What I Wore to the Deluge

When the sea and the sky get into the informal partnership we like to call a hurricane, it seems like all heck’s broken loose.  Here in Jersey, we’re used to heck breakin’ loose.  Heck, we often break it loose ourselves.

This last week’s meteorological event had our full attention.  We even stopped watching Bravo.

Who knew how bad was it going to be?  Well, along about noon on Monday our cat (the Jersey Girl par excellence) put her nose out the front door and considered a quick dash to avoid the litter box.  If the Jersey Girl had been any other type of cat than the scrappy little tabby that she is, and a Jersey Native, she wouldn’t have risked it.  As it was, she was out the door for a grand total of ten minutes and then dashed back inside.  She had taken care of the essentials.

So had I.  Besides the water (which I didn’t buy bottled, geez, this is Jersey. guys!)  and the batteries, and the shortwave radio, and the non-perishable food items, I had to go spritz myself.  Which raises the question, what exactly do you wear to a deluge?

Previous deluges, dress rehearsals for this one, involved staying up to all hours and swabbing out the basement with the wet/dry vac.  It involved checking the boiler room for leakages, it involved hoping that the Commodore got all the worst vegetation out of our gutters, and those of the neighbors’ (yeah, he’s a soft touch), and then staying up watching old movies (Vincent Price ones are favorites of mine in a pinch, though I will do Bette Davis) in order to periodically bail out the basement.  It gets a trifle surreal at about 4 a.m., but the basement stays more or less dry.

We eat popcorn, and drink coffee, and pray the power doesn’t go out, and in this kind of emergency, I do the sensible thing: I wear Guerlain.

Guerlain is the perfume for emergencies.  Don’t know why.  For every day, I’m inclined to wear Coty;  for going out, I wear Caron. For heat, I wear Parfums de Nicolais,but for emergencies, I only wear Guerlain.

Last year, when we caught the last plane into La Guardia from Chicago just before that other virago Irene, I wore – Guerlain, Shalimar Parfum Initial.

It worked well.  I stayed calm, cool and collected, and we caught the last train out to Jersey after a high speed cab ride through an empty Manhattan. Another totally surreal emergency.

This time it was Mouchoir de Monsieur which smelled delightfully dry while all the world around me got wet.  But you could have worn Habit Rouge or Vol de Nuit equally well, and I fancy that Mitsouko would keep her head while all other perfumes about were losing theirs.

Guerlain is exactly right for disasters.  This probably has something to do with that same instinct that has perfumistas wearing expensive stuff to rake the yard or clean the gardening tools – an inside joke that Bloody Frida has observed. It almost certainly springs from the same impulse; if you’re in trouble, you should at least smell nice for said trouble.



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16 thoughts on “What I Wore to the Deluge

    1. Yes, I think that Guerlain is the practical choice! I was thinking partially of your post about wearing the expensive stuff while doing chores.
      And yes we lost power for five days- a lot of candle light and Monopoly- but who really had some troubles was Meg, I am hoping her part of Tom’s River didn’t get hit too badly!

  1. Here on the west coast I’ve experienced a week-long flurry of Guerlain ‘wearings’ and after reading your post I’m inclined to call it “disaster sympathy perfume”. : )

    So glad you’re well and safe!

    1. Guerlain does lend itself to “binge wearing” doesn’t it? But since I’ve road tested it in two hurricanes now, I think it’s certified: Safe For Perfumista Use in Emergencies.
      And yes, all fine, thank you for the concern, but the people who really had Sandy-smiting were on the Shore, and so I’m hoping Meg didn’t have too bad a time.

  2. Ha! It’s only us perfume crazies who would figure out what fragrance to wear to a disaster. During the hurricane I wore Rive Gauche, and afterwards vintage Emeraude. We have been without power since last Tuesday, and I’m tellin’ ya folks, it’s getting old. Thank goodness I can shower at work. Chanel No. 22 today.

    1. The no power thing does get boring pretty quickly. I think Rive Gauche was an excellent selection, you get a bit of backbone in that bottle!But after the worst of the storm, you want comfort which often equals Coty!

