I´ve hurt the feelings of a couple of regulars on the blog recently. It was accidental, and one I couldn´t anticipate; the other … well, for someone (generally) sensible and sensitive, I have weird social blind spots. You guys know who you are, and again – I´m sorry.
So I decided that for these sins I would do a little penance, something I´m vaguely familiar with in concept, if not in actual execution. My mission: to seek out fragrances that make me gag … and then drench myself in them. Of course, typing this I see the tiny flaw in this plan — that by doing this post I potentially offend others of you, and so let me apologize in advance.
I eliminated the Paris Hiltons and the Britneys from the running almost immediately on the grounds that, while they are insipid, they don´t make me feel ill. I was actually surprised to find Fantasy muskier and less sweet than I remembered/expected. It´s very much not me, but I kind of … liked it. There, I said it. The Ralphs weren´t obnoxious enough, either. The Baby Phat bottle was broken, and I may have dodged a bullet on that one. I sniffed around some more (Cool Water, Euphoria, etc.) but nothing leapt out and strangled me.
The Lancome counter seemed a good place to visit next. I have a lot of Lancome makeup (I am particularly fond of their Definicils mascara, their lipsticks and their discontinued Star Gloss), but other than their lovely, retro La Collection line (Sikkim, etc.), which they keep hidden behind the counter in some insane conspiracy to kill it off, their perfume esthetic, whatever it is, scares me. Hypnose was tolerable, a gourmand musk. Miracle has spawned several stupid flankers, and the one called something like So Very Miracle, which the sweet young SA loved, smelled a lot like Angel to me. Poeme and Oui were empty, and she was missing Magie Noire, but I struck penance paydirt with Tresor. I drenched myself in it.
Tresor´s top notes in my world are raspberry and asparagus-tinged urine. In terms of high-piched offensiveness, it´s hard to beat. I had a sense of people backing away from me in the mall, and I couldn´t bring myself to eat anything, although I was starving. Interestingly, after maybe half an hour, either my nose died or the smell diminished considerably. In the drydown it´s a sour, musky rose, and at that point I dislike it rather than hate it intensely. I wouldn´t wear it if you gave it to me, but I wouldn´t betray my government´s secrets if you threatened me with it. (Addendum: Hypnose lasted through two days and a shower. What is in that thing? )
Next was the obvious choice: Thierry Mugler Angel. Hey, I have an idea! Let´s make a torture-porn movie with Lindsey Lohan, who´s busy committing career suicide anyway. We´ll call it I Know What Perfume Killed Me. In the movie, Linds is locked in the basement and chained to a wall by a madman who sprays her with various horrible fragrances until she passes out and wakes up in the hospital – horrors! — without her sense of smell! For which she is grateful.
I described Angel on this blog once as chocolate vomit, but that doesn´t really do it justice. Angel is chocolate-circus-peanut-cotton-candy vomit. It is the smell of the excised portion of the Willy Wonka movie where Buddy McRude ignores the warning gestures of the Oompa-Loompas and sticks his arm into the caramel-covered cotton-candy-making machine and … ruh roh. Bad things happen, things too frightening for small children. How can you people bear it? If I live to be 100, I will never understand the popularity of Angel. I wore it until the flashing in front of my eyes indicated an incipient migraine, and then I showered and washed everything I´d been wearing.
Another part of my penance, found at Macy´s, was Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds. You´d forgotten about this one, hadn´t you? Often when people describe a fragrance as “old lady,” I know it´s probably a chypre, or an oriental, and I´ll probably like it. White Diamonds is simply a sad, sour, musky smell. It also has the half-life of plutonium on my skin, and it also took two wash cycles to remove from my cotton shirt.
Finally, it was off to Sephora to return some makeup. (Hey, did you know you can take used makeup back to Sephora, and even if you´ve lost your receipt they´ll let you exchange it? If you have your receipt you can return it and get your money back). So, after exchanging my Nars eyeshadow in an unfortunate shade of matte apricot that makes me look like Bunnicula for something more flattering, I asked the sweet young thing (they are working the purple shadow this spring and they look fabulous) which of the gourmand section was the grossest.
There’s a wealth of choices in the Comptoir Sud Pacifique, frankly. But I finally settled on Vanille Banane, a fragrance that smells like something a gifted 9-year-old boy would create as a joke. I sprayed half my body vigorously with that. Then I was torn between Aquolina Pink Sugar and Blue Sugar for the other half. Blue Sugar is marginally less repulsive, in that it´s got some “masculine” notes (it makes me think of hairy Corporal Klinger his frock in M*A*S*H), so I went with Pink Sugar.
And hah! Because as it turns out my sweet-eating-skin killed both in less than an hour. Banane slipped off, leaving behind a faint vanilla scent, and Pink Sugar in the drydown smells like my children´s candy-coated carseats. Meh. I´ve smelled worse.
P.S. Okay, how many of you kept trying to adjust the volume on the Pepsi commercial Patty stuck up last Friday, the subtitled one with the deaf guys looking for the party? Show of hands, please. Anyone? Nobody? Was I the only person fiddling with the volume control on my laptop for three minutes until my low-watt bulb of a brain went on?