Monday, September 14, 2009


In the bathroom this morning I noticed the almost empty bottle of Givenchy III perfume that my husband gave me years ago for one of my birthdays. I have stopped using it because the dregs in the bottom of the bottle have gone stale. They smell now more like alcohol and have none of the freshness that first came from the bottle.

I might ask for a new bottle of this perfume for my birthday. I do not remember ever buying myself an expensive bottle of perfume. It does not seem to me the thing to do. I buy bottles and sprays with cheap scents regularly, especially Tweed, which my daughters insist marks me as an old woman, but somehow I stick with this perfume because I have always loved the smell. It is familiar and somehow for me it has become my smell. I am like a baby, the scent of her mother is the scent she longs for.

Once I considered perfume as a gift a wasted present. I did not want my husband to buy perfume for me, any more than I wanted flowers or chocolates. To me these were non-presents, the things you buy when you have no idea what to get.

I did not want these presents because they signified a lack of care. I wanted things that were more specifically geared to my image of me, whatever that may have been.

My tastes have changed over the years. Now I love a bunch of flowers, not so much chocolates because I rarely eat them, but they’re good to share with others who do. Here I am now thinking of asking my husband to get me perfume. But it is a specific perfume and one I’m sure that whenever I use it I will be filled with a sense of bygone days of memories of dressing up to go out to special occasions.

I wear Givenchy on such occasions – weddings, dinners and funerals. Givenchy for me is a ritualistic perfume. And I am a creature of habit. Over the years many people have bought me a bottle of sometimes expensive perfume. I might use it once or twice, but the smell jars. I have a series of bottles, almost full, lined up along the marble ledge of the wash basin against the mirror in our en suite bathroom. Golden and glowing, they hold no allure for me. I want only the perfume that’s familiar to my senses, the perfume that now smells to me of me, whether it’s Givenchy or Tweed or just my ordinary unadorned skin. I don’t want to clutter my senses with foreign perfume smells.
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