Wednesday, January 07, 2009

mmm smelly stuff

It's fun to me how, when you want to tell the story of something, you usually have about half a dozen starting points to choose from. For this blog, for example, I could say, "It all started when a particular person said a particular thing that seriously undermined my self-image..." and that would be true. I could also say, "It all started when I went dancing this summer, and began to reassess the importance of integrating my physicality and femininity into my understanding of who I am..." and that would be true. I could also say, "It all started when I was standing in Joy's bathroom thinking how cute her short hair looked..." and that would be true.

But today, the story begins with: "It all started when I came across this sentence in an Archie Goodwin story." You don't need to know who Archie Goodwin is; they're detective stories from about half a century ago, and you get that New-York-in-the-'40s glamor popping in at moments. Anyway, Archie is standing around the living room where Lily Rowan, who's beautiful and rich and classy and difficult, is throwing a party. And he notices some scent drifting by, and is trying to decide what it is, and comments (to himself) that it can't be Lily's because "you have to be a lot closer than that to smell Lily's perfume." And I read that and thought, Well that's hot. And it immediately got me thinking about perfume (as I do every two or three years) and thinking it would be nice to have some particular scent that I wore, at least for special occasions.

So a few days later, I was idly googling kinds of perfumes and suchlike, and I found a few references to making perfume at home. I figured that must be a fiddly and expensive process, but being curious I clicked one of the links. Turns out it's ridiculously easy. Basically, you need essential oils and alcohol, neither of which are difficult to obtain in this Amazon age. The oils range from around $5 to around $30 for a half-ounce bottle... not cheap, but not bad for a new hobby.

I started collecting my oils, including lots at Christmas. There are still several that I want to get as soon as possible, but I have enough to begin playing. You can make perfumes with alcohol, in the normal liquid form, and you can also make them as solids, about the consistency of Vaseline. Solids don't carry the scent as far, keeping it mostly to your own skin, and I decided to play with those, both out of courtesy to others, and for the Lily Rowan effect. I've made exactly one so far, and it's... all right. It smells nice, but it definitely needs some tweaking, and I could use several more oils to complicate the scent a little bit.

Basically, though, it's so much fun! Even more fun than making my own shampoo, because it's frivolous and smells pretty. And there's that whole artistic component, and even though I'm just getting started I can sniff my mixture critically and think, Hm, perhaps a drop more Geranium. And I'm so looking forward to being able to design my own scents for all occasions, and some to give to friends, and all of that! My youngest brother, who's always had a sensitive nose, has already requested a cologne.