Friday, December 16, 2011
If eighteenth century France can be characterized as ancient then there is something atavistic about the morning ritual of spraying the chest with two pumps of an expensive liquid that has been composed with great care to smell a certain way for hours on end, particularly here in California where the wearing of scent is only slightly less politically incorrect than donning the skins of dead animals for warmth. Atavistic or not, the men of my acquaintance tend to wear fragrance as well as fur and seem to me to be better for it.
That said, I am usually a faithful kind of guy but with a wife out of town I have been playing around. My dalliances began with L'Artisan Parfumeur's Traversée du Bosphore, which like a certain kind of woman starts with great promise but quickly becomes too cloying. I moved on a few days later to Ormonde Jayne's Zizan, which is lime, lemon and bergamot on top of vetiver. That one also becomes less interesting in a few minutes and by the time my wife returns I will be my familar self, alternating L'Artisan's Timbuktu for daytime with Ormonde Man for evening.
Fragrance of course is one of those things that cannot be overdone if a man is to be taken seriously. What is considered personal space in the West, that radius of about two feet around one's person, is the usual limit for radiated scent in polite company. Which is why those two sprays into the chest are a good habit to develop. Less is undetectable and more is too much, in my experience. Though one additional spray into the day's handkerchief does reward the nose without leaving a trail of perfume in one's wake.