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Three Dog Night sang about it, now, I am going to tell you about it – the smell of stale perfume…
When my older sons were teenagers, they never forgot my birthday and always presented me with gifts, ranging from cute jewelry to pretty sweaters.
One year, I was given a perfume, Eternity. I was not familiar with the scent, and my son explained that it was his girlfriend’s favorite fragrance and very popular. I tried it and fell in love with it. It became my signature fragrance for many years to follow. Which brings me to the point of this post. Even nice perfumes can go stale. How do I know this? Here’s how…
After my bad car wreck in ’96, when that stupid woman ran over my little Honda Accord, I ended up losing my job. The job loss was not really related to my car wreck, the owner of the company (mainly his evil wife) had put into motion, wheels to have her friends populate the office staff. I was not the correct ethnicity to be called her “friend.” The writing was on the wall and after a final day of being pushed beyond reasonable limits, I quit my job. This occasion caused me to understand first-hand, reverse discrimination, but, that’s a different story.
Back in those days, jobs were much easier to find, so I took several months off from working to concentrate on the law suit which I initiated after my car wreck. It was kind of nice really, being home and not having to report for duty to that awful workplace.
I would still awaken early in the morning to see my new husband off to work, shower and do whatever I did all day long. My hygiene remained constant, showers, leg and pit shaving, I still dyed my hair, did my own nails, wore make-up, but, I stopped wearing perfume. I figured that since I was just staying at home or maybe going to the mall, I was not going to waste my perfume on those mediocre activities. Perfume was for going out on dates and wearing to work. So, my various perfumes sat in the bathroom medicine cabinet until one night, my husband and I went out to dinner.
I prettied myself up and put the final touch on, one of my favorite perfumes. It was not until after our date that my husband asked me to please stop wearing that particular fragrance. I could not believe it! I had worn Eternity for years and he never complained. So, the next occasion when we went out, I wore a different fragrance and the same thing happened, he complained about it “stinging” his nose. Gheez! I could not figure out what the problem was. Eventually, I did figure it out. The perfumes had gone stale.
I do not know why I could not detect the unpleasant stench upon myself. Then, I understood why little old ladies who walked past me at the post office or the grocery store or a department store smelled as though they all bathed in the same foul perfume — they were unaware of the nauseating aroma they left in their wake, they were unaware their perfume had gone stale – rancid. I used to think that those same little old ladies just poured on perfume because they did not bathe, which still might be the case for some — add stale perfume to body odor and one’s olfactory senses are in for an unpleasant experience when passing by the culprit.
These days, since I do not work outside of my home, I still maintain healthy hygiene but, I rarely wear perfume and if I do buy perfume, it is in the teeny, tiny, sample-size container so that I do not feel so bad about throwing money away if it goes bad before it was used up and I have to toss it.