'Tis International Talk Like a Pirate Day.
(Thanks to pirate bits like that, th' tongue can be shared across th' Seven Seas...what ye lads and lassies yell te be "intarnashn'l.")
|Shiver me timbers, 'tis Anne Bonny!|
(That thar be a bucko emoticon, if yer fixin' to savvy.)
Also today, perhaps and perhaps not, the anniversary of the creation of the emoticon. Wired is running a "This Day in Tech" bit about the purported perpetrator of perplexing symbolage, Scott Fahlman. However, the story of the attempt to concoct symbolry to clarify text communications gets immediately murky, for as Wired points out, typesetters have been pressing (HA!) type-based non-verbal communication upon us for many moons before that.
Oddly, I myself had a bit of an emotical dust-up with the OAITH (Other Adult in the House), when he perceived that a virtual missive I sent came with barbed tongue, rather than gentle greeting. Why?
That's right, a smiley face.
Apparently, geeks have used this archly, to convey, well, an edgyness, rather than the placid contentment I was trying to convey.
The scallywag was ready to hop aboard the Man-O-War and make sharkbait o' me.
Fortunately, all was cleared up before he blew the messenger down. But Blimey! who knew I had stepped into a bilge-sucking morass of hempen halter code.
So, I've been thinking on these two things today, Local Talk Like a Pirate But Watch Yer Emoticons Day.
And then of course, fixed it upon myself to link it all to perfume.
What perfumes have the potential to flub the message between perfume-lubbers? Or even perfume lovers, for that matter?
I for one hold Chanel No. 19 aloft. You know, Luca Turin's wire-hanger mother? The one folks refer to as "cold" and "distance keeping"? I mean, okay, the galbanum is bracing, but people, there is green flower in there. I don't wear it as a "buzz off" kind of fragrance; I wear it in the same manner I might pick a pair of Italian shoe boots for the day. They are both beautiful, have clean lines, and support me when I need to attend to business, but don't quite cross over into bee-yotch territory.
Not to me, at least.
Here, here's another one: Serge Lutens Musc Kublai Khan. You know what that says to me? It says "me and my men have just been out riding on horses and camels for a few days with no shower in sight and we might have rolled in something along the way and we're just going to plonk down next to you here and if you don't like it you better run FAST because we're already enveloping you and if you don't faint you might retch." You know what I've heard someone else say about it? "MMMMmmmm, cozy."
Is what we have here a failure to communicate? In this case, I don't think so; I think here it is simply different languages. Like, say, German and Chinese. Phonemes and graphemes. You say potato, I say rubber stamp. Because I think we are not even experiencing the same thing, let alone deciding what that something means. So let me take this moment to clarify what I am trying to find in terms of examples of perfume mis-communication: We both agree it is a smiley face. I mean, say, a lily of the valley. But what does lily of the valley signify?
Speaking of lily of the valley, let's hop to that gem of a note for the moment. Have you noticed folks waxing nostalgic about, say, Diorissimo? It is a lovely creation. I can acknowledge that a) it smells like lily of the valley, and b) it is pretty. But from there, you and I might diverge. Because, truth be told (here I go into a Very Quiet Voice, so as not to offend), it is this|close to being, well...simpering. Blow me down if one of my fiercest friends, she who dons Mitsouko like a cutlass and Femme like a come hither va-voom dress, says it makes her feel pretty. Me? I feel like...oh, I don't know, Nellie Olsen, stripped of sass, left with nothing but banana curls and a very clean pinafore.
Hey, speaking of Femme...let's talk cumin for a moment. There's a note that I frequently find myself nodding along with the crowd when we determine whether or not it is present. But then...what does it mean, to have it there? To me, it's generally B.O. or panties, which trust me, in my world does not mean "come hither." It means hither was reached 3-5 hours ago. But wait, that's not how I *receive* a message, that's how I interpret what is sent. Hmmm.
Here. How about Big Flower Bombs, and/or Big White Florals. Like...let's go classic here...Fracas. What does that say to you? Sexy bombshell coming through? Or Tennessee Williams character who is slightly unaware of being past prime? Undulating vixen? Or flat footed floozy with floy, floy?
It's a problem that has been posed before: for whom is our message in the bottle? Sender, or receiver? Directly connected of course to the question "do you wear perfume for yourself, or for others"?
All I know is, there are times when folks have described what message a particular scent conveys, and my head tilts to the side. ("Are you talkin' to ME?") But I know that unless they ARE talking to me, there's room for different translations.
However, if we are trying to talk to each other, it would probably be best if we made sure our lingua franca was all simpatico.
image of Anne Bonny taken from Hanging Cup Pictures,
also found at the delightful Geography All The Way
engraving apparently by the peripatetic "anonymous"
oil painting of a message in a bottle by Nancy Poucher at Daily Painting