This ‘N That ‘N More Violet Ida

So this weekend was Pride here in Los Angeles, and for the first time since Covid it was back in (almost) full force. Pride is celebrated (mostly) in West Hollywood, where they shut down a stretch of the boulevard for the weekend for a street festival, concert, and parade. Grace Jones appeared at one of the shows (and I wish I’d gone to that one) and there were various other concerts and activities and various bars and clubs and dignitaries and groups with floats in the parade. I don’t go to it (despite the fact that the parade is practically at my door) because I don’t like crowds, I don’t like noise, and I don’t drink. No noisy, boozy crowds are kind of a no-go for me. There always seems to be something at the parade or festival that will send that Twittersphere into paroxysms of righteous indignation: this year a float in the parade was a truck in the bed of which was a leather-clad man miming flogging another leather-clad man on his bare butt. I only saw this because it came up on some website because people were shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you that this was happening at the Pride parade. Where there might have been children. My reaction was more to ask the flogee what his exercise regimen and moisturizer brand was, since his butt was enviously toned and the flesh flawless and creamy smooth (why he’d let that be sullied by even direct sunlight, much less lash marks I have no idea.)

Honestly, am I under reacting here? It’s 2023 and unless you have been living under a rock you should know that Pride in West Hollywood isn’t just going to be men in caftans knitting rainbow tea cozies: it’s going to have some people in various states of undress, drinking. You don’t go to Mardi Gras and stand gape-jawed on Bourbon Street that there are women showing their boobies for beads or people weaving (or worse) under the influence of their third Hurricane. Or if you do, you don’t get on Twitter and insist something BE DONE about it. It isn’t a theme park, so stop expecting Gay Country Safari or do as I do and stay home.

So while the parade (literally) passed me by I decided to re-read a book I loved but hadn’t read in years: “I’ll Take It” by Paul Rudnick. It’s the tale of a young Manhattanite who is roped into a family road trip with his mother and two aunts to see the leaves change in New England. Well, that’s the official reason. The Esker sisters are inveterate shoppers. Shopping is like breathing to them, and if they find a place that has oxygen at 50% off, you’d be crazy not to stock up, right? What Joe doesn’t know but he and his Aunts are about to find out is that his Mom has come up with a scheme: in order to redecorate the living room she is going to rob L.L. Bean. It’s a sweet and hilarious book- a prefect summer read by the man who wrote “Addams Family Values”. At the end you’ll wish you had these ladies as your Aunts- certainly Aunt Ida when it’s time to buy a new car. And the hardcover at Amazon or Thriftbooks is available used for under $4 (at the time of this writing) so it’s an Esker-sized bargain.

Well, I have Been wearing Violet Ida for a week (almost) exclusively and I am still on the fence. It just refuses to be what I am expecting of it- it’s not a shy bunch of violets. It’s a big, rooty honking iris sitting in a creamy vanilla pudding with a sprinkling of candied violets on the top and a powdery finish, like some dessert at a restaurant who will serve you truffled tater-tots or an iceberg wedge salad with the most delicious blue cheese dressing ever- I am enjoying it but on some level wonder if I am being punked. It also always has that lingering play-doh presence, that I am actually beginning to like. It is a big scent as well- I did get several people comment on it from across the room and I am not an over-applier, especially when I am going to be in public. It’s not obtrusive or in any way objectionable (people enjoyed it) but if you are going to be in a room with people who object to perfume of any kind, be wary.

So, final verdict? Nice, but not for me. $185 for 100ML is pretty much free these days and both Miller Harris and Surrender to Chance has samples if you are interested- my sample was from StC and decently sized and I think will be enough of this one for me.

So did you try this one and like it? Reading anything? Share in the comments.

Images: Pexels and mine

  • Maya says:

    I enjoyed your butt story. I don’t know about correct reactions but it was funny to me, especially the image of him sitting down gingerly and gently the next day.
    I tend to read in long spurts, then stop the same way. I do think I would like I’ll Take It. It sounds lighthearted and I, for one, need that occasionally.
    Usually I can’t decide on a scent, it’s because I want to really like it, but don’t, so I keep trying it on hoping something will change. It hasn’t yet, but that hasn’t stopped me.

    • Tom says:

      All I could think of was at over an hour in the sun I hope he used sunscreen..

      I’ll Take It is very light and funny and sweet. Perfect antidote to the news these days.

  • Portia says:

    The book looks excellent. Thank you Tom.
    WHAT?!? Just enjoy Violet Ida for what it is. Gorgeous, a little updated dated idea and scrummiliciously wearable.
    Portia xx

    • Tom says:

      I am trying- it kind of won’t let me. I settle in and it goes “BOO!! Fooled ya! Ha ha!!”

  • Jennifer S says:

    A big Iris sitting in a creamy vanilla pudding sounds right up my alley but the powdery finish would ruin it for me. At the moment I am really liking some of the Iris Acqua di Parma scents.
    My library does have that book which is now on my list to read…sometime after I finish The Memoirs of Cleopatra.

    • Tom says:

      The powder doesn’t 100% ruin it for me, but it seems to me to be at odds with the rest of it. Oh well, more for Portia.

  • March says:

    GAY COUNTRY SAFARI. I think the comparison to Mardi Gras is an apt one; people say, well what do you expect? I’d probably go if I were in the area as a tourist, it sounds like fun. Also sounding like fun: that book! Off to poke around online for a copy, thanks!

    • Tom says:

      It is a fun book.

