Sitting in My Ocean of Calamine Lotion

Speaking of cosmetics makes me think of perfume and, oh, what? We weren't speaking of cosmetics? Are you sure? Because I think you'll find that we were... you just don't know it yet. That is the beauty of draft mode. You'll see. (But not yet.)

I can't remember when I stopped wearing perfume. I can recall using it as late as 1990, spritzing it into the air then walking through it, to keep the scent light. That was my self-discovered technique, back when I didn't laugh at myself when doing girly girl things. Today I caught my reflection in the library glass, me there in my school polo of nylon polyester in primary colour, dumpy-short (even when not fat) legs in fading jeans poking out under the shirt's pajama-y 3XL hem, my roots-to-the-ears hair going flat with the need of a wash, and my face so broad and moony and rough (despite the morning moisturizer, I swear). The part of me too long in exile to return to the throne thought, in my mother's not unkind voice from 25 years ago, "You really have a coarse look now, don't you?" Like, I probably ranch goats on the weekends, drinking beer from cans between giddyups and, washing the pickup as often as I wash my neck. Domestic beer. Goodness.

Poison was my poison, back then. It was the 80s: whose wasn't? It was so... dark! So purple, musky... so poison! Even the box was pretty, and I left it on display on the back of the toilet for a least a few years.

Now it's amusing to see (as I stretch out from under my rock) that Dior eventually came out with a long line of Poisons - Tendre, Midnight, Pure, Hypnotic - and the original causes eye rolls from blog comments to message boards, like it's the Harvest Gold countertop of its time. Or perhaps something more assaultive to the senses, like wide ties and floral leisure suits.

Shucks. You had to be sixteen, I guess.

Poison was the end of high school. In junior high, I was all about Gloria Vanderbilt. The bottle had a swan on it. I guess it still does, and did you know she still makes clothes? Four tops and four bottoms - that's quite a collection. Still a great signature, though.

Before GV, I think it was just Bonne Bell lip smackers and a tube of Love's Baby Soft powder. After Poison, it was essential oils, and eventually - as everything in the world seemed to make me sneeze and snuff up - it was nothing but lighthanded bath scrubs and gels. I use unscented laundry detergent and am incredibly picky about room deodorizer. (Lysol Neutra Air and those candle-like odor removers only.) I yell at people who put on perfume in class, where the hot, windowless space means we all suffer until noses are numb. I've gone from "Please don't..." to "Don't" to "Ew, what's that nasty smell?" Shame - it has power.

Mike often says he's sooo glad I don't wear perfume. He hates it, perhaps because his inhalation system is more touchy than mine, what with the asthma. He has one friend who doesn't believe that Mike really doesn't want me to wear perfume, not even for, er, special occasions, but really, no, we both lucked out in this mutual dislike.

But tonight, left alone with my split sleep and museful brain, I wonder what I ever saw in Poison. Was it just excellent marketing, or did I really like the smell, like half the women in the country? (The other half seemingly despising it.) What did it smell like, anyway? I can't remember. What do the other Poisons smell like? I'm curious.

The Captain of Expedition Girly-Girl (minor outlying islands only) considers that there are three Sephoras within driving distance. She has been thinking of spending too much money on a new skin care routine, hoping it might actually be used. (Plus her current Pure Simplicity Milk Thistle line is now OOP and dwindling. Never mind that it should've run out two years ago and, at this rate, is likely to last two more.)

Dare she dive through the spritz-model gauntlet to revisit the past (and its children) by seeking a very pretty, very purply, very poisony bottle marked TESTER?

08 March 2008 |



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