One misty morning in a German train station, I passed an impeccably dressed man. In his perfectly tailored suit, he not only looked fantastic, but he carried himself like a man who knew his role in the world. I did a made-for-movies double-take and turn.
Later, he made his way into the same train car and his perfect English made the conversation easy. I was on vacation and had a rudimentary grasp of the German language. And while tempted, I certainly was incapable of translating you smell delicious. Before departing, I wanted to ask him what he was wearing. But I didn't and our routes took us in different directions.
As a child, I was exposed to the gorgeous scents and beautiful bottles of perfume. From my Mom I learned the power of scent and often, when she would leave, I would tip toe into her room and spray some of her perfume on my wrists. I would spend the rest of the day feeling glamorous and grown up.
However, it is also during this time I learned you do not sample and spray from every bottle on the dressing table at one time if you want to spend the rest of the day with yourself. And should you make this faux pas, you should have a response prepared when your Mom smells you and asks if you have been playing with her perfume. A proper response: I wanted to come up with a signature scent so I layered several together. A poor response: Your perfume? NO. Right. First, she is far more clever. And secondly, there is no other means to create that smell unless I just took a plunge into a whorehouse. Even the most heavenly perfumes do not smell great mixed together.
But my love of perfume bloomed. And it is a beauty staple I don’t go without even for a day. I tie perfume to memories, impressions, places. My first favorites were my Mom’s. Especially the bottle of Roma I bought her in Italy. My first real bottle was Christian Dior’s Dolce Vita, a scent I still love though cannot easily find.
And then Issey Miyake, Gucci Rush, Gucci Envy, Lolita Lempicka, Herve Leger. And to my collection I have added Mme Chanel, Badgley Mischka, Romero Britto, and my new favorites from Jo Malone. I feel about perfume the way some women feel about shoes. (Ok, I feel pretty strongly about shoes as well.)
And I feel the same way about cologne. And everytime JohnnyMac wears it (albeit not every day) I appreciate that the scent of something can remind you of a starry night, or an interlude, a wedding in spring, or your last tango in Paris. And for me, perfume or cologne is one of the few things that can rouse memories and emotions ranging from new and sweet to sultry sex.
When I was in Atlanta only a few months, I met someone. His cologne immediately jettisoned me back to the train station in Germany. The exact scent could not be forgotten so I inquired. What was he wearing? Chanel Egoiste Platinum. I bought a bottle for myself and still wear it. Men's cologne? On a woman? Try it. It can be amazing. And I wear it not as a reminder of the man but as a reminder of just how stirring a great elixir can be.