The question might suggest that your mother doesn't wear perfume now, but I don't mean it to. I mean — what perfume did she wear when you were little and she was the most important woman in your life?
I talk a lot about my mother and her perfume choices, but that's because my mother was — and is — a woman who loves perfume. It is part and parcel of the feminine things I associate her with — makeup, heels, fragrance. And it definitely influenced me.
Femme was a perfume she wore before she was a mother. I also recall Charlie and Enjoli when she was a single mother going back to college. Then, there were a succession of big perfumes — Scherrer, Diva, Angel. She's backed off from the big scents, and now prefers light, fresh scents like Bulgari Eau Pafumée Au Thé Vert. (A funny story about Scherrer. She can't stand any of the vintage perfumes I now love, and the last time I visited her, she asked me if I wanted Scherrer I, otherwise, she was going to throw it out! Ack! Don't throw out vintage perfume!)
I wrote about a friend's desire to smell Fleeting Moment again because her mother, who'd passed away when she was eight, had left behind a tiny, empty bottle whose residue was still fragrant. It was one of the few, tangible things she had of hers.
And then there is the ex. While thinking of this post, I remembered an odd ex-boyfriend who wore a very feminine, vintage-smelling spicy, balsamic, oriental perfume that was totally incongruous with his appearance — tall, masculine, New England preppy. "What is that?" I asked him once. "I'm not sure, but it's my mother's perfume." (These are the sorts of moments when not asking a lot of questions is probably for the best.)
At the time, I thought it was wonderfully eccentric that a straight man would unselfconsciously wear a woman's perfume — his mother's perfume! It somehow made him seem even more masculine, in a strange way, because it seemed so daring. It became (perversely enough), the scent I associated with him, and I know if I ran into it again, I would immediately think of him (and I guess, unwittingly, his mother). Now, what Freud would have to say about that tangled mess, I'll leave to the experts.
In any case, I am curious what your associations are with your mother's perfume. I find myself, like the old boyfriend, wanting to wear the perfumes my mother wore. Do you remember what perfume your mother wore? Are you going to get her perfume for Mother's Day, coming up on May 8th? What do you think she'd like now?
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