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No Scents

I have perfume on the brain.

This past week at work, we were asked to test a bunch of perfumes for a story. Of course, I missed the actual meeting where the selections were made, so I got stuck with a stinker. But it started me thinking: I really can NEVER find a fragrance I can live with, let alone, love.

Generally, I try something in the store, and I think it’s good. Then I get it home, and it mixes with me and I hate it. Or it gives me a headache. Or I hate it AND it gives me a headache.

I wasn’t always so fragrantly-challenged. Years ago I went through bottles of Eternity and Banana Republic’s Classic like they were water. Which, I guess they essentially are. But you know what I mean.

I dream of the day I can find a signature scent. Something I can smell and say, “That’s me!” To this end, I have DKNY's Be Delicious and Michael Kors, two perfectly good perfumes purchased earlier this year, that are now collecting dust on a shelf in my closet. Apparently, they were not up to the task -- once they got to know me.

I really don’t know (or care) what a top note is, and I can’t tell a tuberose from a tomato, so my quest is less about the ingredients (though musk = skunk), and more about finding something clean and fresh-smelling. Well, I thought I liked clean until I smelled one perfume actually called Clean and hated it (I should be more specific in the future, I want to smell clean, not like Mr. Clean).

Today, I spent a leisurely afternoon Christmas shopping on 5th Ave when I came upon Sephora. I was drawn like a moth to a flame. I’m really not a huge makeup person -- a little blush, mascara and lip gloss and I’m good to go -- but I AM a girl, and this is like, Makeup Mecca. So, I went in. I’m only human.

Determined to play Beat the Nose, I made a bee-line to the Smell Wall (not to be confused with the smelly wall, which was just around the corner on 49th). I was prepared to power through every single scent my colleagues liked, and come out with a winner. I grabbed a handful of white paper test strips, then sprayed and spritzed my way down the aisle. And honestly, after the first three, I’m pretty sure I lost my ability to smell entirely. It was a full-fledged olfactory shut down. A proboscis paralysis. But at that point, I had two sales girls circling me like crows, and I looked like a crazy lady with all the scent strips poking out of my hands so I HAD to plow ahead. Until one critical point, when I accidentally sprayed some rogue scent in my mouth, because the nozzle was facing the wrong way.

I can now officially confirm that perfume tastes far worse than it smells.

Anyway, maybe it was the blinding store lights, or maybe it was the brain damage I most certainly have sustained after sucking down a serving of perfume soup, but I wound up buying two bottles: Marc Jacobs’ Daisy, in part because a card next to the display told me it was their #2 best-seller (and also because I really liked the bottle), and Donna Karan’s Cashmere Mist, mainly because I didn’t want to put all my eggs in Daisy’s basket (and this one wasn’t that expensive).

I can just picture you on the edge of your seat, waiting to see which one doesn’t make me barf. You’ll have to stay tuned...

In the meantime, if all else fails, I heard Burger King came out with a fragrance that smells just like a flame-broiled Whopper. This could be effective in luring stray dogs, and drunk/stoned guys home. Once they invent one called Cheesesteak, I’m totally in.

So, do you have a signature fragrance? (And if you do, mind if I steal it??)

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