In my Disco years when days were spent wearing muddy boots and playing with horses and the nights were a constant search for something else to ride, my perfume of choice was Havoc by Mary Quant, (makeup by Biba, of course).
Havoc was my signature smell, recognised and remembered amongst the sweaty dark and strobe lights. The Brut-splashed boys I dated all told me they loved it and it pleased me to say the name. Havoc!
After moving to France, (and growing up a little), the Man who was to be my one and only, said that my perfume reminded him of a diesel truck, in need of an engine tune-up, starting on a cold morning. Apparently he could get beyond that thought and liked me for other reasons. I moved on to lighter, more organic scents of mimosa, orange flower and Lilly-of-the-Valley.
A leap forward a few years and we are living in California. Mr. "Don't Spare My Feelings" has to travel to France a few times a year and each time he returns he brings perfume. I'm not complaining, but I understand how this goes. Mr. DSMF either arrives at his airport with time to shop (unusual) or reaches for the duty free catalog to shop on the plane. He has no clue what to choose; it's an excuse to engage in conversation with a charming flight attendant, or store assistant. "Which perfume should I buy for my wife, Mademoiselle?" "This is my favorite, Monsieur. Your wife will love it. It's all the rage!" Duty-Free is a good description for it. Duty-Dispensed-With would also be apt.
And so I found myself discovering new perfumes: For a while it was "Anais Anais" by Cacharel; Not too young, not too old and in fashion with many of the other women dropping kids off at the French-American school every day.
"Manifesto" by Isabella Rossellini was, and still is, a favorite. I like the slightly anarchistic implications of the name, as well as both the perfume and the squared-off shape of the bottle. The fact that "Manifesto" often draws compliments from the guys I work with in construction, who want to know the name so they can get some for their wives, has me suspicious that maybe it's another truck-related perfume.
I have one bottle that is designed to look as though it is falling over. The packaging designers of "Eau des Merveilles" by Hermes did not impress me with this gimmick, although I suspect that this is the reason Mr. DSMF chose it. However, I do like the perfume and it is currently first choice for the daily squirt.
Mr. DSMF was always an advocate of the "natural" aroma of human beings. Little by little he began using scented after-shave. Passing through the inevitable "Old Spice" phase, I know he was disappointed in his quest to find "Parsley and Garlic", although that might be available at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, a place we are never going.
When I visit England I find myself in the gift stores run by The National Trust and have successfully found natural honey-based products that smell great. "Parchment" was also well received, and it did have that Historic paper aura.
My best find of all time was a cologne for men called "Wet Gun Dog". Now I am no longer torn by the choice of who to hug first.Mr. DSMF arrived home from this most recent trip smelling very attractively indeed. It is still very unusual for him to get involved in such things for himself. After a couple of days of surprisingly increased enjoyment of being in his proximity I wanted to know what he was using.
As soon as I saw the container of "1 Million" by Paco Rabanne I knew why he had bought it. Mr. DSMF likes his bling. This looks like a gold ingot. How could he resist? It is purely the luck of the draw that it smells appealing.