This little snippet of the evening has remained vivid in my memory and has been popping in and out of my mind, raising the same questions every time. What does our perfume of choice mean to our loved ones? And what about those of us who change our perfume daily? Are we missing out on a secret signal, a secret form of recognition, a bond which we would otherwise enjoy? It is easier for me to accept that S. would be perturbed by T.’s change, for when living so far away from each other, every bit of familiarity becomes magnified in importance and of course, there’s no question that the sense of smell would play a leading role in that sense of familiarity. The change can be rather devastating, for in truth, the scent of a lover is something we take with us, like a memento, signifying some unspoken truth that will light up like a magic compass upon the next meeting of the bodies. Sometimes, it is the only important (or even meaningful) thing you can take with you when parting. But what about my reaction then? How disturbing and inexplicable that I would react with disappointment to the change. After all, I see T. every week without fail. And what is the message that friends subconsciously receive about those of us who change our perfume constantly? Perhaps we’re better off, never actually giving our friends the chance to associate us so deeply with a scent that it’d create dissonance the moment we decided to change it.
Have you ever had a signature scent? And if so, did you experience similar reactions from your friends when you made a change? As for me, I have in fact gone through stages of using a particular perfume almost exclusively or with such noticeable frequency that it becomes associated with me in the past. I’ve never really had a strange reaction from friends or loved ones, however, my boyfriend does always comment when I wear the perfume I used to wear when we first started dating. He gets this blissful look in his eyes and always exclaims I smell great. It makes me grin every time, because he never actually makes the connection fully enough to mention it by name.
Images: Flickr by bri v and Stefano Mortellaro