Because my Brain thinks it’s intelligent. The Brain thinks it’s educated. And worst of all, the Brain thinks it has taste.
My Nose is never concerned with any of that. The Nose doesn’t care whether what it smells is avant garde or not, the Nose could not care less whether a perfume is clichéd. The Nose just knows what it likes.
By now, I should know that in all matters pertaining to smells in my household the only expert is my nose, and I should defer to it.
But do I? NO, I do not.
Because my Brain always butts into the conversation my Nose is having with my Cerebral Cortex and suggests that whatever the Nose is registering is not actually relevant.
“This” says my Brain, “is a work of genius. I know, because several posters on a perfume site wrote about it.”
“Smells like a turdball to me,” says the Nose. The Nose dispenses with euphemisms, you understand. If there is any part of the brain that it gets along with, that part is probably the Id.
“No, no, no!” replies the Brain. “This is an animalic, an animalic perfume. You like it, really.”
“Do not!” replies the Nose stoutly. “I still say it’s a turdball and I say the hell with it!”
Now you would think, wouldn’t you, that my nose would win this argument. After all, lets be reasonable, how many people really want to wear something that smells like a turdball?
But you would be wrong, because most of the time, and for years, it was my Brain that prevailed. That is how I ended up with so many bottles kept for short periods of time. I tried to wear animalics, and that meant L’Air de Rien, which is a fine perfume – just not for me.
I tried to wear fruity chypres, but, same deal. Good thing I only ever possessed a small bottle of Rochas Femme. I tried to talk myself into the entire line of Parfums de Nicolai but could only manage the masculines and Cologne Sologne. I could not wear Nahema no matter how much I persisted, nor could I manage aldehydic florals, though Lord knows I persevered with Arpege. Most Orientals are a waste of effort for me, and don’t I know it?
In trusting your nose rather than your brain, you have to kiss the business of pretension goodbye. What my Nose likes is J.R.Watkins Hand Cream in Lemon, and I probably wear that more than any other scent. I mean, the Nose will go high end – it liked Krigler’s Lovely Patchouli 55 – but by now I realize that it’s not worth allowing the Brain to browbeat the Nose into elevated tastes.
There are lots of scents out there that I admire as scents, but I simply will never wear them. They are in the overwhelming majority, and interesting as they are, they are not purchases. For purchases, I trust: the Nose.
“Turns out,” he says cheerfully, “you don’t need one!”