The Bingley v. The Lemon

        by The Mystified Musette


So…I’m still a little stuffy…okay, I’m still JAMMED in the sinii, though I’m wearing Cartier Declaration today and can parse out the bulk of the notes.  Not sure if that’s because I already know what it’s supposed to smell like, so even the sketchiest of outlines could be filled in by scent-memory …or can I actually smell it?  How can one tell?  Like…hey, do you ever wonder if what you see is what another person sees?  Like the color ‘blue’…is that all just a giant psychic agreement amongst us or  do we actually all ‘see’ the same basic shade(s) of color that we agree, in words, that we see.  Can I ever know what ‘blue’ means to you?  And why on earth am I yarking ON about that, you might ask?


Well, you might ask…but I sure can’t answer.  That’s not what today’s post is about anyway, though it is an intriguing question.    Okay – here’s today’s musings.  I was thinking about ‘light’ and ‘fresh’ scents and what they tend to represent in writing and, to a certain extent, to society still today.  This came about recently when I read A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny (thanks, S, for introducing me to Inspector Gamache!!!)…anyway, in the story one of the policemen is remembering his time spent in hospital, where he lay near death.  He compares the scent of the woman who sat at his bedside with that of his wife (they are separated)…sounds like the bedsitter is wearing Fresh Lemon Sugar and the wife is wearing Opium.  Wife loses.  He actually reminisces that he would not have come back to that cold hand and that perfume (I am paraphrasing, because I don’t have the book to reference – but it’s a close’un).  The whole paragraph is a paean to light, citrus fragrance being equated with fresh, youthful Life.

Remember the old (as in REALLY old) Harlequin Romance books?  The ones from the 60s and 70s, where the heroine always looked like a Breck Girl and the declaration of love was always just a kiss (I remember reading a Harlequin Presents and actually blushed! when they actually had…uh….you know  (hey, I was 11 when the first ‘Presents’ came out – and I was a slow, sheltered child)..anyway! back to the thought at hand…those girls also wore lemony perfumes.  Or they smelled like lilacs.  The Mean Girl always wore a heavy oriental – I call it the Miss Bingley Syndrome (think of the fabulous Anna Chancellor in her heavy Oriental silks and turbans, contrasted with Jennifer Ehle’s fresh, white gowns and simple coiffures) – and the Bingley always loses.

Okay…the stage is set.  in all types of fiction, lemon and very light florals seem to be equated with good, virtue, youth… But that’s not the part I wanted to talk about.  I wanted to talk about the fact that probably 90% of these books, if not more…are written by women!  So now I’m wondering, are we perpetrating the notion of ‘good’  = ‘fresh’ and “heavy/complex” = “bad’ ?   Not that that’s a judgement call on my part – more curiosity than anything.  I love citrus as much as I love incense – but I wonder how this came to be?  Is it a throwback from when heavy perfumes were used to mask illness, decay and body odor – since a light lemon fragrance wouldn’t do the trick, would the wearing of that type of fragrance signal health?  This is obviously not a scientific query – heck, I don’t even know if I’m right about this but it sure reads like it to me.   My ‘findings’ are also not substantiated by anything other than my ramshackle reading habits; it’s certainly not from any serious commentary on what I’m wearing – guys usually limit their perfume remarks to ‘you smell nice’.    El O couldn’t care less what I wear, as long as it’s not Yatagan and as long as I’m not wearing too much of Whatever Isn’t Yatagan.   Hub #1 preferred greeny/limey things but he’s a Gin Gimlet man so that one is easy.  Most guys I know (GUYS.  Not perfumistos) are in El O’s camp – unless they have a particular dislike of a note/scent they don’t care as long as it’s not overdone.

