Then this opened among the supermarket bouquet sitting on the kitchen counter. Oink, oink, people. Not as an idea, or an association, or something seen on the other side of a transparency.
I could have sworn the langorous sow on the flyer for my preferred porcine purveyor was looking longingly toward the counter.
Or was that fright on her face?
Over the weekend, Victoria at Bois de Jasmin asked about changes in perfume taste. I was so already there. You see, on Friday, I had an arranged date with Musc Ravageur, goosed on by a friend who thought it was a crime against perfamity that I had given my sample away to another perfume person. The decant arrived unannounced earlier in the week, with a lovely note, saying "For Pete's sake, you need some Musc Ravageur." How to tell her that thing had been a beast on me and in my nose whenever I smelled it on someone else? And by beast, I mean half-skank animal. Not in a good way. Just...beast.
I waited until the next day. Then, out of a sense of duty and perhaps morbid curiosity, I sprayed. There was the animal...but also something warm and spicy. And the drydown? Be still my heart. Which is to say, my heart slowed down. In a purr of comfort. Sure, the animal was still there, but now it was in a pen with things spicy (cinnamon?) and things warm (musk, the non-dirty veer). Other things bouncing around, but unidentified. Maybe even vanilla? In a way, it did not matter, because it wasn't all about the beast.
The animalic perfume Grinch's heart grew two sizes that day.
Meanwhile, a stargazer lily became Roast Beast.
So, with not one, but two exemplary anecdotes about changes in smell, I started to formulate this post. Not the first time I'd dealt with situations in which I'd changed my mind about a perfume, but the first time I had crossed the zone into enjoying bedding down with a beast. It was time, I thought, to bring out Psych 101: the "I Like You THIS MUCH" chart. A little foursquare that has been in my head since I first laid eyes on my "good heavens, are they all going to cost this much???" textbook by Philip K. Zimbardo. Anyway, the idea I
- When you meet someone, you make an initial decision about whether you like them or dislike them. You get to know them. You come to a conclusion, a sort of game show Final Answer about how you feel about them. The interesting observation made by the study? Of those people the subjects ended up liking, or deeming "friends," they felt the most strongly about those whom they had initially disliked.
...but this thing with Musc Ravageur is going to be interesting. Because suddenly, after years of avoiding it, I want more. I had to work HARD to find a way to like this one. In fact, it was probably a little birdie in my ear, a friend who I trusted who said "really, I find value in this
Are we fickle? Do our noses/tastes/sensibilities learn, and therefore adapt, and therefore change their minds? Or do we need to consider another principle in the equation, one I learned in cognitive psych --humans have very powerful mechanisms to justify their choices and/or actions in the face of dissonance.
Meanwhile, the Roast Beast was wafting. Trying to trap me inside, I think. Swoop my right past those powdery anthers into the heart of the beast. Meanwhile, yet another voice joined the chorus: "do you ever change your mind about perfume?"
A ha ha ha ha ha.....
Sure, I do. Witness Chanel No. 19, which was a welt-raising slap of galbanum the first time I tried it. But I really hate when people call things that seem "cold" "heartless," which was what I kept reading from others. I lucked into a 1/5 full bottle of vintage edp. "Heartless"? Silly people. It keeps a cool exterior for the get to know you period, because it is so heartbreakingly beautiful on the dry down. Score another point for that "you love best that which is first difficult" idea.
Witness also Apres L'Ondee, which when I first tried it seemed like a wan flower, and not much more. Mind you, I am a fan of quiet, in people and in perfume; this one just didn't seem to have much...depth. Interest. And was offering a note I wasn't particularly fond of. WAIT!! No need to scream "heretic!" I tried some parfum. Vintage. And saw into its depths, and found its development, and saw just how beautiful that one main something was. Changed my mind again.
But let us consider the other corner on the "I've gotten to know you" side of the foursquare. Bois des Isles, I have always loved you. Poeme, I'll never tell anyone publicly, but I'll never trade you away. Bulgari Au The Vert? Prada Infusion d'Iris? Hermes Hiris? All loves at first sight. And I still feel it whenever I spray.
Consider also something that falls outside the chart, or better put, beyond the left edge of the chart, items whose entry point is not yet decided:
So, let's see, on the positive integration side, there's "I have always loved you" and "I learned to love you," plus the nether zone known as To Be Determined. On the negative outcome side, as yet unconsidered, is "I loved you at first but now I don't" and "I have always disliked you."
Yeah, I've got ones for those categories, too.
Oh, and there's the far right, the side beyond conclusions. The part I call "changed my mind," even after making conclusions. Yes, Victoria, there is a changed my mind clause.
Meanwhile, the Roast Beast continues to blast its meaty call. Another bud is threatening to open. There is something obscene about this flower, about this ostentatious display in the kitchen. Not the ridiculous juxtaposition of ordinary brown freckles against exotic deep pink petals--which is pretty showy--but this horrible intense food smell coming from not fauna but flora. Double ridiculous is that it seems wrong in the kitchen, but equally wrong in the living room. Or the bedroom. Or the bathroom. Whether I should separate it from the more decorous flowers in the bunch. I can't figure out what to do with it.
(Maybe it belongs in a vase next to my Love Speaks Primeval. A visual and olfactory pairing of voluptuous ham and seductive foie gras.)
When it comes to what I now get out of that flower, we've got a strong case of "Take Me to Your Leader." As in, the alien has landed, right there on my kitchen counter, next to the sink.
While our drama unfolds, the lunchmeat languishes in the refrigerator.
And musk, civet, and castoreum whisper from the drawer and closet upstairs.
mug shot of the carnal perpetrator in floral clothing is author's own