I love perfume. That comes as no big surprise I bet, considering this is a perfume blog.
But why? Why is it that I (and all of you, I dare say) love perfume so much. So much so that we dedicate a significant portion of our time and efforts into reading, writing, sniffing, buying, swapping, selling, decanting, twittering and God knows what else concerning perfume. Why do we do it? What makes us keep on doing it? This is an explanation I tried to give myself.
Of all our senses smell is the one that – in our stage of evolution – is the least important for survival. It had its heyday long ago, when smelling the enemy, smelling whether food was still fit for consumption, sniffing out danger or possible partners was important for everyday survival.
Nowadays, with all that taken care of by civilisation and socialisation, smell is almost an extra, still highly functional, but to be used for pure pleasure.
And that is what I do.
Perfume is pleasure. But not only that. Perfume is a way to express or relieve feelings, to circumvent the brain and all its ifs and buts and get right to the point, whatever that point may be at the time.
We react strongly to scents. There is emotion involved right from the start. It is hard if not impossible to leave out emotions when smelling a perfume. (Persolaise wrote a good article about objectivity here.) That may be problematic for some “professional” sniffers, who try to think of themselves as objective and unbiased, judging only rationally.
It is not problematic for me, in fact it is the whole point why I love perfume. I enjoy the freedom to feel (and write) about perfume whatever I please. Perfume reaches out to my personal stash of memories and feelings, it evokes my history. If I find similarities in how others feel, all the better, that is the beauty of community, of humanity really, to find similarities and accept our differences in perception as well as expression.
I love perfume, because however great the chaos surrounding me, however distraught, sad, angry or happy I am, I can find solace in smelling my wrist. It may sound stupid, but – and I am certain all of you know exactly what I mean – that smelling of my wrist is my private act of defence against whatever onslaught tries to bring me down or, on the positive, it brightenes every moment of laughter and happiness further if I can smell something I love. Perfume is my way of reconnecting with myself. If I am overwhelmed, I just need to catch a whiff of something I love to smell and I can focus again. And what is better than having such a mobile solution at hand (pun intended) whenever the need arises. It works everywhere, anytime (quite unlike my internet service provider, despite similar claims ;)).
I love perfume because it never judges me. No matter whether I feel old or young, beautiful or having a very bad hair day, whether I have five pounds more or less around the hips, perfume smells always good. The fact that smelling is removed from the sense of sight, which is so often used as an instrument of judgment, makes it perfectly impartial. It still manages to lift my spirits when a look in the mirror spells doom.
I love perfume because it provides a sheer endless variety. There is a scent for every occasion, every mood, every feeling, even the weather can find its equivalent in a perfume. Standing before my collection in the morning matching a perfume to my needs is one of the most enjoyable things in my day.
I love perfume because there is always something new. Something to explore, try, test, fall in love with or dismiss. Once it gains entry to my personal stash of olfactory outfits, I can be sure there is always an occasion to wear it again, to reach for it, or even frenziedly searching for it, when the time comes, even if there are equally many moments where I scratch my head and ask myself why the heck I ever wanted or liked THAT one. (This last insight didn´t come easy and was not reached before several back and forth transactions involving eBay buying AND selling adventures have taken place.)
I love perfume because I am glad that I no longer undervalue the power and importance of my sense of smell. I used to almost ignore the fact that I had a nose that has a function surpassing the merely ornamental.
I have woken up to my nose´s possibilities and what I have discovered is a big part of my life now, for it was also the entrance into a community of people with the same love, passion and interest.
I never want to miss that again.