So….did we start  this, laydeez?   Do we secretly believe that lemons equal virginal freshness and that, when all is over, including the shouting, virginal freshness wins out?   Obviously, if we’re mating, the younger and fresher the ovum the better the reproductive chances, yeah…but does that potential for fecundity translate somehow to Fresh Lemon Sugar? Could that be the explanation for the variation on that theme, the ubiquitous fruity-floral, so beloved by young women?  What do  you think?  Do you care?  See, this is what happens when my sinuses go out and I can’t review perfume.  The mind wanders.  Faaaar afield.

And what would be the equivalent for men?  What would the Harlequin Hero wear?  (I always wanted to write a sequel to the Harlequin Romance, where all the heroines and heroes were invited to some shindig in a giant ballroom – but most of the spouses got mixed up and ended up going home with somebody else’s husband/wife..because if you’ve read more than one of those books you know that all the men are tall, muscular and dashing….like a roomful of Errol Flynn pirates or something.  Just imagine trying to pick our your Hero in a ballroom full of Heroes!   All wearing_______________?




I’d love to know what you all think (women and men).  Don’t hesitate to tell me if you think I’m crazy.  You won’t be the first, I promise!!!


photo:  my local library has HUNDREDS of these.

  • BBJ says:

    The classic Harlequin set-up–oh Lord, I read too many of those at an early age. Those childish girls, and overbearing men, and the Bitchy Older (twenty-SIX?) Woman.

    I think it’s what everyone has said–the lemony-fresh or lilac-sweet light cologne scents are associated with very young girls in Old-Fashioned Harlequin-Land. When she marries, she’ll get her matron’s bottle of Chanel No. 5. Meanwhile, The Bitchy Older Woman wears orientals which show her sophistication, but also her lack of virginal naivete, which is what the hero really wants in the end.

    I wonder if there’s also not a money code involved. Nurse Virginal Cutiepants is wearing the cologne she got for Christmas, or a bottle bought at the drugstore, guaranteed by a friend not to make you smell cheap. She’s saving her money for a hope chest, or to save Papa’s farm. Bitchy Older Woman is buying her Shalimar, or whatever it is, with inherited money, or another man’s money, or something…whatever the source, she doesn’t need the hero to save her, and his only role is to save the girl. Nurse Virginal Cutiepants not only wants him, she NEEDS him.

    • Musette says:

      That is an excellent observation – and it also ties in to our opinions regarding monied women – we never seem to have any issues when a monied man marries a poorer woman but all sorts of red flags and judgements go up when a monied woman marries a poorer man. ‘Need’ seems only to be able to flow in one direction, it seems. In the HRs, the gal is always the one without the funds – or she’s a scrappy li’l thing who’s ‘made it’ (usually a fashion designer) who somehow finds herself back on Uncle Eb’s farm, where she spent her formative years baling hay and riding her pony. Ever notice how they never split their time between NY and Nebraska? Oh, no! She realizes, 10 pages from the end, that her True Life is back on the farm. :-< Movies, too ('Overboard' (just on TV last week), that one with the woman at the canning factory who leaves Miami to go live in North Dakota or somewhere, doesn't Reese Witherspoon come back to Alabama (never got to the end of the film)......they all make me so tired. Just once I'd like to see the guy pack up and move to Manhattan...or at least they could split their time??? :-< xo >-)

  • Lavanya says:

    LOl- at the first para , Musette- especially “is that all just a giant psychic agreement amongst us”..:D..seriously, I have the exact same questions/thoughts..

    You know, growing up, my favorite color was white but now one of my favorite colors is black..that may say something about younger and older tastes but I am too tired to analyze.. though it might have something to do with the fact that when I was younger I liked perfect things- perfectly smooth, deep voices, a spotless white dress
    Now I like rough edges in voices, dirty roses and find flawed faces more beautiful than symmetric, perfect ones (actually, I think that I always did)

  • ClaudiaRae says:

    I read some time ago that women who read “romance” novels have more exciting sex lives. Well, that explains a lot, because I hate those books.
    And I love both citrus perfumes AND heavy orientals. Go figure.

