Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Reeking Stench of Bitterness (aka Scents for When I am All Bad Moody)

Get that AWAY FROM ME!
There are some days when I wake up, get dressed, trundle over to my perfume cabinet and shudder in horror at the thought of wearing some of my truly beloved scents.


I overslept, my hair is wet, I don't have a stitch of make-up on, and my general attitude is that the world at large should just be glad I got out of bed and participated today. In other words, I am feeling, if you'll pardon the expression, like hammered shit, and there is no way I feel bold and sassy enough for a dose of Tauer Perfumes Une Rose Chypre, or beautiful enough for my tiny vial of Robert Piguet Fracas parfum, or thin enough for a hit of vintage Caron Tabac Blond, or sexy enough for my roller of DSH Perfumes Erotica.

Everything I pick up is like that quote from High Fidelity: "The thing I really learned from the Charlie Debacle is that you gotta punch your weight. Charlie was out of my class: too pretty, too smart, too witty, too much." There are days when a lot of my favorite scents are, quite frankly, too pretty, too bold, too sexy, too classy -- too much. I can't face them. I want to go back to bed and only strength of will and a desire not to get canned in the worst economy in a century make me do otherwise.

On these days, it can be very hard to find a fragrance and you definitely do not want to be testing anything, because the anxiety of trying something beautiful in an awful mood and hating it is deeply depressing in its own right. To that end, here are some thoughts on scenting your way through the dark down days.

~ Don't be afraid to be a coward. ~

A lot of people will tell you try new scents, look for inspiration, challenge yourself to rise above it and find the invigorating meat of life that will help you turn your mood around. To these folks I say, SHUT IT. In the immortal words of Winona Ryder in Heathers, "If you were happy every day of your life, you wouldn't be a person. You'd be a game show host." You're not doing yourself or any hard working perfumer a favor if the stream of cursing running through your mind as you spritz on a new scent is filth of the order most frequently uttered by eight-year-old boys who have just acquired a naughty vocab and are out of their parents' earshot. Run, don't walk, from challenging material. Be a coward today; it's cool. We all do it sometimes.

In bad moods people tend to: eat their favorite foods, wear their snuggly pajamas, watch their favorite movies. We seek, in a word, comfort. The unknown is not comforting. Because I'm not talking about ennui here; that's a different problem. FN1. I'm talking about a black mood, Sally, and not one born of the cumulative circumstances in a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, which might be overcome by a good ending a beautiful scent might provide because you're open to such a possibility. I'm talking about waking up on the wrong side of the bed and knowing the day will suck because you are in the mood to refuse any argument to the contrary.

On such a day, wear something you have absolutely no complaint about. If you have always and will ever after, Amen, loved Guerlain Shalimar or can’t get enough of Channel No. 5 EDT, bust that baby out. If you're ready to bite the heads off everyone, don't let a challenging scent get in the way.

This is my FIGHT FACE!
~ Wear a scent you already unconditionally love even if it is common, bad, or otherwise embarrassing. ~ 

Yes! Embrace the known, the overworn, the possibly common and mundane. If you have a big bottle of Estee Lauder White Linen or Ceasar Woman lurking in the back of the closet because you like them and don't care if other people think they are overworn or smell cheap or just all around suck in general, bring it out into the light. Have a brief, torrid, public love affair with banality! Love your bottle of GAP So Pink! with all your heart. You were already in the mood to tell the world “Screw You!” for the sake of it; you might as well wear a scent that might give you the opportunity.

~ Wear a scent that others find boring. ~

Yep. You've all got one. I know you do. You've got a scent you love but other people think smells like a dryer sheet, or you think smells like winter and noses in the knowes think of as white noise. Normally your friends notice and comment on the olfactory beauty in your wake, or hug you and say, "You smell wonderful, (sigh) as always," and then grill you on your recent scent choices. Perhaps on another day you might not want to admit that next to that $300 bottle of LE L'Artisan lurks a bottle of Paris Hilton Fairy Dust, but I say now is the hour of your reckoning! Get down with that reject scent; you're already feeling rejected and full of bile. Spray it all over and then if someone frowns at you, wave your arms wildly, spreading your averageness around like an obscuring cloud of scent underachievement.

~ Wear a scent that flies a little under the radar. ~

I have some very lovely scents that wear close to the skin and, unless you actually get closer than eight inches to me, you would never know they were there. FN2. These are the scents I am most likely to turn to when my mood is more rotten than a crab apple full of worms. Not because there is anything shameful or embarrassing or boring or wrong with them. Simply because the only statement I am hoping to make today is one to myself, a small reminder that despite the general bitterness eating at me these long hours, tomorrow will be better.

Must remember:
Not a workplace
appropriate response!
In these moods, I really like green scents. I like to use DSH Perfumes Hemlock or a little Miller et Bertaux No. 3 Green, Green, Green, Green to help assuage my ill temperament, though the latter is almost too large sillage-wise for this mood. Big sillage means attracting attention, and in this mood, I want no such thing. I know on these days I can be hard to deal with; no need to inflict that on anyone but myself. FN3. I need to purchase JoAnne Bassett's Night Queen, not because it isn't beautiful or glorious on me, but because I think I would find it equally silver-lining inspiring.

Another scent I find really comforting is Demeter Fragrance Library Salt Air, which has a harsh edge to it and isn't super low sillage, but doesn't necessarily smell perfumey, and therefore is unnoticed by everyone but me. There is something about being able to put my headphones on with the volume cranked and close my eyes and give my wrist a little sniff and pretend for a few minutes I am not trapped at work but instead barreling down the highway along the coast with the windows down that makes me feel a tiny bit better.

