Too Much Information


Lauren Bacall darning socks in 1942 by Louise Dahl-Wolfe.

My intentions were good. The plan was to review one of the scents I’d smelled during a recent visit to Twisted Lily in Brooklyn; I was having trouble deciding which one, and most of the lines I smelled are more indie-niche. So I went to the website of this small indie line, figuring I’d poke around a bit and get a feel for the company.

Man. I am getting old. I just …. How much do you really want to know about a fragrance? About the company? About their intent? About their inspiration?

Perfume stories from the Grand Old Perfume Past stick in my head and involve someone like Jacques Guerlain or Frederic Malle. Fragrances made for wives and mistresses. Fragrances made during the war when supplies were tight. Fragrances inspired by heartbreak, or yearning, or memory.

In three short paragraphs on this indie fragrance website I’d bounced from Rimbaud to Xenophon, from Tao to World War II. It was weirdly disorienting. It was a clanging declaration of who we are that pretty much made it clear they’re looking for people a lot cooler than I am. People who can read and nod knowingly at the holy seekers of Mount Athos and the psychedelic films of Alejandro Jodorowsky. 

It’s just too much for me. Too much inspiration and aspiration and information. My brain hurts. So I went down to the basement and comforted myself by retrieving a bottle of Guerlain Jicky (for tomorrow) and another of Serge Lutens’ Fleurs d’Oranger for right this second. If you need me I’ll be over here in the corner, darning my socks by the fire and refusing to get with the times.



  • Danielle says:

    I just want to quote caseymaureen and nod my head in agreement “Sounds like the people in hipsterville over there suffer from the same delusional condition as their cousins over here- that you can make yourself interesting by merely deciding that you are.”

  • LaDona says:

    I work in radio, so I know from puffery and flim-flammery. There is a little gastropub in a hipster neighborhood I tried a few times. I wanted to like it, the recipes were interesting, the food local, the wine list filled with natural wines, which is a passion of mine. Alas, they were such unbelievable asshats, that their obvious superiority ran me out the door. I can’t give money to people who think they are better than I…I mean, there are tacos just up the street, man. Now I have to figure out which line that is…so I can go giggle.

  • Laurels says:

    It does sound like college-aged enthusiasm, although even back then, if someone used the words “epistemology” or “ontology” in a non-classroom setting, I stopped listening to them.

  • solanace says:

    Today, on the way to work, I was telling my (poor) husband the Chamade elevator story. It’s so poignant, and clearly gets its strength from feeling true. Something that can”t be faked by aspirational, cool references packed talk…

  • maggiecat says:

    I think I know to which site you refer. I’m a college professor, and my colleagues and I do pretentious very well. We also see through it, and I personally have little patience with it and have lately been refusing to even try. (asking “What do you mean by that” is a great antidote in conversation, by the way.) Enjoy Jicky!

  • Pixel says:

    So true!! There are times that the painfully super mega too-cool-for-you websites get on my nerves so much I can’t sniff the perfumes without gritting my teeth. In the end I’m so irritated with the cool kids that forget it, I’m not buying the frags regardless. My brain keeps repeating the Seinfeld classic phrase: ‘hipster doofus’ 🙂

  • Fleurt4fleurs says:

    Great photo of Lauren.

  • cinnamon says:

    Oh, it’s like MySpace and then Facebook and then Twitter and then Instagram … and on and on. I can manage Facebook and that’s it. Twitter makes me, well, twitchy. Love the internet, but it has qualitatively changed perceptions of how to communicate, and what to communicate. TMI overload. Fully understand why you would end up wanting to wear Jicky.

  • Deva says:

    Ha! Very funny and so true! These days people just talk too much (in person and in print!) and impart unnecessary information. 99.9% is just straight up BS. Just give me the juice and zip your lip, is what I feel like saying. But then, that might be considered rude 😉

  • leenie2 says:

    HA, I think I know which one it is, too. And the stories are made up? People be smoking, but their beards smell GREAT.

  • Mals86 says:

    I don’t have access to brick-and-mortar sniffies very often, relying on other people’s mentions of what’s good so I know what to order at STC… thank goodness I’ve missed out on most of the PR puff.

    I darn holey socks, too: I hold them over the trashcan and say, “Darn sock!” as I drop them in. 😉

  • FeralJasmine says:

    I can stand a little puff, but not a lot. I tend to gravitate toward companies that make perfumes because they smell good. Although I do find myself curious about how they worked Xenophon in there…

  • Dina C. says:

    I’ve got a pair of wool socks right here that need darning. So if you’ll scooch over a bit, I’ll join you on the couch and we can darn together. I’m gonna be sampling some of the Chanels that I snatched up during STC’s recent sale. Maybe No. 18.

    I’ve always known I wasn’t one of the cool kids. And I used to work in PR and Marketing, so I recognize flummery and puffery when I see it, but it’s off-putting when a perfume description makes you walk away feeling like you’ve been living in a hole in the ground.

  • Happyrock says:

    I totally understand. In order to avoid my eyes glazing over from the fantasy stories about the fragrance, I go directly to the notes of the fragrance itself – because that’s what interests me.

  • poodle says:

    I’m so not cool. I get a kick out of the ridiculousness of some of that stuff though because I usually imagine the people behind it are living in their mom’s basement and making perfume in the garage. Each one tries so hard to make themselves stand out it just makes me laugh. Enjoy the Fleurs d’Oranger and the Jicky. Its good to have a perfume to find sanity in for moments such as that.

  • caseymaureen says:

    Sounds like the people in hipsterville over there suffer from the same delusional condition as their cousins over here- that you can make yourself interesting by merely deciding that you are. So the trappings become more important than the content and the battalion of Emperors endlessly congratulate each other on their new clothes! However before we disappear too far down the old fogey rabbit hole we should remember that this kind of nonsense has always gone on there is just So Much of it around now, a nosefull of Jicky is an excellent antidote!

  • Neva says:

    I’m with you March. Reading the pretentious descriptions of perfumes often makes me wonder if they are meant for me. Most of the time I a) don’t relate or b) have no idea what they want to say. It’s the smell that counts in the end. Of course we have an idea how we want to be perceived in the outside world but it rarely coincides with how people see us anyway…

  • Nemo says:

    I feel lucky to NOT now what brand you are referring to! They don’t sound like they are for me, though (or at least I don’t sound cool enough for them).

  • Paige says:

    I have a feeling I know which brand you’re referring to without even perusing their site. Extremely over branded though.