    This reminds me of the old Ivanhoe movie where Joan Fontaine played the “fair” Rowena and Elizabeth Taylor is the runner-up for Ivanhoe’s affections. I figured any man who preferred Joan over Liz was nuts.

    • Musette says:

      Really? They do? 😕 huh. MC Beaton wrote a really funny scene in one of her Hamish Macbeth books, wherein one of the village women is in the midst of a romance novel…her husband turns over and makes romantic overtures to her…she smacks his overtures away (rather nastily, I might add) and goes back to reading about it! =))

      xo >-)

  • nozknoz says:

    Your ballroom of Harlequin heroes is reminding me of the wonderful new vs old Old Spice man ad that ends with Fabian being transported by a helium filled ballon to a planet filled with Fabians holding balloons :-)

    Maybe this is why AG Eau d’Hadrien was so popular – it was a citrus scent that smelled fresh while hinting at naughty.

    • Musette says:

      OMG! I SO love that commercial!!! That is persackly what I had in mind. A ballroom full of those guys, all oozing industrialist/rancher/businessman (ever notice how none of those heroes are bus drivers or tv repairment?)…..and then all these dewy chicks trying to figure out which one is ‘theirs’…:-?

      xo >-)

  • Perfumista8 says:

    Wonderful topic! There are some great, insightful comments here. Is there really anything “wrong” with associating fresh scents with younger women and more complex scents with older women? I wouldnt have a problem with this at all if most people didnt associate being older with being less desirable. Of course I couldn’t have cared less until I turned 40!

    • Musette says:

      Oh, no! I don’t think it’s ‘wrong’ – I’m just intrigued by it. And I’ve come to grips with aging – at least at this point (I’ve passed the 50 tipping point)…I just don’t want to look worn out or let-go. Age, as we know, generally beats the alternative!

      xo >-)

  • mals86 says:

    I’m beginning to wonder now how “light & fresh” plays out with the younger generation now – Sherri M’s daughter is about the same age as mine, and it seems fruity-vanillas are all the rage now. Bookworm’s given up her DK Gold except for “special occasions,” and she’s wearing Hanae Mori and B&BW Dark Kiss out on her dates these days. I think “sweet & fruity” may signal “young & romantic” for a whole generation at this point.

    If I think about that long enough I’m going to be appalled.

    • Musette says:

      Oh, I think sweet and fruity is this generation’s Love’s Baby Soft. Or Heaven Sent. It’s a wonder any of my middle/high school teachers have any olfactory sense left. The halls of 1968 middle school were the powder equivalent of mustard gas!

      xo >-)

  • mals86 says:

    I read the post earlier in the morning and then had to run do some errands before responding: feed baby calf, fetch my teenage daughter’s forgotten-and-crucial-to-her-ENTIRE LIFE, MOM, PLEASE GO PICK IT UP THANKYOUTHANKYOU flash drive containing all her science fair project material (it’s due Thursday and she’s juuuuust a little insane right now, thanks), buy groceries for the week.

    Sorry, off topic… anyways, I had already come up with a comment and fully expected to see this idea already expressed. Surprised to not see it: Lemon Light-and-Fresh isn’t simply appealing on its own, but as a foil to Heavy Oriental. Heavy Oriental equates to Miss Bingley and heavily-applied makeup and overly-plucked eyebrows: Trying Too Hard, essentially, which La Bingley was certainly guilty of. Even worse than Trying Too Hard, though, is Trying Too Hard, with Artifice.

    I admit that when I was younger, I was dismissive and even a little bit scornful of lipstick – because I didn’t need any! It was only a handful of years ago, after squeezing out three puppies and seeing a few gray hairs and the first fine lines at the outer edges of my eyes, that I began wearing lipstick regularly to replace what aging had gradually stolen. I firmly believe that What Men Want, in the collective abstract, is the “natural look,” but only when the natural look is absolutely stunningly beautiful. Big eyes, long dark lashes, defined cheekbones, a glow to the skin, soft full pink lips… and if you roll out of bed and look like that, more power to you! The last time *I* looked ab fab at 7am, I was fifteen years old and in prime physical condition.

