Every once in a while someone will venture far enough into my personal space that they are able to smell my perfume and either note the scent, compliment and leave it at that, or pry further and deign to ask me what I’m wearing. I do not provide specifics. I give top notes if I like you.
Mainly I wear the scent I do for my own personal pleasure. There’s comfort in a familiar scent, for instance in the New York summer heat, when the wafting of garbage is particularly offensive. It’s nice to raise a wrist to a nose and keep walking.
The perfume I wear is completely unobtrusive, and you really have to get in close to smell it. In the past I’ve worn more...outgoing scents. Angel by Thierry Mugler, anyone? The first time I experienced it was in seventh grade. One of my girlfriends wore it, and as most seventh graders do, I wanted to dress, act, and smell like my friends. I also found it intoxicating (it has chocolate notes in it!) So when a trip to Paris the following summer held the promise of a visit to Sephora (there wasn’t one in Colorado, my home state, then) I dragged my family away from the sights and into the fluorescent glow of the store to seek out my Angel (by Thierry Mugler.)
One spray of Angel and everyone in the room, and whoever is in the room after you leave, will know that you are wearing it. When a large percentage of the girls you know partake, no one in the population in question seems to mind. This sisterhood of the popular perfume works in one’s favor in many situations, for instance when getting ready to go out in someone else’s dorm room.
It has its dark side as well, as I would find out. I proudly wore my Parisian eau de parfum from eighth grade until mid way through my freshman year of college in California. Specifically the relationship ended between winter break and spring break, around the time I was hanging out with a boy who, in real life, is not named Kyle.
I’d had a crush on Kyle for months before he ever kissed me, and we’d been spending time together before then in groups that included friends of mine who he’d also gone to high school with. One who also, unsurprisingly, wore Angel.
So though I shouldn’t have been so surprised, I was still highly offended when mid-kiss, to my horror, Kyle pulled back and in his Newport-Beach-surfer-boy way said, “Mmm, you smell like Molly.” (Also not her real name.)
That was the end of my relationship with Angel. Kyle lasted a few more weeks.
It was in that dismayed moment that I cut myself off cold turkey. I’d still sniff extra hard in the direction of friends who wore it; I loved the smell. But I couldn’t bring myself to smell like anyone else anymore. Scent is just too personal.