Suzanne's Perfume Journal

Need to feel a little love? Step into the online perfume community, where, whether you are new and just getting your toes wet or someone whose been kicking around awhile, you’ll be getting valentines in the mail. Scented packages that put a zing in your day and make you look forward to seeing the postman, as well as make him look forward to seeing you. Sure, he suspects there’s perfume contraband in those little packages that show up at your door smelling of roses and patchouli, but he is as weary of delivering bills and junk mail as you are of receiving them, and he likes the way you smile wide at him when the little packages show up and appreciates that generous tip you gave him at Christmas, which he very honestly deserves. It’s thanks to all these perfume packages that I’ve come to know that my postman’s name is Randy, he’s twenty years older than me and once lived in California, but moved back because he missed Pennsylvania’s change of seasons. Which is what he tells me on days when I meet him at the end of my driveway, snow shovel in hand, swearing that if we have another winter like this I’m moving to Arizona. When we exchange Christmas cards, his is one of those awesome cards from the World Wildlife Fund with a photograph of polar bears on the front. And when his mail truck pulls away, I still want to move to Arizona, but my shovel usually feels lighter and my driveway shorter.

I suppose this is going to sound like one of those Everything I Know I Learned in Kindergarten kind of essays, and you can feel free to laugh or click away, but the corny truth of the matter is that this is the way that love begets love and spreads to all the places that it should—the Everyday World, which I’ve found will wink at you like the slyest of lovers when you are able to see it as something more than mundane, and just as surely snap back into itself and remain oblivious to your needs on the days when you do not. Laugh all you want, but my parcels have a habit of showing up safely and on time and are always delivered with a grin and a pleasant “How are you?”.

I prefer to live my life as if the entire thing is a courtship—to cozy up to even the more ordinary aspects of it—and I believe that a good many people in the perfume-loving community feel the same way. Of course I still have days when I fail miserably in this regard, days like anyone else that still suck, but I suspect that overall this style of living nets one more good days than the average person—and by good days, I mean days when my needs are not only meant but often surpassed by some sort of lovely surprise, like the one I received on Tuesday when I got a perfume package from Zagreb, Croatia, from blogger Ines of All I Am - A Redhead.

Ines and I had done a samples swap, and after my parcel arrived to her, she sent me a worried note indicating that the parcel I would be receiving from her wouldn’t be packaged as nicely. (I assured her that everything would be fine, as I knew it would be.) The very next day, what shows up? Not only perfume samples—not just a very generous sample of the Paris-exclusive Serge Lutens scent, Boxeuses (which is drop-dead gorgeous!) and the mind-boggling Breath of God and two other amazing scents tucked into a royal blue velveteen pouch—but also three cute little boxes of fine chocolates made in Zagreb. Chocolate-covered cherries encased in a pool of liqueur that tastes like kirsch. Chocolate squares sandwiched with a delicate hazelnut filling. And more chocolates filled with an equally delicate lemon crème.

This package is so very, very Ines—the blogger with the true Aquarian heart who is always one of the first people to add a new face to her blogroll and who regularly manages to do what, to me, seems like the impossible—which is to read the daunting number of new blog posts each day and to leave a thoughtful comment at the majority of them. Because I don’t have a commenting forum at my own blog—something she chidingly teases me about remedying—she sometimes lobs a charming email my way. During one of these exchanges we were both dishing over The Lord of the Rings trilogy, of which we are both huge fans, and I told her my favorite character was Frodo’s faithful friend Sam, to which she wrote back in reply: “I don't have a favourite character (there are a lot of them to like in there), but I find the story of friendship and bravery to be so compelling that I get goosebumps just thinking about it.”  And I thought to myself later, that is so telling of Ines, isn’t it? It’s through people like Ines—and there are many of them in the online perfume community—that I’ve come to realize that, while perfume collecting is a way of exploring one’s individual tastes and perfume blogging is, in part, about giving unique expression to one’s tastes, the most gratifying thing about the whole experience is not the singular dialogue that one starts, but the process of adding to and becoming part of a collective narrative. Naturally, we do that in our own unique way, and I know my flawed-self well enough to admit that I’ll probably never manage to get around to everyone’s blog in a single week, or even two weeks, to leave the comments that I ought to. Whereas Ines and others in this online perfume "shire" succeed in a stellar fashion like Frodo and Sam, I more closely resemble Pippin. But with this post, and hopefully others in the future, I hope to convey the sincere thanks I feel not only to Ines but to the many people whose generosity, whether it be in written or in physical form, has taken my breath away over the past year and particularly over the past few months. It’s still February—still time to send out one more belated Valentine—and this is mine to thank you all for your friendship.

February 25, 2011:

A Package from Ines and One More Valentine to All


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I had to snap a quick photo of the goodies that came in my package from Ines before I ate them. And I had to pose them next to this redheaded mermaid that I made with a little girl whom I tutor, because, well, she reminds me of Ines: redheaded and sweet!