Way back in the Jurassic Era, when Fiorinal (which nauseated me) was the only prescription out there for migraines & cluster headaches, I was sent to a Chinese acupuncturist. It worked – but it hurt (a very little bit – but still). At that point, at least, the Chinese method used was direct-puncture and the needles were a tad big. (again this was a very little bit – it isn’t a hypodermic, ffsakes )… so… as I grew to learn more about acupuncture I was thrilled to find the Japanese method of counterirritation, whereby they use a small plastic tube to quickly rub across the skin, a sensory distraction as they tapped the needle in. Vi-ola! Pain-free and just as effective.
I thought about that on Sunday, as I girded my loins to go out and de-Boo the front of my house
It was a Not Pretty Day, cold and grey, fit for Ugly Chores – ripping up bindweed and Charlie from cold, damp ground, plunging into the yard-deep hedge to whack it back, raking SO MANY LEAVES (so many), just so it looked less Boo-y. It was dirty, bleak, cold work. So. What did I wear?
I wore Lubin’s Gin Fizz.
Sweatergawd! It was so distracting that it actually HELPED get me through the chilblains and generally pissy mood. Gin Fizz (Grace Kelly’s signature fragrance) really is a fizzy, frippery concoction, perfect for spending the day on a yacht in the Med or a light application prior to slipping that watered silk gown over your head. It doesn’t have a ‘worker’ bone in its gorgeous body. And it is so ridiculous a choice for filthy, backbreaking work (in old, dirty fleece, no less!) that it kept my mind off balance, rendering the jobs way less irritating because the counter irritant was so frothy and sparkly and delightful that I really couldn’t focus on the fact that I looked like Mrs Boo out there, covered in dirt & wet leaves and dead bugs… it was fascinating!
I’m not afraid of rough work in the garden and house… but I still love my luxe. So I do one of two things, when faced with a backbreaking or dirty task. I either take on the Working persona (which will then be rewarded with a hot shower and liberal application of the luxeiest of scents (and maybe a glass of champagne when I revert to the Lady of the House persona)…. or I combine the two, to create a counter irritant, so I can get through cleaning the gutters without bursting into tears! You haven’t lived! until you’ve perched your old, fat butt on an extension ladder to clean out the gutters above that 3′ deep hedge… terrified… but determined to get it done… and coked to the gills in Jubilation 25, which can be smelled a block away! I’s DONE it (there’s no one around here to do that sort of thing* and I can’t afford it anyway, having just spent $1000 to keep The Girl from dying from bloat – she’s fine, btw, though I am still a nervous wreck – she coughs and I jump up, poke her belly and generally stand there for 20 minutes and stare at her (oh, she hates that SO much)! It’s counter-irritation at its finest.
I don’t wear those scents all the time, of course; cleaning house, I just wear Bleach because Cleaning House. But outside, it’s always fun to wrestle with the Ugly Jobs awash in something so delightfully frothy. Interestingly, my heavy hitters don’t do well in that sort of work – classics like Mitsouko and No5 actually want to do battle, so it becomes more intense and less ‘oooh! Squirrel!!’. Amouage Dia which, in my opinion, was made for a wasp-waisted, petticoated New Look day dress, is hysterical to wear when you are hauling 40-lb pavers! Just about the time you are ready to give up the ghost (and you only have 3 pavers left to set in, so c’mon!) Dia fluffs up the petticoats, straightens the white gloves and distracts you with a coy look. Before you know it, the 3 pavers are set… and you can shower, change and wear Dia as it was meant to be worn.
We’ve talked in the past about the various ways in which perfume can be used as armor – but do any of you use it as a counterirritant, as well? I’d love to know – I’ve started paying way more attention to the ‘why’ of a perfume choice lately, and it’s stunning how nuanced the choices can be!
*Praise SNAILS! I must’ve done something good because my young(er than me) neighbor down the street clambered up on my porch roof like that Squirrel! and blew the logjam of leaves out of that overflowing gutter! He asked for … brownies? … as payment! I made 3 different kinds (one with cinnamon and my aged orange extract and candied orange peel) because CLEAN GUTTERS!!!!
oh! and before I forget: WINNER of the October Edition of my Musings: KimB! gmail me (evilauntieanitaAT) and remind me what’s going on – I’ve been pretty good about getting stuff to the PO lately!!!
Last Thing: I got my Gin Fizz from Arielle Shoshana and she graciously sent a sample of.. Gin Fizz! Which I would love to share with one of you. Tell me about your day/counter irritants, whatever. The Girl really is totally recovered and looking forward to poking a pawnail for a winner!