    In terms of the “Trying Too Hard, with Artifice” mindset, Lemon Light-n-Fresh isn’t looking to make a romantic killing; Heavy Oriental is looking for fresh man meat. Heavy Oriental wants to trap a man. Lemon LnF can afford to wait, she’s got time; HO (heh, heh, look what I did there!) is past her sell-by date.

    I think you’re right – there’s a literary convention to perfume in romance novels*: the worthy heroine is young and beautiful and has plenty of years left in her child-bearin’ hips. Gah. I’m going to stop there, because I may have inadvertently implied that I believe that stupid convention, which I don’t. (Though both The CEO and I are very fond of soft florals…)

    Heroes should smell like SSS Tabac Aurea and apples. Punkt.

    • mals86 says:

      * Re romance novels, when my packrat grandma died six years ago, my mother gathered up thirteen boxes of her romance novels and took them to the Goodwill store. I don’t mean 13 small boxes, I mean those boxes that cases of copy paper come in. I’ve read my share of romance novels… a more formulaic genre you couldn’t imagine.

    • Joanna says:

      Heavy Orientals and the like are actually more and more appealing to me the less I worry about what men or anyone else wants/expects.

      • mals86 says:

        Wear whatcha want, I say.

        I have to confess that I really do not like heavy orientals at all. I lurve me some vtg Emeraude and Shalimar Light, but that’s as far as I want to go down that particular road, menzfolk be darned. But if *you* wanna wear heavy orientals, do it. DO IT. (Just stay away from my elevator. Or my theater seat. Pleez, I beg of you.)

        • mals86 says:

          I should add that I just turned 44, ain’t no spring chickie myself. And I don’t wear man-pleasers, I wear me-pleasers (it’s just lucky that my husband likes florals, and that’s where I’m most comfortable, man or no flippin’ man).

          I’m really not trying to imply that *I* buy into that whole young+beautiful=light fresh perfume thing, just explaining what I see as shorthand or convention for romantic attractiveness in novels.

          • Musette says:

            I was going to jump in here but you and Joanna covered the topic beautifully!

            I loved the formulae of Harlequin Romance novels, from about 10-14. My parents’ marriage wasn’t the greatest so there was always a lot of stress at home – surprises weren’t all that welcome in my personal space, as you can imagine. So a few minutes respite, where you knew all would be well in the end and the heroine would go off to be cossetted and would cavort with kittens and puppies in a daisy-strewn field…that sounded just grand to me.

            But man, when that got old…it got OLD!

            xo >-)

  • Nancy says:

    Hi Musette,

    Isn’t Louise Penny a great writer? Please read the rest of the series–it makes more sense if you start at the beginning with Still Life. One of things I like best about the series is that it takes place in Canada. It is fascinating to see those little things that separate Canadian culture from that in the US. I think there are at least six books in the series at this point.

    • Musette says:

      Still Life was the lovely gift I received. I fell in love with Gamache and his crew and the Three Pines folks in about .032 seconds. I will now have to go back and start from Book 2 until I reach this last one.

      They lead very interesting, complicated lives – but not absurdly so. Probably like most of us.

      xo >-)

  • Austenfan says:

    And I think Barbara Cartland heroes would probably wear some dreadful Floris scent.

    On another note: Have you ever tried Rien by ELdO? Quite the opposite of clean, a very rugged fragrance!

  • Austenfan says:

    I don’t share the associations with smell/innocence at all. Could it be more of an American thing? I honestly don’t know.
    I associate citrus with summer, but then I also love wearing the heavier orientals in summer, the heat makes them bloom like nothing else.
    I have no memories at all about what fragrance was popular when I was still at school, or later university. I do remember wearing Anaïs Anaïs and Paris YSL as a student. And maybe some Yves Rocher stuff before that. It’s a fun post though and it had me thinking, thanks.

