Saturday, November 9, 2013

Utter Non-Scents

Once, we all wore this.
If I had to choose the number one folly of our species, it would be the wearing of cologne. (Next would be the consumption of "blooming onions," but that's a distant and somewhat esoteric second.) For reasons I cannot fathom other than a lack of access to soap and water, millions of otherwise sane individuals choose to mask their own natural scent with a chemical brew mixed up in a laboratory and thus smell like everyone else who bought the stuff. Last year just 17% of American women eschewed artificial fragrances.

Not only does wearing perfume cost money that could be put to better use -- fragrance sales generate an estimated $5.2 billion annually--it also stinks. Admit it: an outing to the theater or the movies is fraught with anxiety, laden with the possibility that some heavily perfumed lady will plop down nearby and foul the air and your whole evening with her misguided attempt to be sexy, alluring, memorable or whatever the heck she believes it does for her, when really it's simply nauseating, rude and pointless, especially if she's a mess otherwise. Perfume cannot compensate for bad taste, and yet throngs of fatties are seen pigging out in shopping mall food courts dressed in sweatpants and sneakers and smelling up a storm. Usually it's Giorgio which is downright gag-inducing. (On the bright side, you'll eat less.)

These days men do it too, tainting locker rooms and boardrooms alike. Even the New York Yankees have a fragrance that earned $10 million in retail sales in 2012. (Not sure who wants to smell like a Yankee, except maybe one of the St. Louis Cardinals.) Some other colognes specifically targeted to a male audience have names like Gucci Guilty, Gucci Guilty Intense, Boss Number 6, Born Wild, Cars, I Love NY for Him, Playboy London, L'homme Libre, Avatar and Cool Water Summer Dive. Actress Elizabeth Taylor started it all with her signature White Shoulders, which still remains the most profitable celebrity-endorsed fragrance 20 years after its debut and many years after her death. (Lord knows what her shoulders smell like now.)

Liz, by Andy
Before that we all smelled like someone named Jean Nate. I had no idea who that was but I wanted to smell like her too, and so I splashed it on each morning before trotting off to the eighth grade. Now, what with all the advances made possible by our best and brightest, we can smell like just about any celebrity with an aggressive agent, among them Bruce Willis, Queen Latifah, Justin Beiber, J. Lo, Prince, Cher, Brittany Spears, Beyonce and even David Beckham, a soccer player, hopefully before the game. As for me, I can't think of one famous person I'd choose to smell like, except maybe Poppin' Fresh.

No comments:

Post a Comment