Making sense of scents


By Marla Boone - Contributing Columnist



Pardon my asking, but do you have a scent? Scent as in perfume. Because a lot of people do. So you can understand the gist of my question.

We live on the very edge of the wilderness — no cable TV, no fluorinated water, and apparently no speed limit on the road past our house which is not-too-fondly known as the Covington Grand Prix. But even we, through the good and tireless ministrations of the United States Postal Service, get reliable mail delivery. Some of this mail consists of magazines. Magazines, of course, consist mostly of advertisements. More often than you would think, a person who lives on the very edge of the wilderness is not able to tell what some of these advertisements are promoting. Usually there is a photograph of an emaciated, heavily made-up woman who looks to be in dire need of — in no particular order — a meal consisting mainly of carbohydrates, a soapy washcloth, or medical attention. Sometimes this woman has on jewelry and no clothes. Sometimes she has on clothes and no jewelry. Sometimes she has a little of each with her salient attributes covered by a large, strategically placed handbag.

Somewhere in the background is a man on whose chin Abe Lincoln could have split rails and/or a horse. (I mean there might or might not be a horse with the man. I certainly do not intend to imply Abe would split a horse on the man’s chin. Although he no doubt could have. Honestly.) The man has chiseled cheekbones, chiseled abs, and chiseled pecs. He looks like he just escaped from a carpentry shop. The man and the horse have similar muscle development. The woman does not appear to have enough muscle mass to pick up a fork, which explains a lot.

From this scant evidence, the savvy consumer is supposed to discern what he or she is being urged to purchase. Maybe it’s the jewelry. Maybe it’s the clothes. Maybe it’s the handbag. Maybe it’s the horse. It’s all just too-too for me.

But the weirdest — the very weirdest — (which is saying something) ads are those for perfume. Everybody who likes to think of themselves as a celebrity has linked their transiently famous name to a perfume. Actors, singers, even clothes designers have one. Britney Spears has a tough time remembering to put pants on before she goes out. Are we to believe she has toiled in a laboratory over beakers and Bunson burners to develop a perfume? That screeching sound you hear is credibility being stretched to within one erg of being snapped like a twig.

According to Google, the source of all knowledge, perfume is 80 to 90 per cent alcohol. This explains a lot, too. I now realize the people who name perfumes have actually been imbibing their own product and are deeply, devotedly, and demonstrably drunk. There is one perfume called “Light Blue.” My threatening dyslexia at first read this as “Blue Light” and I thought, oh no … they stole that from Kmart. There is another called Wonderlust. Not Wanderlust, but Wonderlust. This just raises more questions than it answers. The ad features a man and a woman (no horse) thigh-deep in the ocean. They are appropriately chiseled and emaciated. They are both fully dressed. In a logical world, these would be the people without pants (or sans culottes as we say on the very edge of the wilderness).

I found that factoid about perfume’s alcohol content when my inquiring mind led me to do a little research. Britney would probably do a little research, too, but she’s too busy trying to find her pants.

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By Marla Boone

Contributing Columnist

Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for the Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call.

Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for the Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call.