My sister made me go to Lotion and Smelly Stuff Works a couple of weeks ago. I never go in there, having lost hope that there is any fragrance in the world that will make me smell good. It’s too depressing. Seriously. There’s something about my body-chemistry that breaks down even the classiest perfume and leaves me smelling like a middle-aged streetwalker. And if you are a regular reader, you know how hard I am avoiding anything to do with middle age. But she had a coupon, and I will never, ever stand between a girl and her coupon. Against my better judgment, I went.
The saddest part about walking into the store is everything smells good. I know that sounds like a good thing, but it’s not. I end up frustrated and confused. I can go into a music store to buy a CD. Even if I don’t know the name of, if I can hum a few bars of the hottest track, I at least stand a chance of leaving with what I wanted. If I walk up to a sales-clerk in Lotion and Smelly Stuff Works and say “I want to buy that smell,” a frustrating conversation ensues.
“The one that reminds me of my second grade teacher. Not my first grade teacher. She smelled like beer.”
“Um, can you be more specific?”
“Guiness, I think, although I do recall seeing her at the 7-11 buying Budweiser.”
“No, your second grade teacher. Er, I mean can you describe the fragrance you are looking for?”
“I smell it right now. It’s like soap. And maybe some fruit.”
“Fruit? We have 42 different fruity fragrances. Um, we have Pear Passion? Is it this one? No? There is also Citrus Circus. You might like that one. It smells kind of like those giant orange marshmallow peanuts. We also have Apple Anarchy. It’s saucy…”
“No! Not those. I want THAT smell. The really loud smell.” And you know what I’m talking about. There’s always one aroma that stands out over all the rest but is impossible to identify. In frustration, I must break off the conversation and set off on my own, hoping I can find it by its name.
The store is a confusing array of colors and shiny things. They’ve got their smells arranged by mood, I think. There’s an entire section labeled “Sexy.” But their signature fragrance in that department has something to do with pomegranates, a fruit both adored and renamed in my household. I’m not sure a spritz of “moose apple candy” would get anyone in the mood for anything except a “Rocky and Bullwinkle” marathon. I move on.
Maybe looking by name isn’t going to help me. Perhaps one shops for fragrances by actually smelling them? I’m asking. I don’t actually know. Here’s how it goes for me:
1) Locate promising bottle of lotion.
2) Remove tester from shelf.
3) Carefully open tester and raise to nose.
4) Accidentally apply too much pressure to tube and squirt lotion up nose.
5) Lose ability to smell anything besides Twilight Vampire for three hours. Game over.
At this point, you could shove a decaying skunk up my left nostril, and I’d never know. I slink out of the store in defeat. My sister finds me an hour later with my head in the mall wishing fountain. Guess what my wish is?
The good news, though, is that my sister did get to redeem her coupon. There’s always a silver lining, you know.