Saturday, April 28, 2007

How do you choose?

While I was on hiatus, I didn't do much sampling. In fact, I stuck for the most part with a mere handful of perfumes, several of which would make veteran perfume lovers shudder: Clinique Happy Heart, SJP Lovely, Prescriptives Calyx, and Stella. Deciding what to wear seemed tiring, so unless an urge for a particular perfume struck me, I stuck with these. I wore my beloved Iris Poudre twice, and one day I wore Mandarine Mandarin (the more I wear that one, the more I love it). I wore Anne Pliska one blustery cold day just a couple of weeks ago.

More than once I pulled out the box o'samples and peered into it like Indiana Jones looking down into a dank, dark temple full of snakes. I'd comb through the little plastic bags and tiny glass vials, hoping something might spark my interest, but nothing did. I don't think I took a vial out of a baggie (wow, that sounds illegal) or popped the cap off one thing. I'd just stick the box back on the shelf and reach for the Happy Heart. It's one of the few full bottles I have that's not in its original box, so clearly sheer laziness played a large part in determining what I wore.

But, as I noted in my last post, this week I took down the box o'samples, and La Chasse waved its tiny arms (or wings, if you will) and cried out, "Over here! Remember me? We met last year! I think we could really hit it off, if you'd just take me out again!" And so I did. I pulled the little black plastic applicator out of the vial and took a whiff. Right away, I knew it would be trouble...and I knew it would be forever.

So now that my interest is rekindled, while I wait for my package from Aedes, I need to get sampling. When I walk past the sample vial of La Chasse sitting on the bathroom shelf, I do everything I can to ignore it. I turn my head away and sort of "la la la la I can't hear you" when I walk past it, because it yells at me. It demands that I put some on now. Even if I've already applied some, it thinks I need more. Even as I write this, I can hear it in the other room, knocking around and making a nuisance of itself. It's also in cahoots with La Chasse Extreme, which I stupidly took out and applied yesterday, and then left on the shelf right next to La Chasse EDT.

"But I have this whole box o'samples," I tell them. "These others need my attention just as much as you do!" But oh, when I face that box! I paw through the bags. The vials click lightly against one another. That sound used to be music to my ears. Now it's pure torture. Which one of you should I wear? Lord, the last thing I need is to open up another La Chasse! But then, I don't want a Chinatown on my hands, either. I mean that literally. It took weeks for the skin to grow back, I scrubbed so hard trying to get it off. (Incidentally, I've found something that removes perfume: waterproof sunscreen. Wipe some of that over your perfume and it's gone. I learned it the hard way--I had on perfume I liked--but it's a valuable lesson for another time.) Bah!

If only I'd developed a system. I mean, it's not like I didn't try. You remember the roses. If you were with me last summer, you remember the vetivers (which I never finished; I still have about ten vetiver samples waiting for me in there), you remember the vanillas. Several times, unbeknownst to you all, I categorized items by perfumer, and then scrambled them up again and categorized them by possible seasons. I tried to order them by dominant notes after one particularly bad day at work and completely overwhelmed myself. That was how I ended up with box o'samples. Everything I'd already tried I put in one box, and everything I had yet to try, I put in another. I got this nutty idea that I would just reach in every day and wear whatever fate set up for me to select. How exciting! Every day an adventure!

More like, every day, throwing back whatever I'd caught, like a disgruntled fisherman. Amouage Eau d'Amouage? That sounds like something you order from Avon! Laura Tonatto 24.8? That was discontinued! What if I really like it? Why did they send it to me anyway? Chypre de Coty? I'm not worthy! Not ready for this one yet! Frederic Malle Noir Epices? But it's spring! This would be better for fall!

On and on it goes. And what's coming along with my bottle of La Chasse? Seven new samples, that's what! I'll be in a home by the end of summer. I can almost guarantee it. I'll be the one in the corner, rocking back and forth, muttering to myself quietly: "I could wear a Bond. I haven't worn a Bond in a while. But which Bond? Eau de New York? New Haarlem? Eau de Noho? New York Fling?" The attendant will spray me lightly with Happy Heart to calm my nerves, and lead me back to my room.

*photo of the dreaded box o'samples, taken by yours truly