Thursday, June 7, 2012

If loving you is wrong, I don't wanna be right.

Perfume and the Inner Critic

Dear reader:

Moving is exhausting!
I am about to make an entirely obvious statement: moving sucks. Yes, moving is a pain, particularly when you are a perfumie, and you collect something expensive and fragile that is both heat and light sensitive. David and I have recently left our apartment of ten years and are currently in transition housing pending the end of his position as a live-in college administrator in July. FN1. This means I will be living out of boxes for six week as I wait for move two to begin. David is headed for law school this fall, so we are currently house hunting while he finishes up at work, I'm working full-time, and writing on top of that.

It's been a busy two months, and the next one looks similarly hectic.

Temp perfume storage
Pt. 1....
Anyway, this extended moving period has led to a lot of me looking at my perfume collection. Carefully putting things into boxes, wrapping with bubble wrap, examining storage methods, realizing I need more rifle shell boxes, etc. FN2.

Part of moving means looking really thoroughly at my perfume collection as I pack and unpack it. As I went through it this time, I found myself feeling strangely judgmental about my own collection. “Not enough classics, not enough high end; too many small or inexpensive scents; too much breadth in some houses; not enough in others.” Over all, my snap judgment? “Not a serious collection.”

This kitten has judged your perfume
It was that last thought that finally tripped me up. Really? Not a serious collection?  My perfume collection is worth more than my car. Hell, it might be worth more than my car and David’s combined. I have major and minor houses, classics and cutting edge indies, department store sprays and only-heard-of-it-if-you’re-into-perfume scents. If I don't have a serious collection, who the hell does?

When did I become so snobby about perfume? When did it become about status and not about smelling good? And why do I care? Who is this person who has set up shop in my head and judges my tastes as narrow or ignorant or pedestrian? This person who thinks this even as I reach forgotten corners of my collection and discover scents I love all over again? I have smelled so good all week, and yet couldn’t bring myself to tell you about it because I’m having weird perfume shame.

Temp perfume storage
Pt 2... & counting....
Well shame be damned, I say. I will recommit to telling you what’s awesome that has passed beneath my nose, which this week has included: a preview of slumberhouse’s pending fall release, Tunis Mills, which smells like the smell of fireplace smoke and sweet cider and warm coffee and about a half dozen other aspects of the best warm things fall has to offer (went immediately onto my 'definitely buy' list); Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Jazz Funeral, which is a warm sultry homage to the NOLA tradition that celebrates a transition into that sweet bye and bye with rum, magnolias, funeral garlands, dirt, and moss; and a layering experiment that yielded awesome sticky sweet and salty results of awesomeness, CB I Hate Perfumes Smokey Tobacco Accord with Demeter Fragrance Library’s Salt Air. Every single scent (or combo) made me happy as hell to be a perfume collector, and not one thing I wore broke the $60 mark.

And you know what this experience has (re)taught me? If loving low or common or less well-known or less prestigious or less established scents/houses is wrong, dear reader, I don’t wanna be right.  I smell great, I'm happy about it, and I will now gleefully share my perfume joy with you all, come what may.

More to come.



FN1. To be fair, it was always his apartment. I've lived other places during the last decade, but let's be honest: I always thought of it as my house, too.

FN2. For those of you unfamiliar with perfume sample storage, let's just say I end up on a lot of weird NRA-related mailing lists trying to find good upright storage for samples.


Anonymous said...

I sympathise over moving - it's definitely not good for the nerves!

All my perfumes have survived periods of moving and being held in Storage and moving again; all came through intact thanks to their boxes and the "pack 'em together tightly so they support each other" technique.

Good luck, and I'm sure that you and they will come through this hassle just fine.

cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

PearlSugar said...

Yay for a new post! Didn't realize quite how much I missed your writing...(and you!) Also, I really really want to smell the fall slumberhouse. Sound like fall at home.

Diana said...


I'm sure we will, though I'd feel better if we could find a place. The market here in Portland, where young people go to retire, is saturated with mobile 20-somethings who keep swooping places out from under us, and fake ads from supposedly missionaries looking to bilk these young fun-loving trustifarians out of their parents' money through digital ID theft.

It's bitter moments like these where I just close my eyes and sniff and say, "It will all be fine."

And thanks for the tight packing tip. I was already doing it, but will be even more committed to the process!


Diana said...


I think you will like Tunnis Mills, but it will be way too strong to wear around your SO. Sorry. :( Good news, though, you will get to sniff it on me early, when it can't even be purchased yet!

<3, Diana

Olfacta said...

If you have a Container Store nearby anywhere, they sell clear acrylic lipstick holders that are perfect for decants. They're step-down, the cells range from 1" sq. to 1 1/2" sq. They're perfect for decants and up to 10 ml. sprayers, and you could put several somehow-related samples in each cell. They're 6 or $7 last time I looked. (Not affiliated!)

Anonymous said...

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you finding the Perfect Place before the Trustifarians and dodgy people.

All the best,

cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh