Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memories, like the corners that need dusting...

March at PerfumePosse wrote today about her reasons for becoming a perfumista; basically because of the transportative power of scent.

Of course yards of literature by people with far more interesting powers of description that I could hope to enjoy have been written on the subject, whether the taste of Proust's Madeleines or the smell of Shakespeare's roses, Lawrence's chrysanthemums or even Chaucer's famous flatulence.

But really, doesn't everyone have a scent that can instantly transport you into the past, for better or worse? The scent of a former paramours cologne smelled on another? The smell of dry leaves and cut grass taking you back to the autumnal leaf-forts of you (well, my) childhood? The dusty smell of roses on a hot summer day: something that will ever and always make me think of my friend Sue and her "rose alley" or the slightly oily smell of the canyons above Los Angeles, ripe with jasmine, that take me back to the days when I had a convertible and used to waste gas driving about at night, gleefully driving miles out of my way to the grocery store to enjoy the exciting, ozone-pregnant Santa Anas. Or the wet smell of concrete and food and fecund subway grates that is New York?

Even if the memories are ones that you've never had. Maybe that's why I am so seduced by all that is from the house of Lutens; I know that my starch WASP-ness is so ingrained I might as well have a small green crocodile instead of a left nipple, but I can open one of those bell jars and am suddenly in a Souk. Because sometimes you want to be the Sheik, and sometimes you want to be Lady Diana..

Image: Les Salons du Palais Royale

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