  • FragrantWitch says:

    I want your sinii to improve but I am loving the tangential perfume posts!

    My first thought is that it goes back to the ascendancy and dominance of Christianity. The ‘heathens’ would have been wearing furs and pelts and living closer to the earth and therefore smelled more musky, earthy, indolic etc. They appear to have been more sexually open as well, as much as we can discern though the inevitably biased primary sources of educated Christian missionaries. Also, in the Bible women who were depicted as whores or women who were strong and therefore bad ie Jezebel were depicted as fragrant with spices etc.. Broadly speaking East=debauched dens of iniquity ( love that phrase!) and West= godly and wholesome.
    Then you have the obsession with cleanliness and godliness, citrus fruits as early cleansers/deodorisers for both body and home….
    Yes, incense was in Church but it was by association sanctified.
    I may be way off but hey, as you might say Musette, ya nebber know!

  • Joanna says:

    So this piece took my mind in some odd directions.
    First I thought of the Little House on the Prairie tv show where Laura always wore Lemon Verbena. Who’s more sweet and innocent than Laura? Or Melissa Gilbert playing Laura…
    Then I thought of a seminar in Women’s Studies I attended once. The discussion was along the lines of these questions you’ve brought up Musette, scents and colors, attributes we associate with virginal and good. The scent of lemon was discussed and it was then brought up that historically women used to use half a lemon as a form of birth control, (Still practiced today in certain parts of the world.) Actually as it turns out there is medical evidence that it may be an effective form of birth control and possibly even kill the AIDS virus. So as odd as that sounds, it seems like that idea that lemon is pure and clean has been around for centuries.
    Personally I’m not usually a fan of citrus, with some exceptions. As to what the says about my character I couldn’t care less. Lemon fragrances usually remind me of household cleaners.

    • Musette says:

      I love lemon – but I suspect I love it because I am a cleaning freak (not just a ‘clean’ freak – I love to clean. It’s one of those weird stress-relieving activities. Drives my bff nuts, though she secretly loves it. I go over to her house and vacuum (she doesn’t – and they have several cats and a dog). …..

      Lemon fragrances, though, can be a bit offputting, I agree. One wrong note and you smelling dishsoap!

      xo >-)

  • pam says:

    I seem to recall that many of the “good” girls and heroines of this genre are fair, blonde, blue-eyed. As a life-long brunette, (yeah, even with the henna covering the gray), I always noticed that and decided that the “bad” girl with dark hair, red nails, and an intriguing heavy perfume was way more interesting. Still do. And even as a teen, I was wearing Shalimar when the others were wearing Jean Nate.

  • KirstenMarie says:

    I love how you play with your senses and mix sight, smell…so okay, sweetie, where’s the sound? Oh wait, there it was – “all over but the yelling.” God bless, you make me laugh!

    My Grandma had STACKS of Harlequin books that I’d bury myself in when we visited for Christmas. The cover of that book brings back memories! I think the folks commenting on the lighter citrus=virginal have something going. It kinda gets back to the old “men like blondes because lighter hair is associated with youth” theory. Not applicable in all cases, but prominent enough in social myth to have garnered status as a solid assumption.

    As for which perfume for heros…you mean they don’t all smell like the woods, with a hint of wolf musk and “clean male sweat”??? Oh dear, where are my smelling salts? I feel faint.

    • Musette says:

      My favorite ‘blonde’ line is from Cynthia Heimel’s Sex Tips for Girls:

      “you know why blondes have more fun?”

