Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Question of the Day: What scent says, to you, "I love you"?

Because I didn't want to go an entire day without some sort of perfume talk, I'd like to pose a question raised for my by one of my favorite shows running on TV right now. I'm a big fan of Bones. FN1 I didn't like the pilot initially, but after David, who liked the show right away, convinced me to watch a few more episodes, I got hooked. Now it's one of "our shows" (to differentiate it from the enormous panoply of TV I watch every week, since I tend to be a multitasker who hates being home alone and must have a TV or music on for company all the time).

Anyway, in Season 2, Episode 9 (Aliens in A Spaceship), one of the male protagonists, Dr. Jack Hodgins, is secretly(ish) in love with one of the female protagonists, Angela Montenegro. FN2 In an effort to express this, he buy her perfume. Specifically a "crazy expensive" perfume, called "Deep Rhapsody." This perfume, shown in a small falcon, is purported to be $3,000 an ounce. In describing it, he says:
I'm nuts about Angela. Over the moon. Stupid in love with her. That's why I bought her that ... that crazy, expensive perfume. A man gives you a bottle of perfume like that, it says ... it says, "I love you". (Brennan nods) There. I said it out loud.
A bottle of perfume that says, "I love you." I know that, in this particular case, Hodgins is describing the obscene gesture, the amount of money spent to buy something rare and fine and intimate in order to tell a woman that he feels that way about her. FN3 But of course, my perfumey brain immediately went to work: what scent to me, if given to me, would say, "I love you"? Clearly. Unequivocally. I love you.

The first scent I thought of was S-Perfume 100% Love, but that might be a bit too....literal? Although I do love it, and it does make me feel comfortable and happy. Something Limited Edition or discontinued or vintage, like L'Artisan Iris Pallida or my beloved Ava Luxe Blackberry Musk or vintage Dior Diorissimo, which is rare and hard to find, just like real love? Something sensual, like Juliette Has a Gun Lady Vengeance (which, to me, is dangerous and provocative) or Tauer Perfumes L'Air du desert marocain (which, to me, is big and audacious and powerful and seductive)?

In the end, though, I guess like Hodgins I think the mere act of perfume giving is an act of loving. It's personal. It's difficult. It's intimate and familiar and it requires taking a risk by having something you find beauty and value in being under appreciated or misunderstood or just flat rejected. Like a handmade Valentine, or a carefully tracked mixed-tape, a gift of perfume says, "I thought about you, and how I feel about you, and I chose this as an expression of my love for you and I hope to hell you appreciate it because it will hurt me if you don't."

It reminds me of my wedding ring. When I first opened the box holding my engagement ring, I had two simultaneous thoughts: (1) Wow, that is not really in almost any way what I told him I wanted -- it's way to frail and thin and tiny and feminine and not at all what I would ever imagine for myself. (2) Wow. That is exactly what I never knew I wanted. It is so thin an delicate and beautiful. I have never seen myself that way. I never even knew I wanted to. I'm so...touched. In choosing this ring, which he had designed without my knowledge, my husband took a big risk in hoping a symbol he wanted me to wear for the rest of my life to represent our love and bond, David was telling me something about me and about his love for me. That is a very vulnerable, and therefore emotionally dangerous, thing to do. Choosing a perfume for someone is, to some degree, the same.

What about you, dear reader? What scents say "love" to you? Perhaps, for me, I was right on the money with 100% Love, after all.

2/12/12 Editors' note: Thanks to Anon for posting in to correct my bad math.  Hodgins bought perfume was $3K for 1/4 ounce. That's $12K an ounce! Hot damn.  That is really expensive perfume.

FN2 I'd have embedded a clip but I couldn't find one. Sad panda. :(
FN3 Please excuse the whole heterosexist and gender essentialist bent of this post. Basically anyone buying anyone else this kind of perfume would probably adequately express deep affection...or a willingness to pay for sex. Depending on how it was presented.


princess glee said...

Ooh, no man I've ever loved or married has ever bought me perfume. What does that mean? That's going to require some thought.

I associate roses with love for all the usual reasons. Still, I find scents with a rose note lovely, touching and beautiful. Frederic Malle's Une Rose, Tauer's Une Rose Chypre, Oha by Teo Cabanel are my top three (for now) that say I love you.

Diana said...

Princess Glee: Oh I love Oha! I could totally see that on my list. David hasn't bought me perfume either; I think that's why I had to make my own list.

I agree on the roses -- I love them and yes, tend to think of them as romantical. I haven't tried Frederic Malle's Une Rose, but I love the other two, so I'll put it on the list.

Anonymous said...

I watched the episode of Bones you mention, and the perfume was $3000 for a quarter ounce. That makes it
$12,000.00 and ounce.

Diana said...

Wow! 12K an ounce!?! Even more off the hook than I'd noticed. Thanks for correcting my math. :)