It's Valentine's Day. Time to choose a perfume about love. It's easy to grab a bottle of Jean Patou Joy or a pretty soliflore, but we're real perfume enthusiasts here. There are at least a hundred kinds of love — shouldn't there be more than one type of Valentine's Day fragrance?
First, let's consider the love that launched a thousand Harlequin romances: Grand Love. Grand Love is that delirious ardor that seems inevitable yet impossible. You can't believe he actually loves you, yet aren't you fated to be together? — you both adore the same John Lennon song and neither of you likes meat on the bone. You both guffaw at the Naked Gun movies and you both detest gin. The world gushes with joy (look at the flowers that sprout in the pavement! kitties, babies everywhere! why have you never noticed how beautiful the grocery store logo is!) and you mysteriously drop five pounds. Without even trying.
If this is you, enjoy the ride. You need a perfume as crazily hyperbolic as your emotional state, something that could give a normal person a beauty hangover. I suggest Guerlain Nahéma for its psychedelic rose and peach, Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower for its heroin-like tuberose, or XerJoff Irisss for its iris-jasmine overdose.
Then there's Unrequited Love. This is the itch you can't scratch, the love that has you burning with lust at night and heartsick with longing during the day. Maybe it's for someone else's husband, someone who doesn't want you, or even someone of a gender you thought you weren't supposed to love. I won't deny the jagged beauty of unrequited love, but Dr. Angela says real love isn't for sissies. Pick up the phone and do your best to get something started with your love interest. If it doesn't work, move on. Unrequited love can rouse a drug-like drama that poisons as it feeds. We don't want you spending too many nights with An Affair to Remember and a bottle of bourbon.
(Related to Unrequited Love is Unhappy Love. You walk on eggshells with your honey. You think if he would only stop seeing his ex/ get his temper under control/ give you a ring /insert other issue here everything would be great. In the meantime, you're settling for someone who doesn't love you how you need it.)
If you're a victim of Unrequited Love or one of its relatives, a perfume full of passion and courage might suit you today. Something with definite character whose beauty hurts a little. How about Robert Piguet Bandit, Vero Profumo Onda, or Serge Lutens Tubéreuse Criminelle? We're rooting for you.
Now let's talk about a really wonderful love: Lifelong Love. This is the subtle love woven over years. It's that feeling like being dipped in warm water you get when you see his face across the train station. This is the love that holds back your hair when you vomit. It's confident, secure, forgiving, and is as different as the millions of couples who create it. If we're lucky, Grand Love turns to Lifelong Love, but I'd happily toss every romance novel into the Grand Canyon and follow it with a lit match to get to the meat of Lifelong Love.
Lifelong Love deserves a perfume that is lush, lasting, but with a quiet sillage. Something complex and changing. Here, Jean Patou Joy in parfum is a great choice. Guerlain Chamade parfum or Tauer Perfumes Une Rose Chyprée (just a drop) would be nice, too.
What if you aren't in a relationship now? What does Valentine's Day have to do with you? Lots, of course. There's plenty of love out there to celebrate — the love you feel for your baby nephew, your best friend, Daniel Craig, the barrista who made your latte perfectly this morning, you name it.
Besides, love begets love. You've probably heard of the study that showed people who hang out with overweight people are more likely to be overweight? I have a theory that it's the same with love. Today, eat something shaped like a heart. Buy a potted hyacinth to keep at your desk. Smile at the bus driver. Get out that sample of vintage Diorissimo parfum you've been hoarding and dab it on.
Happy Valentine's Day.
What perfume do you associate with love? Who do you love today?