The aroma of bread rising in my grandmother’s kitchen was the loveliest fragrance of all

perfumes3A woman’s perfume tells more about her than her handwriting.
Christian Dior

There is a certain woman of ‘senior’ mien who frequents a nearby supermarket. A nearby supermarket that I also frequent.

When I spy this person I pray that I will not be caught in a checkout line with her in front of me or behind me.

That is because this same woman is absolutely drenched in the awfulest cheapshit perfume with an intensity that makes your eyes water and your head spin. I’d rather smell a heat-ripe outhouse, to be honest than to smell her pong which I call Eau de Baghdad Whorehouse. Does she have some condition that renders bathing impossible? Does she deem this stink to be preferable?

I mean to say I am in no way neurotic about people wearing scent, I only say that they should select carefully and be prepared to pay a few bucks more than a dollar a gallon.

For, on the other side of the spectrum I know of a woman who is so fanatical about the scent-wearing propensity of others that she refuses to be in the same room with a person who is wearing even noticeable deodorant or shampoo essences.

I find myself part-way in between. I have no problem with les parfums provided they are applied sparingly and not in lieu of bathing. Furthermore, and maybe I’m kind of a snob about his, it should be the good stuff – you know, Chanel or Lanvin.

Perfumes, in the days when they were used regularly, also provided a direct association with the wearer. I liked going into a room that had been occupied by somebody I fancied who used a particular scent because the scent would remind me instantly of her, since the sense of smell is so powerfully evocative and reminiscent.

When I was a young guy and got involved in a heavy necking (or more) session with a girl who was perfumed I’d sometimes smell my shirt for days afterward just to bring her presence back. I suspect I wasn’t alone in doing that.

A young female friend many years ago used a scent I found particularly appealing. It was kind of citrusy and I immediately associated it with her when I detected it on anybody. It was called Anais-Anais, and it was an enticing fragrance. So, I bought a bottle of it for my ex-wife thinking in my perverse manner at the time it would remind me of my friend. By the way, my friend was emphatically not ‘that kind of a friend’. Anyway, my wife applied it but it was somehow different. I then found that due to body chemistry different scents do different things for different people.

As for me, years ago I was inclined to use colognes. Haven’t done so now in years. Quite frankly most male fragrances are kind of cloying and unpleasant and some, like Jade East of the old days are quite disgusting.

A bit of advice, however, for aspiring young swains who want to win a girl’s heart and whatever other bits they hanker after. Find out is she has a good relationship with her father, and then find out what sort of cologne or after-shave he uses, and use it.

I used to work with a rather sad and struggling alcoholic and we always knew when he was back on the sauce because he’d step up his cologne use to a disgusting level. I’d have preferred to smell the booze on his breath that he was trying to hide.

That all said, I still don’t mind a delicate and classy fragrance on a woman who has dabbed it where it should be dabbed. Just sayin’






10 responses to “The aroma of bread rising in my grandmother’s kitchen was the loveliest fragrance of all

  1. I rarely wear perfume. I like it, I have several, but somehow I never think to spritz the stuff on. I sorta feel like a fraud in perfume.

    What is it with old women and stinky perfume. A friend of mine has a theory that they only wear it when they go “out” and thus the stuff lasts forever and they’re all wearing 30 year old perfume that’s waaay past it’s best before date.

    • I think you may be right about old women and crappy perfume. I mean, the crap this woman wears must date back to 1942. It’s too bad though that perfume of a decent sort has slipped out of vogue. Wendy doesn’t use it yet I always loved buying perfume for a special lady.

  2. My scent is a spicy, musky vanilla. Generally, my body chemistry doesn’t combine well with colognes, but this one works in a mysterious, sexy, sweet-but-not-too-sweet kind of way.

    My grandmother always smelled like Chanel and talc. It was an interesting combination.

    • Mmm, sounds quite lovely. Can I come and visit? Oh, right you’re already taken. So am I, come to think of it. You had me though at mysterious and sexy. Chanel and talc probably wouldn’t be disagreeable. My grandmother always smelled like Yardley’s Lavender.

  3. Interesting that you have a quote from Christian Dior. I wear the first fragrance he ever created, Miss Dior, that is increasingly hard to find here. No Yardley’s for me, thanks.

  4. My grandmother had something called Youth Dew by Chanel – I always thought it had a powdery smell. I bet that’s what Boston’s grandmother wore.
    When I sold shoes at a department store as a teen, I was across the aisle from the perfume counter. When I was bored I’d try scents and found that many did not like me – specifically Emeraude which turned into something toxic on my skin. In my young adult years I wore Chloe and everyone loved it on me.
    Now that I’m older and so very very dry, I have to cover myself in body lotion, so I use that as my scent: Sea Island Cotton for the hot months and Twilight Woods for the cold months (both by Bath & Bodyworks). I have had compliments on both. The weirdest was a few months ago at a party goods store. A store employee was helping me locate something. The guy must have been no more than 24. He was tall and leaned down, took a big whiff near my neck and said, “You smell really nice.”

  5. My maternal grandmother wore lavender…not scent, but from the dried flowers in her clothes presses.
    My paternal grandmother wore Mint Imperials…
    My mother wore Chanel no. 5 which I dislike to this day.
    But none of them stank of cheap alcohol based scent dating from the dark ages, thank goodness.

    Me? I wore’ Bal a Versailles’ for years…then ‘Joy’, but the price of pong is rising to a level that revolts my Scots instincts…so it’ll probably be back to the mint imperials shortly…

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