You know what else is comforting? Foodie scents. L'Artisan Bois Farine, aka the infamous "bread hologram" is really comforting and moderate to low sillage in smallish doses. Another scent that makes me feel better on a bad day is Olympic Orchids Carolina, which smells like banana bread and is similar to Washington Tremlett Royal Heroes 1805, but better smelling and better priced.

And last, but not least, I always feel it's best to smell like a cocktail when I really, really want one. To that end, I have the terrific Memoire Liquide Champagne et Mure #900 and Frapin 1270 EDP to make me feel boozy, but without the drunken rambling over-truthfulness I’m prone to in my tipsy moments.

What about you dear reader? What do you wear when you have a black day? Tell me below to enter a monthly mix drawing , this one my much overdue August 2011 draw. August 2011 Mix CD, which is a mix mostly of which what I was listening to in August, some new, some old, all awesome. Winner will also recieve a $15 gift certificate to their choice of Demeter Fragrance Library or The Perfumed Court, a few decants, and possibly a post card and other goodies.

Comment by Friday October 28, 2011 12:01AM PST to enter!

At least one more draw this week, so stay tuned.
FN1. See video here for explanation.
FN2. Too close, you fool! I'm in the mood to ax-murder a body! NEVER GET THAT CLOSE IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES! I could snap your poor self in half with nothing more than my jaws of viciousness on such an occasion.
FN3. And my lovely and long-suffering husband, who gets the backwash of my bad moody days by virtue of living with me, sadly.


pureofheart said...

Okay. So I just might actually LIKE wearing Baby Phat Goddess...

Diana said...

Now that's the spirit, PureofHeart! :)

Anonymous said...

Lavender is my go-to - it makes what is fraught calm down, what is hectic settle down, and what is frazzled chill out. Nothing fancy; everyday lavender: a field of loveliness in a tiny drop.

Ahh, everything's better just thinking about it:-)

cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

Diana said...

Nice Anna; pretty but plain is also a great way to deal with a bad mood.

Anonymous said...

Love the illustrations. I've been having quite a few of these days lately, so this is a timely post.
Certainly can't live up to my old faithful Aromatics Elixir on a "bad" day or some of my heavy 80's florals, and agree that I am terrified to try any new samples.

Fortunately I've discovered a few scents recently that I enjoy during these periods. Thanks to my winning your generous draw in March, I've been able to enjoy the mood lifting, minty goodness of Jo Malone Fresh Mint Leaf and the wonderfully spicy, soothing Atelier Vanilla Insensee (which I expect to love even more as fall rolls in). (The Prada Infusion Tubereuse, while pretty, is a stay-away-from on a bad day due to its fresh white musk note.)

I agree that a good green can be the way to go and am really enjoying Dawn Spencer Hurwitz's new Pandora. I also do well with Sonoma Scent Studio's Champagne de Bois.

-- Lindaloo

Vasilisa said...

What an interesting post!For those overslept, demanding days where I still need to appear enefretic at work, I reach for Diptyque L'eau de Tarocco and Comme des Garcons Series 5 Sherbet peppermint. However, my ultimate perfume for chaos and sorrow is L'Artisans' Passage D'Enfer, which smells like a cathedral, where all the icons had been stoled by vandals. I find its stoicism very comforting.

And of course, sometimes, I just have to reach for Miss Dior Cherie...

Elisa said...

I'm definitely a comfort scent girl when I'm in a bad mood -- and that usually means a gourmand (like Hanae Mori or Belle en Rykiel), Tea Rose, or CK Be for a pure white musk, bury-your-face-in-a-pile-of-laundry fix.

ccdouglass said...

This topic has caused me to think! Now that you mention it, when I'm in that kind of mood I tend to reach for one of the BBW vanilla fragrance mists. Light, innocuous, and vanilla. And probably embarrassing, but when I'm in a mood like that, I don't care. :-)
Thanks for the draw!

ChickenFreak said...

Hmmm. When I'm in a murderous mood, I may go with Chanel No. 19 - it's not simple, not comforting, but I sometimes enjoy the "Don't even THINK about parking here" vibe.

When I'm merely cranky, I tend to like medicinal scents - Fou d'Absinthe or Nasomatto Absinthe.

Iris Taizo starts out bitter and then settles down to a more or less contented scent, which can match my mood nicely.

Navegar and Art of Shaving Sandalwood are pure comforting wood for me, and are good when I'm sad but not angry.

In the category of scents that I'm faintly embarrassed about liking, there's Boss Woman. It's simple, bland, and matte-textured, and that can be just right when I'm not up to being jangled or twinkled at.

Lauren said...

I only wish my fight fact was that fierce! I've needed it quite a lot lately.

My horrible day fragrance is always Chaos. I don't really know why I always reach for it when I'm going some where I don't want to go.

Ms Amye said...

I have this problem on occasion.
My poisons of choice: Victoria's Secret "Love Spell" because it's ironic and hilarious. Based on the comments I usually make in the store about all of their 'perfumes', you'd probably be surprised that I own this one. It makes me laugh, but probably not in the ways that they intended.

Laura Mercier's Tarte Au Citron, because smelling like a bakery on a stressful day is way more fun.

Jo Malone's Orange Blossom for when I want to feel taller, thinner, and more feminine.

Chanel Chance when I want to feel taller, thinner and more competent.

Laugh away. :D
- amye

Asali said...

Loved the theme and the write up. For the really angry days, the "don't mess with me"-perfumes are Cuir Mauresque and Fille en Aiguille. For the days in between anger and sadness, maybe the frustrating days (?) I'd need a bit of booze too and reach for Idole, which has both alcohol and and comfy spicy dry down. And for the days where you just need some comfort I'll doze myself in either SDV, Iris Ganache, Ambre Extreme or Mon Parfum