When we were in our 20s (back in the Jefferson administration) my galpals and I fantasized about our married coworkers’ lives -a permanent partner for Chinese food and Friday Movies, sex every night, total validation on Valentine’s Day…and the cessation of the ignominy of the Blind Date. One by one, we entered into couplehood, thinking our problems were all behind us, especially the Blind Date.
Then came an even scarier Event: Couples Blind Dating. When you’re single, blind dating is weird enough – but usually it’s just between you and the date. But once you are a couple, you end up occasionally dating other couples – folks you Might Not Know But Your Partner Does. And the stakes are often higher. Is this an old pal? A friend from work? A Business Connection? What a pain. Now try it when you’re older than dirt, you’ve worked all day and you are NOT in the mood. What do you wear? I struggled with this in the 20 minutes I had to throw on some lipstick and a heavier jacket (it was a night to stay in with a hot cocoa and a good book, not go gallivanting off to dinner with strangers). I toyed with the idea of my new love, Diaghilev but if the night sucked CheezWhiz I would be stuck with the association. Mitsouko was out of the question – I’m working on softening my mien, not ramping up the terror quotient. I needed a comfy scent that would remind me of me, in case I hated every aspect of them, but a perfume I could kick to the curb for awhile if the association was too tiresome.
I chose Bas de Soie. Just so ya know, this is NOT a review of Bas de Soie. I think I’ve already reviewed it but in case I didn’t, here it is, in a nutshell: I like it. It’s got a facet that I find compelling/slightly irritating (which is the compelling part, I think)…but even though I really like it, I have no emotional attachment to it. Vi-ola! A perfect ‘sacrifice’ scent. I threw it on, it was great – nobody sneezed or threw up and it kept me engaged through the whole evening, which turned out just fine, btw – they’re nice people and I liked them enough to hope they thought I was nice people, too. But if it had icked out I could’ve shelved Bas de Soie for a few months with nary a tear.
On the way home I started wondering ‘what scents would I be willing to sacrifice, should a particular occasion blow up in my face?’ Not throwaway scents; these sacrifices would be scents you like/love that you could rely upon to get you through a potentially challenging situation but if it turned ugly it wouldn’t kill you to retire that scent for a long time (this is of particular importance for those of you who have scent/memory issues ). I thought about the following situations and here is a random list of what might/did/could work for me:
Cold Customer Meeting: Hermes Caleche. It’s confident and ladylike, with a coolness that gives pause…but its very aloofness means I could box it on the way-back shelf if that cold customer broke my day. Ask Caleche if it cares. It doesn’t.
New Mother in Law: Fracas (I can’t believe I might throw Fracas under the bus; then again, I’ve had great luck with mothers in law – besides, NOBODY can keep Fracas down. She would be back, like the Terminator)
Job Interview: TDC Charmes and Leaves. It’s lovely. I love it. But it’s innocuous. Innocuous has a way of being expendable for the time it takes to get my guts back.
Amicable divorce lawyer meeting : Calyx. It was his fave. If it got nasty, oh well. If not, it’s a nice memory of a nice ending. I got lucky on that one, both with the ex and the perfume. I still wear it now and then, 20 yrs later.
Wedding of someone you adore who is Not Marrying You: Shalimar perfume/extrait. It can take the hit and Lord knows, if you put enough on and wrangle even a quick hug, the wedding night will have ‘you’ all over it. Grab a slow dance and your aura might stick around through the honeymoon. Not that I would know anything about that kinda thing…
Lunch with an old rival: Cartier Brillante. It makes me feel thinner and slightly richer…but if it turns out that the shrike is still richer and thinner than you it can go back in its red leatherette box for a Season. Next time you take it out maybe you will have laid off the chocolate cake! And you’re in fundages again. Birkin-level fundages! It could happen!
What are your challenging occasions? And what scents would you be willing to sacrifice if the scent association gods demanded?
photo: Morning Glory/flower sacrifice