      “because you can find them in the dark”

      (gah. hope I quoted that correctly) :”>

      xo >-)

  • Style Spy says:

    I wouldn’t attribute anything that complicated to most men – I think it’s just about sophistication and exposure. I think generally men (and many woman), unless they’ve been exposed to fragrances and have good associations with them, like smells they can identify. Lemon smells like lemon, vanilla smells like cookies. We don’t spend any time at all on smell culturally in this country, and so anything that’s complex and not easily labeled is often sort of tuned out because it’s not easily labeled. I lean toward spices & woods & orientals, even my florals tend to be big honkin’ ones, and the one friend I have who most regularly compliments my perfume is Indian, with a mother who cooked a lot. He grew up with spicy, complex smells, so he likes them.

    • Musette says:

      I think you are on to something there, in a broad sense. El O is as ‘regular’ as they come (even though he is a supertaster, which is irritating…:-w ). Stuff he can’t label he just dismisses.
      xo >-)

  • rosarita says:

    Ach, Ms A, so many interesting things to ponder and I only have a minute to digest it all. Will revisit later. My initial thought is that the harlequin hero would wear Acqua di Gio; nice, bland, and ubiquitous. Also: light/citrus/clean = blonde, while heavy/oriental/complex = brunette? (See: M. Monroe/J. Russell)

    • Musette says:

      I never would’ve pegged Miss Monroe for ‘clean’, though I get what you’re getting at – Jane Russell was dirty fun in the backseat of the El Camino, bless her! When I think of that Harlequin type of blonde, I think of Tippi Hedren in The Birds, v. that sensual Susan Pleshette character.

      xo >-)

      btw – thought of you and maribou when I was watching a Twilight Zone episode – this woman was dashing – literally DASHING – about from room to room,in a peignoir and matching stiletto satin mules. Amazing!

  • Ann says:

    A very thought-provoking post, indeed, Musette, both on the colors and the scents. I think part of it is just a natural inclination regarding age: Do 14-year-olds want to smell complex and mysterious? Probably not many. Anyway, will have to ponder this a bit and come back.

  • Sherri M. says:

    Interesting post! I think we do associate “light” scents, as we do light colors, with good, happiness and innocence and “dark” scents with sadness or evil. But, as with colors, dark can be beautiful and rich. Think of all the gorgeous jewel tones. These are the classics of the perfumed world.

    Our past has alot to do with how we interpret scents: Shalimar is not beautiful or rich or sexy to me, though it is intrinsically all those things, rather it is the smell of kind and loving great aunts and holidays and family and love. Viva La Juicy, while bright, happy and “innocent” could be the smell of a “queen bee” picking on one of my kids.

    • Musette says:

      I agree!

      I expect Cordelia (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) might’ve worn Viva La Juicy – except…wait…she would’ve worn the Couture, right?


      xo >-)

  • Olfacta says:

    When I was around 9, I read a Ray Bradbury short story in which the hero experienced colors he’d never seen before. That’s stayed with me my whole life. I keep waiting….color is refraction, a blending of light, but it’s not simple. Color theory is like any theory — there are many, they disagree with one another, and you can spend years studying them.

    I once went to a seminar about writing romance novels. Me — possibly the least romantic person on earth! Anyway, there’s a very specific formula, and the hero/heroine’s characters are also very specific. (I hear that nowadays, maybe 15 years later, it’s loosened up a bit but I don’t read them so don’t really know.) In American society, citrus=clean and virginal=clean therefore citrus=virginal? Romance-novel algebra. (Evolutionary psychology dictates, btw, that waist-to-hip ratio indicates good childbearing potential — smaller waist/larger hips being better — while a large, age-thickened waist indicates difficulty conceiving.)

    I recently bought a 70’s mini of Houbignant’s Musk for Men at an estate sale and that seems to be the perfect romance novel hero scent — very masculine barbershoppy musk. To me, the ultimate romance hero is Sean Connery as James Bond in “Thunderball,” stepping out of a scuba suit to reveal a perfect, un-mussed, unwrinkled dinner jacket — he’d be wearing it, or Guerlain’s Vetiver, or maybe Habit Rouge.

