Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Smells Like a Problem

What is the deal with perfume?

I wore Oui every day of my life for the past ten or twelve years. Let me just say that I tried it when it first came out and I’ve worn it ever since. Exclusively. I like to wear only one fragrance. It’s a thing with me. I wore only Alfred Sung for years before Lancome came out with Oui, and I got hooked on it. (Perfume dependency—is there a 12-step program for it?)

About a year ago our local stores stopped carrying Oui. I looked for it in the ‘closeout’ stores, thinking I could score some there, but no dice.

I am not without my resources, so I went on eBay and bought Oui. I’ve now done that twice, and I’m not completely convinced that, despite very authentic-looking packaging, it’s the real deal. In any case, during the past year I have made several forays into cosmetic departments looking for a suitable replacement for my treasured fragrance. Man, it’s a jungle out there…

I have sprayed and sniffed dozens (seems like hundreds) of fragrances, and haven’t found anything I like nearly as much as the much-loved, aforementioned Oui.

The Lancome website says it’s a combination of Clementine (citrus), water-lily and musk. It just smells perfect and lovely and fresh, and I’m totally out of it now, and will (DUH!) just buy it this time from Lancome, to be sure I’m getting the real McCoy.

But here’s what I want to know:

Why is it that when you put on the perfume you love in the morning, you never really notice it the rest of the day, yet when you spray just a touch of some “I’m All Yours-WannaBe” on your wrist in the department store as a test, you can’t get that smell out of your nostrils for love or money. You can wash your hands twelve times, and you’re still immersed in the pond of shpritz you sparingly tried on, hoping against hope that you’d fall in love with it. Driving over a skunk and getting out and sniffing your tires is the only way to eradicate the uber-sugary-rose-petal-gag-me-with-a-fist scent that seemed so innocent and appealing in its demure and modest bottle. (I’m guessing here—I haven’t actually done it, but I would if I encountered a skunk that was maybe in the final stages of some terminal illness anyway.)

But seriously, I try to just sniff the bottles, and not put any of the product directly on my skin. I mean, I can learn from my experiences. Usually I can tell I hate it right away, and move on. But sometimes there’s a tease, a little hint that this might be the one! Yeah, but it never pans out. Then I’m stuck with the Essence of Grossitude on my wrist till I find the next skunk with an advanced health directive and slow reflexes.

I’m just saying…


  1. Have you tried

    It looks a little different so not sure if it's the same thing but thought I'd try and help :)

  2. Leah, I too have had a signature fragrance most of my life and then, they discontinue it and I have to find another. These are some of my old favorites: KL by Karl Lagerfeld - discontinued. Now I wear Dune by Christian Dior ... but have no $$$ to get me some. I love your blog and the title is hilarious. Was directed to you by F8hasit and am glad I visited. I always enjoy a funny gal. Check out my blog ( and tell me what you think. As for you ... I'll definitely be back!


  3. "Essence of Grossitude"...sound like a marketing wiz to me!
    There are stores that you can go and make your own perfume. If you have enough left of your beloved Oui, you might be able to copy it! Now that would be cool. Talk about a signature scent!

  4. Yes, I've noticed that too. I've found that we adapt to smells. Ever go away from home for a week, then come back and notice for the first time how your house smells? When you're in it every day, you don't notice it. It's the same with perfume.

    And that's my pet peeve...finally finding a scent I like in perfume and seeing it discontinued a few months later. Seems to happen to me every time I find one I like.

  5. I'm allergic to a lot of perfumes for some reason, so I don't wear it. I pick up a friend of my daughter's for school, and she wears a very strong, and obviously cheap perfume. I have a headache for at least an hour after I get home.

  6. I really enjoy reading your blog. From one humorist to another, you're deep in the humor bucket. I don't know what that means, probably a reference to being deep in shit but really, how deep can shit get unless you're from Texas? I'm totally following you. All the way home. Cheers.

  7. The answer to your question, grasshopper, is sophistication.

    Your olfactory sensors have become so accustomed to the Oui fragrance, that they simply don't pay attention to it. I bet others come up to you all day long and say, "You smell so pretty" or "Love your perfume." Right? Everyone else smells it because they are not as sophisticated as you.

    Hi Leah! Greetings from Casa Hice! Thank you so much for popping over for a visit and leaving such lovely comments. Since I'm not nearly as sophisticated as you, I'm sure I'll be noticing their pleasantness for a long while.

    Looking forward to getting better acquainted. Please come back again soon... I'll leave the door open for you!

  8. Hi Leah.. Can quite relate to what you're experiencing:-)
    Btw, I love The Essence of Grossitude!!LOL

  9. I hate those paper strips they give you to smell it on. I can't tell how it's going to react to my body chemistry when it's on a paper strip. My body has the ability to turn a perfectly nice fragrance into swamp water, so I have to be very careful. When they stop making the one I wear, it'll be like searching for the Holy Grail to find another that smells good.

  10. Hey Leah, I can most definitely relate to this one. I recently experienced Calvin Klein's REVULSION; not for me. I also tried that one by Ralph Lauren that makes you smell like a racehorse, and finally one that was clearly mismarked because it should have marketed as PUS. After a week of scrubbing and showering, I was delighted to discover Ted Baker SKINWEAR. I expect they'll discontinue it at any moment. Indigo

  11. I can SO feel your pain! I too am a one-scent woman and hold my breath each time I go to purchase more that my particular scent will have vanished. It's happened before and I'm sure it will again. Small superstition on my part but I NEVER say OUT LOUD what perfume I wear. Not even when someone asks. I just tell them it is something I pulled out of the drawer and can't remember. Because I am convinced that claiming a fragrance as my own is what causes it's disappearance.

  12. I once plunged my hands into coffee grinds and rubbed to decontaminate the smell of the perfume. Well, that wasn't the *best* idea but it did help with the smell.

    Great post! So true! Have you tried Angel?

  13. Followed you over from Heather's link. Fun first read here and I agree about the bad smell never going away. It's one of those things...