Saturday, December 7, 2013

Common Scents?

I may have mentioned that my book collection is my 'thing'.  What I failed to mention is that I have realized I might be more girlie than I think.  Surprise!

I looked at my vanity table today and realized I have at least a dozen different perfumes and colognes of which I wear 3-4, consistently.  I'm not sure if this is reasonable.

One, I began to keep in my car to freshen it up because I don't like the smelly cardboard cut-outs that hang from the rearview mirror.  One, I keep in my purse, just in case I've run out of the house in a hurry and forgot to 'apply'.  The third varies depending on my destination.  There's an everyday scent and a formal scent.  As I'm writing this I'm realizing just how involved this process is and it's a little twisted.

More thought has been put into what I decide to smell like than into what I wear!

I'm such a casual dresser, unlike a lot of women.  If I can get away with a skirt or jeans, sneakers or my combat boots, I'm set to go.  Perhaps, that's where I should be putting more thought. Hmm.

Scents are something that can affect a person very deeply and on a subconscious level. It's the fault of the amygdala in the brain defined as:

"...a structure in the limbic system that is linked to emotions and aggression. The amygdala functions to control fear responses, the secretion of hormones, arousal and the formation of emotional memories".

It's there for a reason, as is everything in the human body. For instance, I have Tabu and one from the 40's (!) by Francis Denney called Interlude that remind me of my mother's purses and of her dressing up so prettily to go out.  It's a real memory that I can see so clearly and feel the emotional memory attached.  Of course, smelling nail polish or remover is what I also associate with Mom.  She always says, "Either wear it or don't." That meant no chipped polish on our nails...ever!

If I smell fresh laundry, I always think of my Dad! He was always a sharp dresser...always! He always smelled of clean clothing that came from him literally scrubbing his shirts at home until they were blindingly white.  I don't think he ever trusted his shirts to a laundry or cleaners because he knew they would not do the job of it that he could.  I never asked. Of course I didn't! I didn't want the job. The hot iron pressing clothes is what I like, still.  Regarding burning things, the smell of incense and candles places me in a church feeling peaceful and loving everyone.

Not that it's still around a lot but if I do smell Drakkar Noir (1980's-90's!), that reminds me of my older brother and his young days and ways.  He took great care in his appearance, also.  I wonder about young men now that don't appear to have the same pride in how they look...and smell.  Has that generation all died?

Baby lotion and talcum powder take me back to my little girl and how I used to love to bury my nose in her soft curly hair and deeply inhale.  It was sweetness and innocence and a preciousness that I can't completely describe but many of us know it well.

Now, Pine-Sol, if anyone remembers it, Mr. Clean, and Clorox Bleach remind me of waking up in the middle of the night to the smells of my working mom working more at home, mopping and cleaning. Rose-scented Glade Air Freshener, isopropyl alcohol, Ivory soap, and fried chicken remind me of my grandmother, and cigarettes, burning bacon, and coffee, of my grandfather.  Is it too cliche' that evergreen makes me yearn for Christmases gone by? Can anyone else smell heat and remember radiators and ovens keeping the cold out and feeling nice and cozy and warm indoors?

What a person's habits are or what they wear isn't the only way to have the memory, either. Everyone knows we have scents as individual as fingerprints.  I'm confident that I can recognize my husband's personal male scent blindfolded.  And, although he doesn't wear cologne, I can say I love how he smells after a shave!  Most women will say they love how men smell after a day of working. There has to be something very basic and biological about that. (Note to Self:  Save for another post.)

Back to my collection.  My friends and family know when I really like a perfume because I'll actually use it and use it until it's empty and then I hint that I'm out, Sneaky Me.  This is leading to yet another issue. I like the bottles. I find it VERY hard to dispose of the empties.  It's not like they can be refilled!  I see I'll have to come up with a craft project to utilize them in some way. (Note to Self: STOP HOARDING PERFUME BOTTLES!)

Today's thought is take time out, smell the smells, pay attention, store the memory, feel the emotions.  It's what makes us human, not robots. It is what makes us care.  It's what keeps us close, even when someone is gone.

I'm sure you saw it coming if you've been following this blog and how my brain works....Stop and smell the roses. Come had to see one that coming.


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