I don't know what it is about my body chemistry when it comes to cologne or perfume, but what smells wonderful to me in the store ends up making me smell as if I tangled with the north end of a southbound skunk when I use the stuff at home.
I've never had much luck with perfume. Back when I was in junior high, the only one we girls could afford was something called Blue Waltz. It cost about a dollar a gallon and had such a strong, sweet scent to it, every time we went outside, swarms of bees attacked us.
One day, however, my bottle of Blue Waltz mysteriously disappeared. Years later, my mother confessed that she'd poured it down the toilet because the smell of it gave her a headache and made her want to lose her lunch. Somehow, when I bought it, that wasn't exactly the effect I'd been hoping for.
I have been trying for years to find a scent I really like. I prefer something light, with a citrus base. I don't like anything with musk.
Back in 1992, I thought I'd finally found the perfect scent. It was called Skin Cooler by Bonne Bell, and it smelled of lemons and very faint flowers. I bought it and sprayed some on myself and surprisingly, it didn't turn into something that smelled like lighter fluid the minute it hit my skin. I loved it.
But my years of experience have taught me that the minute I say I like something, it usually meets a swift, untimely death. Bonne Bell Skin Cooler was no exception. I spent years searching endlessly for more of it without any success. Then I got my first computer and was able to expand my search to the wide world of the Internet. I nearly jumped up and danced a jig when I found a wholesale perfume store that carried Skin Cooler. I immediately ordered two bottles.
I don't know how long that Skin Cooler had been sitting around in the wholesaler's warehouse, but it was so old, it smelled as if it had fermented into something that was about 100-proof.
To make my long-time search for the perfect scent even worse, my late husband was very fussy about colognes and perfumes. Every scent I tried over the years was met with a less-than-enthusiastic response from him.
For example, we were in a restaurant one day and he casually mentioned that he liked the perfume our waitress was wearing. Eager to finally find a scent he actually liked, I asked her what she was wearing. The next day, I rushed out to buy some.
When my husband came home from work the next night, I was wearing my new perfume.
He wrinkled his nose. "What stinks?"
"It's that perfume you liked so much on the waitress yesterday!" I said.
"Smelled much better on her," he said.
"That's probably because she was carrying a big tray of burgers at the time!" I snapped. "I'll bet if they had a scent called 'Eau de Whopper' you'd love it!"
I finally just gave up on colognes and perfumes and didn't wear any for a long time. Then one day, I was in a local pharmacy when a woman passed by me and I caught a whiff of a nice light-floral scent.
I chased after her and practically leapt in front of her to stop her.
“I love your cologne!” I gushed. “What brand is it?”
"It's called, 'Falling in Love'," she said. "I get lots of compliments on it."
So once again, I searched the Internet. “Falling in Love,” from what I could tell, had been discontinued (the story of my life). I finally found a few bottles, most of them partially used, on Ebay, where the cologne was listed as a “rare” item. I eventually found a new, unused bottle, but the price made me think twice about buying it. I mean, I could have bought a keg of my old junior-high favorite, Blue Waltz, for the same price. But finally, out of sheer desperation, I decided to splurge and ordered it.
It arrived and smelled great in the bottle – even better than I’d remembered it on the woman in the pharmacy. The minute I sprayed it on myself, however, my body chemistry transformed it into something that smelled like old bananas.
My dogs ran up to me, took a sniff, and immediately backed away.
Well, I don't care if "Falling in Love" smells like "Falling into Overripe Bananas" on me. I don't even care that I'll probably attract fruit flies whenever I wear it. For what I paid for the stuff, I'm going to use every drop of it.
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