  3. Hmmm, what to wear in an emergency? I’m out of the earthquake/tornado/hurricane zones, so my most likely emergency would be a massive snowstorm where the power goes out. I think my Black Cashmere would come in handy for that – I read one review that quipped “You can wear this naked in a snowstorm and still feel warm.”

    And as far as the zombie apocalypse, I think that calls for the irises. Not only would I smell capable, but that dirt/metal/cool smell is about as far from warm human body as it gets. Irises are like Obi Wan Kenobi: “This is not the body you’re looking for. Move along.”

    1. Ah warmth, when you don’t have it you’ll wear anything to simulate it. Poivre baby, that’s what I wore when I was getting cold.
      As to the irises-yes, they are the best for coolness and cerebral detachment. I think of Samuel L. Jackson trying to disappear via Zen in Pulp Fiction was it? Maybe it would have worked if he was wearing Iris Silver Mist!

  4. I’m thinking this is one of those chacun-a-son-gout situations. “My” Guerlain is Chamade, which is not exactly what I think of in terms of what to wear in the face of a scary bluster. I’ve owned other Guerlains, sure, but they never feel quite right. I swapped away my Terracotta Voile d’Ete, my vintage Shalimar PdT, and my L’Heure Bleue parfum because I wasn’t wearing them. (I do own three bottles of Shalimar Light, but to be painfully honest, it is more a lemon version of vintage Emeraude than it is a less-tarry version of Shalimar, and I don’t think of Shal-lite as being a Guerlain at all.)

    Mitsy would definitely keep her head, but she’d also probably tick me off into the bargain, so that’s a no-go.

    Chanel No. 19: instant I-can-do-anything spine, when one must face unpleasantness. What else? Hmm. Hmmm. I HAVE said in the past that No. 5 parfum is never wrong, and I think perhaps it might still be true. I haven’t connected with any Carons, either. What else? Nothing comes to mind.

    Nope, still nothing.

    Except that I think Dionne’s right about those irises in a zombie apocalypse.

    1. Well florals are difficult in a tight place, they might wilt on you. Chypres are better and I’m thinking to suit your taste probably a floral chypre-how about hm,lessee now, L de Lubin? Or the old Crepe de Chine? Or say that L’Arte di Gucci? That might float your boat. I’d consider Sous le Vent myself, true grit with an atomizer attached!

  5. I am thinking about doing a Jersey Perfumista profile for Hurricane Sandy. Her favorite scents would be b.o., Sterno, sewage, chipped wood from a thousand downed trees, and the last whiff of fumes from the gasoline pump that runs out just as we pull up to it after a two-hour tooth-grinding wait. @__@

    1. Oh I hear you! My neighbors all have three hours in gas lines stories to growl about, and the local population are none too happy with the mayor-though what the mayor did I’m not clear on.
      The sun will shine again of course, but right now it’s November which doesn’t help.
      But you know macabre and ridiculous are often mates, consider the marriage of Vincent Price and Coral Browne, she used to wait in the wings while he was onstage doing one of his one man shows (Poe was popular) and then hiss, “Vinny, Vinny! Over here!” and moon him. I’m not sure how often Mr. Price kept a straight face.

  6. Five days without electricity scares me. I don’t remember ever being in that situation (though once I lived for a month without running water in a city with 2 million population – there wasn’t a perfume strong enough ;)). Since our “disaster of choice” would be an earthquake I don’t want even to speculate on what to wear… but I probably should add to my purse one or two samples of my favorite perfumes – so that my “good-for-any-situation” No 19 doesn’t feel that lonely in there.

  7. But No 19 is so good for any situation, it might almost meet Mals criterion of never being wrong. And I agree that you certainly don’t want to have to think about earthquakes! Yikes!
    The no power thing was mostly cold and a whole LOT of dishwashing, and a whole lot of Scrabble and Banagrams by candle light.

    1. We ended up listening to Patton Oswalt cassette tapes and an awesome college radio program of unconventional Hallowe’en songs, all by candlelight, holding hands under two layers of wool blanket.

      1. Wow what a great way to survive the power outage. We got, “Oh when is the POWER gonna come back on?” “Do you think it’ll come on tomorrow?” “Are we having pesto for dinner tonight? AGAIN?”
        And we played Rat a Tat Cat, and Monopoly by candle light. In desperation we read Pride and Prejudice-it was an emergency you understand!

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