Thursday, January 17, 2019
Today I am grateful for perfume. As long as it stays in the bottle. . .or the bedroom. I have had a love/hate/love/hate/hate/hate relationship with perfume that goes back as far as my aging memory.
When I was a kid we had grandparents that lived an hour away. A couple of times a year our folks would pile my sister and me into the back seat of whatever car dad was driving from the lot he worked at, but probably a 1958 Mercury Monterey and we’d head out on the two-lane highway for a visit.
Before we even got out of the driveway I was begging to have a window open. My mom would shout, “Don’t open the window! You’ll mess up my hair!” Really? Can you mess up an Aqua Net sprayed football helmet? So, no windows.
By the time we hit the highway dad was lighting up a Camel and mom a Belair menthol. During this phase she’d open the wing-window so the smoke could go out. As if. Mom always liked and still does like strong perfume. “To A Wild Rose,” by Avon was her favorite. But she didn’t spritz a little bit behind her ears, or dab some on her wrist. She spray painted herself in the stuff like she was a peeling barn door that needed priming.
So let’s re-cap. An almost air-tight car. The back seat. Strong perfume. Enough hair spray to kill insects and children. Unfiltered cigarettes. Menthol cigarettes. And they wondered why I barfed! “I don’t know why you always get sick when we go somewhere,” my mom would say to me as we walked along the highway, me carrying the Piggly Wiggly bag they always took along “just in case”. I figure I logged about 400 miles in those days along the road and seriously would have rather walked all the way than be stuck in that car of stinks.
Invariably I was given front seat privileges, by the window, which I could crack about an eighth of an inch if it wasn’t winter or my mom would freeze. Otherwise I had to stick my nose as close as I could get it to that wing window and hope dad didn’t hit the brake suddenly. Yup, no seat belts, either, but that’s a good thing because it’s one less thing to think about when you are trying to make a projectile-puking exit in a still moving car.
The trauma continued well into my adult life. When Himself and I were first married his company wanted to use a perfume bottle as the potential design for a faucet handle. They snapped for the vial and I got the contents. At dinner during a weekend in Chicago, a fancy waiter said to me, “Madam. Your Georgio smells terrific.” I was impressed he knew the name and felt quite pleased with my sexy self.
Until the strong scent, which I had put on very sparingly, started to give me a headache. And made me nauseous. I tried to push through, but when I started having visions of the back of that Mercury Monterey and seeing the highway beneath my feet carrying a soggy Piggly Wiggly bag, I made a bee-line to the ladies room and washed that perfume off before I wretched right into my expensive dinner. See how sexy I was.
The attendant, (yes, I used to frequent places that had restroom attendants) tried not to give me the stink-eye as I frantically grabbed terrycloth towel after towel from her, dipped them under the cool faucet and proceeded to not only wash off all of my expensive stink, but every lick of makeup I had on, too. I assured her I was not a homeless person who had just wandered in, but was having a bad reaction to my perfume. She smiled and worked to hide my debris. I had escaped the table purse-less, but made sure she got a healthy tip later!
Then, just last week at the movie theater, I was all cozied into my assigned seat watching the previews when I smelled a woman long before I saw her. Oh boy, I thought! Is my mom here? Her aroma wafted to my seat as she entered and I prayed she would go to a higher seat, far away from me. No luck. Right behind me. Barf! The movie was good, so I didn’t barf, but I had to work hard not to, eating that popcorn like I was a horse wearing a feeding bag. Charming. I know. Pity Himself.
Because of these traumas, I would like to offer suggestions for those who like perfume.
First: Remember it’s for you or your significant other, not anyone else. Anyone. I don’t want to smell it if I’m two cars behind you at a drive-through; It isn’t necessary to slather yourself to go to a movie; and you don’t need it to work at the Shop Rite. If you work anywhere give them a break. This should be written in company handbooks.
Second: Now that I have asthma you become a medical nightmare for me so please don’t wear it at all.
Third: If you’re travelling on any form or public transportation use soap and only soap.
Fourth: I have never been on a cruise, but I’ve been on a fishing boat on the Atlantic and that was ugly enough without perfume, so I can’t imagine how bad it would have been with it.
Fifth: I don’t really have a fifth, but I thought I needed one to hammer-home the point that not everyone thinks you smell good.
Some people will think you smell like the back of a 1958 Mercury Monterey, even without the cigarettes and hairspray. If you see them in your wake, hauling out inhalers or gasping on the floor, please don’t run over to help. You’ll only make it worse. Get to the nearest restroom, with or without an attendant, and wash that crap off!
In my opinion (and we all know I love sharing my opinion), perfume is best left in the bottle. . .or in the bedroom. . .but not out in public. Wait. What’s that smell?