuffiness?). But hang in there and hopefully it will pass soon.

  • bevfred says:

    OMG, I so understand what you’re saying. I moved from Toronto to Winnipeg to care for my Mom in the coldest winter in a long time. I got up this morning and put the fireplace on as well as my Lampe Berger. Must have soft, beautiful fragrance. My splurge and favorite right now is Ormonde Jayne Orris Noir. So lovely.

    • Musette says:

      How lovely for your mom – and for you – that you could do this! And I’m sure that Lampe Berger is helping. I need to refill mine! Thanks for the reminder! xoxoxo to you and your mom.

  • Tena says:

    As a Canadian, I had to learn how to deal with winter – Lots of time to get moving in the AM, definitively a rogue vacation day book in Feb and scads of Russian Leather (the parfum, not that impostor hiding in Les Exclusives) The warmth, richness and class in that beautiful scent somehow flow into me, helping me to move my sorry butt t work and to the gym. When it is time to relax, I just inhale the aroma, and enjoy the ME time.

  • poodle says:

    Another hibernator checking in. I get torpor in the winter. I could stay curled up in a ball in bed or on the couch for days. I don’t mind typical winters but these below zero temps and wind chills have just worn me out this year. Not to mention the snow that we are measuring in feet, not inches. Ugh. Enough already. I’m having trouble picking perfumes too! Things I normally like I’m wanting to wash off. I’m glad I’m not the only one. Shalimar and I did not get along yesterday. Maybe I’ll try a BWF today and see if that works better.

    • Musette says:

      If you’ve got Carnal Flower, poodle, try that. There’s something about that medicinal undertone that really does it for me!


  • einsof says:

    “Do I need someone here to scold me or do i need someone who’ll grab and pull me out of four poster, dull torpor- pulling downward.” -Natalie Merchant (10,000 Maniacs) “Like the Weather”

    i lived in minneapolis for years… and every year i would buy a tanning salon membership, set up my studies and do homework in front of the bed (i could never get IN one least my gefilte fish skin fry like a lobster.) i literally needed the light!!

    it’s funny you should post this as a certain PFG sent me a generous sample of Magazine Street from Strange Invisible Perfumes — warmth in a bottle! i wouldn’t say it’s exactly ENERGIZING, but it does radiate a nice cozy vetiver/cream/magnolia all around me.

    i also think Hindu Honeysuckle from Providence Perfume Co, while a cool scent is just so brimming with everything spring and summery.

    Last winter i went NO WHERE without a bit of JoAnne Bassett’s Sensual Embrace.

    since you seem to be tuberose motivated, Anya’s Garden MoonFlower might do the trick?

    now excuse me, i need to head back down to the French Quarter with a spritz…. (i DO believe in PFGs! i DO! i DO!

    • Musette says:

      I LOVE MoonFlower and Hindu Honeysuckle! Thanks for the reminder! If I can drag my po’ self over to the armoire I will dig them out!!!


  • tammy says:

    Torpor is pretty much my normal state of being in the world, but that sort of thing where you actually can just sit/lie there for hours, without a thought to be had and even getting up to pee is too much of a bother must be somewhat similar to the lethargy people get right before they freeze to death.

    In my case, it got worse when we got a down comforter; my God, I could stay under that thing 24/7. And often do. My husband likens it to hibernation.

    Yatagan works well for my hibernating state.

    As do potato chips, Chips Ahoy Chocolate Chunk cookies, and buttered croissants.

    Buttered croissants with a few squares of dark chocolate tucked inside, then gently heated in the microwave.

    Alongside an iced mocha with two extra shots.

    Me, I love winter…..

  • Ann says:

    I hear you, sweetie. Hope things get better for you soon. It would be torpor for me as well (we’re heading into the grip of a mega ice storm now) but I have a young teen live-wire here to keep me hopping. No school for the next two days and then the regularly scheduled winter break kicks in Friday through Tuesday, oh joy! DH is holed up (again) at work in the city for who knows how long. But we’re safe and warm and that’s what really matters. Wearing some Roja Doves today and pulling out some nice ambers and woods to stay warm and cuddly. I’m feeling very thankful to again be able to sniff anything at all. Big hugs to you …

  • rosarita says:

    Oh, that’s it exactly, torpor! Just getting dressed – all those layers – the effort involved in the simplest endeavors…. I plan to try different samples, paint my nails, listen to music, and it is too hard to move. Torpor. I’m not even wishing for spring, just a day above freezing.