    • Musette says:

      I tried to write one of those Harlequin romance-type novels in my 20s but failed – there was a basic formula, as you said, to which I simply couldn’t adhere. A former colleague wrote a bodice-ripper and was stunned at the pragmatism behind it!

      Habit Rouge is perfect, imo!

  • Francesca says:

    You had me at a room full of Errol Flynn pirates!!!

    Citrus: for me, Goutal Eau du Sud can’t be beat.

  • Madea says:

    Supposedly, our sense of smell degrades as we get older. A younger woman might prefer a less heavy fragrance because she can smell it just as clearly as the heavier one, which might smell overwhelming to her senses.

    On the other hand, Robin at NST took it the opposite way–that our tastes typically get more complex as we age, and therefore an older woman would probably prefer some nuance, where a younger woman might just want ‘pretty’. (Nothing wrong with that–some days, pretty’s all I have the energy for).

    For myself, I think it’s both those things and neither of them. I’ve definitely noticed that salespeople push me toward light and fresh until I tell them, very clearly, I’m interested in classic perfumery.

    I’m not one of those people who insist that marketing is the Source of All Evil, but there is a component there–people tend to accept what tastemakers tell them.

    There’s also a self-fulfilling cultural component at work. Old women sell like X, young women smell like Y. It seems much less transgressive for an older woman to cross the boundary by reaching for something like than vice-versa.

    On a similar yet oddly coincidental note, I met with an aquaintance today who has a whole ton of 4711 that was her mother’s that she’d like to sell me. Weird timing, no?

    • Sherri M. says:

      Very insightful, Madea! I see this play out alot at our house (5 pre-teen to teen girls). There’s almost as much of a peer pressure thing going on regarding what they “should” smell like as what they should wear/look like.

      My 15 year old has gone through almost a full bottle of Taylor Swift Wonderstruck, which is very popular here in 9th grade–Nashville 9th grade–since Christmas (she’s exuberant with the sprayer, to dh’s dismay! :-)). I’m really not sure she even likes the fragrance so much as the fact it’s so popular.

      • Musette says:


        What Sherri Said re the insight.

        I remember those days with peer pressure (my time was Love’s Baby Soft and Heaven Sent) – our house was saturated with the stuff! I can’t remember if I loved them or not – only that all of us wore them.

      • BBJ says:

        I think that the popular fragrances might have to do with getting the group scent on you. If you smell like everyone else, your chances of being IDed as a member of the group go up.

  • Janice says:

    Wow, so many interesting questions… I’m still stuck on the first one, though, of whether we all see the same colors.

    My friend’s mom had an odd type of colorblindness, not red-green but some other combination she couldn’t distinguish, and it wasn’t diagnosed until she was in her 50s. Everyone thought she just had rather eccentric decorating tastes. And my father still tells the story of lining up in grade school to take those tests where you look at a pattern of dots and are supposed to see a number—Ishihara test? Anyway, he says he told the kid next to him in line that if you see a number, it means you ARE colorblind, and when his turn came the terrified kid adamantly denied seeing any pattern at all. Took them a little while to sort out what was wrong. I often wonder the same thing about perfume—is what I’m smelling what everyone else is smelling? And if not, do they think I’m the olfactory equivalent of that woman with the purple carpet and olive-green sofa and orange drapes?

    I think the Harlequin heroes should all be wearing MDCI Invasion Barbare.

    • Musette says:

      Janice, I have always been curious about that, though most olfactory experiments would indicate that most of are seeing/smelling/tasting the same things. Folks who fall outside that generality have some interesting experiences – my father once painted out living room a very decided lilac….and swore up and down it was white!

      I like your idea for the Heroes. Whatever it is, it will have to be as it was at Napoleon’s court, with everyone wearing the same thing. 300 guys awash in 300 different perfumes might be a bit much..

      xo >-)