      I am afraid I am an old stick about crowds and heat and noise and booze. Even back in the days that I drank it just wasn’t my thing. I can remember the one that killed it for me- in about 2004 or so walking over ready to pay the $50 to get into the festival at 3PM and passing someone literally heaving into a trash can. It was hot out and I just thought “why am I spending $50 on this? ”

      Except for marching in the parade a couple of times with the local Dem group I’ve pretty much skipped it.

  • alityke says:

    June in the UK is Pride Month. My small, working class town is not a place where you would expect the LBGTQ+ community to feel safe. Yet we have embraced the community for decades. Gay pub since the 70’s, Funny Gals drag club for over 20 years. Both popular venues not only for LGBTQ+ people but for straight people just wanting a good time without slimeballs hitting on them.
    Why? Strong women historically hold the whole community together & woe betide anyone who crosses women & mothers here!
    As for Pride events, the town centre square held numerous Pride shows & events last weekend. No one was whipping bare bum cheeks during the daytime though. In the night time economy? Quite probably that & much more! Most wanting that probably got in a cab to the gay sex club not far away.
    I’m certain VI isn’t for me, Iris & violet aren’t notes I enjoy with two exceptions, Guerlain Initial & vintage Balmain Jolie Madame.

    • Tom says:

      June is actually US Pride Month as well. Each big city chooses a particular day to have their parade so that if you want to you could do NY, Chicago, SF, and LA in the month.

      Your town sounds wonderful. I want to retire there.

      • alityke says:

        Not something I ever thought I’d read. It’s cold, wet, windy, the river floods, there has been huge unemployment since the miners closed, the town centre was terribly run down & drugs are everywhere in the town centre.
        But, people watch out for each other, are quick to laugh, women have the upper hand generally, it’s cheap, beautiful detached houses cost less than almost anywhere else, our football team have taken us on a rollercoaster ride the last 30 years, a 20 minute walk takes me to the world famous Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the newish museum is free & wins prizes.
        The surrounding countryside & villages are stunning.
        A curates egg of a town. I left for a long time but came back for the boys to have a country childhood

        • Tom says:

          That reads like my hometown in Massachusetts in the 70’s. Industry had left the area, a shopping mall opened up outside of town: downtown was fading away and the city was at it’s lowest. Creative types started buying up or renting in the downtown area in what had been manufacturing buildings or offices and within 10 years it was a thriving Boho area. So much so that it stated being called Noho after SoHo in NYC. 10 years after that is was gentrifying. Of course being a college town helped, but in a way hindered as well.

          Now might be the time to buy there..

  • cinnamon says:

    Ah, road trips… I think Miller Harris has a base accord (Harris-ade?) that is iris/powder/strange sweet heavy). I have four samples which will get written about at some point. As to Pride here, it was cancelled this year due to increasingly costs and lack of volunteers. It’s usually a big thing. Our very high inflation is affecting just about everything.

    • cinnamon says:

      oh, and reading: I am waiting for the newest in Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series offshoots, which is actually set in the US. This is great series and if you want to learn quirky things about London it’s a go to. Should arrive tomorrow.

    • Tom says:

      There could be a “Harris-ade” but I guess it’s not in the ones of theirs that I really like, soooo..

      One of the reasons that the City of West Hollywood decided to take over all the parade stuff was that they seemed to be incurring all the costs (security, street closures, messy cleanup) without getting much in the way of revenue shares. I guess they are going to find out if the new arrangement rectifies that. If it doesn’t I think it will be scaled back.

  • Dina C. says:

    That book sounds like a hoot and a half! I’m off to see if my library has it. As you know, Violet Ida had an amber note that was too much of a muchness for me. (Story of my perfume life: I often love the topnotes, rarely love the dry down.) As for reading, I’ve been reading and rereading classic mystery authors the last couple of years. Read all of Patricia Wentworth, Ngaio Marsh, Josephine Tey. Now I’m onto Agatha Christie. I mix it up with some great modern writers of fictional historical mysteries. Haven’t been to a Pride parade but I’m an ally. 🙂

    • Tom says:

      All of those authors are wonderful! This book is great- the copy I just got (to replace the second copy of the paperback I’ve worn out) was decommissioned library book. I think it was $5 with shipping and tax. I feel like an Esker sister!

  • Tara C says:

    Having grown up in San Francisco, I’m pretty certain there’s nothing at a Pride parade that would shock me. We actually are having a Pride month here in Montréal, not just a weekend or even a week. Lots of tourists in town for it. The main street going through the gay village is blocked off to car traffic.

    Never tried Violet Ida, I’ve seen lots of descriptions but I still can’t tell if it would work for me or not, although I love both violets and Iris.

    • Tom says:

      I think the people who are shocked are professionally shocked. Or permanently shocked. Either way they bore me rigid.

  • Musette says:

    LOL! I snerked! at the idea that someone would get all righteous at PRIDE! Lordt. But folks do loves their Righteous Indignation, do they not!?
    That butt sounds… yummy!! I do loves me a gorgeous butt. And they’re not as easy to come by as one might think.
    Violet Ida sounds vaguely…NOT me. Okay – really not me. And I like violet perfumes.
    I’m wearing a lot of sunscreen, which means I smell like suntan lotion, which folks seem to love – I nearly burned my poitrine! and that simply will not do. So I’ll be in some form of sunblock for awhile – and I might as well embrace my Inner Beach Shark, right?

    • Tom says:

      It was a nice one, but (butt?) being, shall we say, pale? the first thing I thought watching the display was not that he’d be red from the ministrations of his pal but from a good hour of showing body part to the sun where it don’t usually shine. Either way I assume he’s sitting gingerly today..