    • Musette says:

      Oh, my heart…yes! The simplest endeavors. I have eaten the same lunch for the past 3 weeks (curried collard greens with fish) because a) I have frozen chopped collards b) frozen fish and cubes of last year’s pesto (all of those must be in the kitchen freezer at all times. If I have to go to the garage I’m really all hufty and exhausted 🙁 c) hot curry powder and d) a Dutch oven always on the stove. I can throw all of those ingredients in the pot in the 2 minutes it takes for me to get all the ingredients out of the freezer/cabinet. I tried to make a Reuben a few days ago and burned it because torpor 😀 I just..I dunno…..

      so on the plus side, I’m probably at my healthiest, with all that fiber, turmeric and Vitamin K! On the negative? Torpor.


  • Laurels says:

    Torpor it is, although if I’m in Southern California, can I blame it on the weather? I think it’s actually poor quality sleep. I’m with you on wanting something a little loud, but not really edgy. Badgley Mischka, Vanille Givrée de Antilles, Queen Latifah Queen, and Jicky have all seemed about right lately.

    At the risk of pissing you off, I used to love the winter when I lived in the Midwest. Not the bitter cold, but a sunny day, temperature in the 20s (F), some snow crunching underfoot, not too much wind, a day when a walk in all ones winter gear (and I LOVE winter gear) was just frigid enough to make the skin glow and the heart pump a little stronger. I know you’ve all been buried in storm after storm this winter, but I hope you have a few calm, beautiful, sunny days before it’s over.

    • Caroline says:

      haha, it sounds like you may be experiencing misplaced nostalgia! Think we’d be much better off & less lethargic if the temps were actually in the 20s. Seems as though every day since Dec has been about 10 degrees or colder. While I love outerwear, the amount of gear required just to run a simple errand is exhausting–on my 2nd box of LL Bean handwarmers already!

      • Laurels says:

        The fact that I was much younger then may also have something to do with it. I do remember bitterly cold days when the wind off Lake Michigan could actually knock you back a few paces, and that I don’t miss.

        • Musette says:

          Caroline nailed it. Monday and Tuesday it was (wait for it) -15F at 6a. Minus Fifteen. Yesterday was no wind, so by the time it was up to ZERO it felt like June! LOL!

          We’d all give our left armpit for 20s! 😀


          • masha7 says:

            Musette, with that horrible, unending Snowball Earth you are experiencing up there, I think everyone should vote for total hibernation until spring shows up!

  • Kandice says:

    I’m more SAD. Winter is really getting to me. I’m so tired of being so cold and the grey days never seem to end. I miss the sunshine. Because of that, I’m picking scents that I normally associate with summer, such as Houbigant’s Orangers en Fleurs or Germain Monteil’s L’eau de Monteil. Vanillary by Gorilla Perfumes (for Lush) has also been a great comfort. I must say I’m impressed that even with torpor you’re still thinking about and wearing perfume. There are many days I don’t even want to get off the couch or out of bed. I do good to take a shower – forget wearing about perfume 🙂 Here’s hoping all this winter misery is over for everyone soon!

    • Musette says:

      LOL! Kandice, if you only knew. I’m down to about 5 perfumes, ALL of which have to have a body creme in order to even be considered. And they have to be right at hand. I can’t be bothered to rummage amongst anything which might explain why I’ve been wearing the same 4 pairs of pants these past few weeks. 😉


  • Maya says:

    I’m more torpor than SAD, but what I really do is whine for the first part of winter. Then after the January birthdays are over and February is starting, I get cabin fever! What’s calming me down this time is my just rediscovered vintage Oscar de la Renta – and reminding myself that spring starts in March.