Had a conversation yesterday that made me realize that the only constant of my adult life is my perfume - Pleasures by Estee Lauder. I've worn it for nearly twenty years.
I've tried other scents; I didn't feel like me.
I know Pleasures isn't sophisticated like Chanel #5 or trendy like any by Calvin Klein, but it's the one that has seen me through two broken marriages, one pregnancy, numerous jobs, many visits with my mother, and once got me a free tow. The driver checked my car insurance, told me the tow wasn't covered, sniffed the air around me, and said, "Um, I swear I'm not hitting on you, but you smell really nice." He was so embarrassed, he didn't charge me, and even gave me a ride home after dropping my car at the mechanic's.
When I picked it, I didn't think it would become some sort of signature, I just liked that it wasn't too fruity, too flowery, or too Avon lady. I was beyond the raspberry-scented lotion phase of junior high (and...I didn't want to smell like a stripper...). I wanted something to make me feel like a grown up.
Nearly every day, someone tells me I smell nice. One client said his wife was upset when he went home smelling of it after hugging me. She came to his next appointment. I made sure to hug her as well.
It's an amazing thing, how a scent can trigger a memory. How it can be comforting, alarming, arousing. How it can become so much a part of you that the cost no longer matters. Small luxuries and all that. I was holding my bottle this morning and thinking I needed to start setting aside the money to replace it. My mind wandered to a time when Rhiannon will choose something for herself. It was a sweet thought, sharing some sort of rite of passage with her. I won't rush the time by, but I'll look forward to it.