Director Hal Ashby and Ruth Gordon on the set of “Harold And Maude”
The girls I knew as a teenager were not out of touch with reality: they simply understood how reality responded so keenly to the wonderful suggestiveness of potions … Change is the elixir. We don’t always want change, but we want its possibility. We depend on it. And that’s never just a smell, never just a bottle. It’s the essence not only of living but of being alive.
T Magazine posted a stunning essay (“Hope in a Bottle”) by Andrew O’Hagan on the power and purpose of scents, of perfumes and colognes. There were so many gems in the essay, I didn’t know which ones to choose. I liked this bit as well: “…the beginning of scent in bottles is also the end of innocence. Shouldn’t there be a time in a person’s life before yearning? Shouldn’t there be days before the onset of doubt? Because where there is yearning there is always doubt. And maybe what we want for our children is a few years when their reality is uncomplicated, as perhaps it can never be for people beyond 16.”
I started out like most girls wearing “body sprays” or “spritzers.” The first were from Bath and Body Works, stolen from my sister’s bedroom as she went to school an hour before I did. Later, I graduated to Victoria’s Secret scents, then my first real perfume, something from Burberry. Back then it was the most perfect scent to describe “me,” but when I think about it now, it makes me cringe. It was a little citrusy. It makes my stomach hurt just to think about it.
In the essay, O’Hagan wrote: “Most of my female friends have a perfume they vow they will never wear again. It carries something gone, something unwelcome, not just a bad memory but a lesser self.” Perhaps that’s what this reaction is. I think about that Burberry scent now (the name escapes me) and I remember innocence, anger, perfectionism. It is the smell of masking.
I can’t remember what I wore in college. It is weird. How can I remember high school and not college? Perhaps your “first” is what really counts. College was a time of personal transformation. I remember the nights out, the yelling, the tears, the angst, the laughs. I remember the “synths” more than the scents. College was when I fell in love for the first time (with music). Anything else seems unimportant.
Forgotten scents reminds me of forgotten friendships. They seemed important at the time, but they now carry “something gone, something unwelcome.” I remember feeling so lonely yet surrounded by so many people during school. In many ways, I feel like that now. I’ve transitioned to wearing two scents, Bulgari’s Jasmine Noir and Dior’s Addict to Life. They are so uncomplimentary, but I need them both. Will I forget these too?
I am again in a moment of change and frustration, with friendships and relationships. I began with Bulgari and added Dior. Bulgari was good and then it wasn’t enough. I knew that instinctually. I have another scent in waiting. I love it, but I’m not ready for it yet. It smells older than how I feel. It smells mature. It smells “different.”(via britticisms)
Tviga Vasilyeva - Sound Stills, 2009. Tviga took audio recordings in the old-growth forests bordering Russia and Finland and created 6 meter tall sculptural representations of the sounds. She then brought the sculptures back to the forests, which were in the process of being logged for timber, and “put the ‘sounds’ back to where they used to exist, sounds that look like trees that will never be heard again.”