Wednesday, November 30, 2005


I was with my family at the mall the other day, perusing the aisles flush with gifts nobody wants, yet everyone buys by the dozen.

At the perfume counter of a posh department store, I stopped to sniff my favorite commercial perfume -- Chanel No. 19 -- when the salesperson began her pitch with, "Chanel No.19 only comes in this" holding up the large bottle "size now."

"New bottle, same sauce," she said.

Then she made a prediction.

"This is just the thing for you," she said, pulling a bottle from behind the counter. She expertly sprayed a perfume strip, then shoved it under my nose.

"Too fruity," I replied, wrinkling my nose, feeling that tell-tale itch beginning to build. "That would suit my 12-year-old daughter better. I like 'dirty' perfumes."

I got a look for that.

So I proceeded.

"I create botanical perfumes. I sometimes use the geneologies of the creations of French perfume houses as a template for my perfumes ~ especially the more earthy, dirty 'fumes."

Another look.

"I pulled the geneology on Chanel No.19 once, in an effort to make something similar."

That got a smile.

"Never," she said. "You could try for a hundred years and you'd never get Chanel."

She continued to look at me down her short, pert nose.

I sneezed in retaliation.

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