A rose by any other name

I’ve been on this quest for some new perfume. Not like I don’t own enough, mind you, but I’m a believer in “spicing up” my life, so to speak.

I guess I should start this off by admitting that I was in the perfume department of a major retailer recently, stalking my ever-elusive Yohji Yamamoto for women (not the Yohji Essential, just his plain old signature scent), when I decided that maybe I need to give up the ghost and try something new.

There are some things that should never be done “on the cheap” — my grandmother was insistent that a woman must own gorgeous designer fragrances and that there are different types of scents to have on hand for different types of occasions (day events, night events, stay-at-home events, etc.). And, alas, nothing feels more delicious than pampering oneself with some wildly expensive and oh-so-sensual scents.


First of all, ladies, when shopping for cologne, I’m going to give you a tip — carry a small bag of coffee beans with you. A lot of these places sell Godiva chocolates, too, which means they also sell the coffee line — I insist that you snag a bag for the journey.

Why? Because after awhile, everything starts to smell alike. The coffee beans/grounds will clear your mind. Hell, I even told the salesgirls to just park the damned Godiva display next to the perfume tester areas — customers would thank them. Although perhaps they’d lose sales, as I think the coffee smells WAY better than some of the cheap-hooker perfumes that these huge designers are cranking out by the gallon.


Case in point: “Curious” by Britney Spears and Paris Hilton’s “Trailer Trash-O-Rama.” Well, that isn’t its real name, but bear with me here.

I was sniffing Sarah Jessica Parker’s “Lovely,” which is actually very nice and on my consideration list. It hints at my all-time favorite and even signature scent — “Romance” by Ralph Lauren — so I’m definitely into it.

But the salesgirl thought I was looking at the Paris fragrance and asked if I liked it. I laughed in her face and told her it reeked of a brothel.

She wasn’t impressed with me at all. 🙂

I refrained from further bashing celebrity scents, although Amalah’s prediction that a perfume by Tara Reid would reek of chlamydia and condoms did pop into my head right at that very moment. 😉

Unrelated, I’ve seen “Curious” repackaged in tinier vials and merchandised in Claire’s and other low-end jewelry stores. I suppose everyone finally got the message that women my age and older are NOT going to be buying it (count me OUT if it means I will be attracted to/by a Kevin Federline-type), so let the kiddies smell like their favorite pop princess. Ugh, but oh well.


Fragrances invoke memories, that’s a given. But lately, I threw out a bunch of perfumes, lotions and the like because their scents were transporting me back in time to an era that doesn’t exactly bring me joy to recall. For instance, much as I loved the “Moonlight Path” line from Bath and Body Works, I can never smell it again — reminds me of sad and desperate times.

After the salesgirl realized my tastes are far superior to the Paris scent, she took me to the best of the best, whereupon I Fell. In. Love. with a scent. I can’t actually name it because I know a male blogreader who wears it (while I love men’s cologne and occasionally buy it for myself, this was in fact the feminine version) and we ain’t tryin’ to get into trouble here. 🙂

In any event, I actually let her test it *on* me , and I walked through the mall, sniffing myself for hours and loving it more and more as it got to breathe, so I know I love this cologne.

BUT. …

The problem being, of course, when you associate fragrances with memories. This includes and is not limited to what you think of the persons it reminds you of.


The problem is that the scent reminds me of someone who is, well, an assclown. And who wants to smell like a horse’s ass?


Wouldn’t it be my absolute luck to fall in love with a fragrance that would serve as a daily reminder of someone whom I’d love to forget?

9 Responses to A rose by any other name

  1. Pratt :

    I saw a perfume for Camptown Ladies it’s called “Eau de Doo Dah Day”. Ouch that joke is soooooo bad.

  2. Ted :

    A little WD-40 behind the ear will snag you a redneck. For a Yankee, try buffalo wing sauce. For a rich Floridian retiree, try BenGay.

  3. Michael :

    It’s a sign that your mission in life is to safe the scent from being associated with assclowns. You could be its own, personal Jesus.

  4. kob :

    loved this post, lyrical and engaging trek through something new, for me, at least.

  5. Washington Cube :

    Go to Sephora and try Hanae Mori’s original scent. Men love it. It’s light and delicate. Also seek out Ferre 20, Ungaro’s Desnuda and Boucheron’s Trouble for well…trouble.

  6. Victor :

    Nic uses Hooters Chicken Wing Sauce for me.

  7. Whiskypants :

    Have you tried Issey Miyake? I have a friend who loves it. I tend to prefer the more exotic scents like Lolita Lempicka or Annick Goutal’s Les Nuits De Hadrien. And I like Nordstrom’s policy of making you a little sample tube if you want to try one out before buying.

    I love your blog template.

  8. Caterwauling » Blog Archive » Scents and sensibility :

    […] n’s “Sense and Sensibility.” In my earlier post about perfume shopping, “A rose by any other name,” I had mentioned that there was a fragrance I really, REALLY wanted. E […]

  9. Caterwauling :

    […] I have oft waxed poetic about my love affair with designer colognes here. And it’s funny because, in addition to people always stopping me and swearing that they know me from somewhere, they also sniff me and say I remind them of somewhere or someone. […]