I’ve been house sitting in Guanajuato, Mexico, for almost two and a half weeks now, and it’s been wonderful. I feel relaxed and stimulated at the same time. I’ve gotten a lot of writing done, and my brain is stuffed with beauty, from the soundscape of church bells, barking dogs and crowing roosters to the old tile floors and street shrines I see during my daily walks. I'm the luckiest person ever.
There’s just one thing: I really miss my perfume.1
Sure, I miss my friends, but we talk, and they can follow my doings on Instagram (you can, too, if you want, at @angela.m.sanders). I miss having my cats on the bed. I also miss good butter and being able to explain myself well — my Spanish is awful. But I really miss opening my perfume cabinet each morning and deciding what I wanted to smell that day. Feeling optimistic and sunny? A shot of L’Artisan Parfumeur Mandarine Tout Simplement might do. Maybe mysterious and a bit impenetrable? How about Millot Crêpe de Chine? And I have a lot more options than that.
For this trip, I packed a 30 ml bottle of Patricia de Nicolaï Eau Exotique. It seemed to have everything I’d need for January in Mexico: top notes of mango skin for sunny afternoons, just enough body, and a patchouli- and musk-tinged dry down to stand up to cool mountain air after dark. Plus, the bottle was small enough to carry on an airplane. Normally, I’d pack a few sample vials of favorites with me, but I was in a rush. Eau Exotique would be all I needed, I was sure.
I was wrong. It surprises me how much fragrance has become a part of my daily life. For the past 20 years, I’ve worn perfume nearly every day, often switching scents when one fades away. I didn’t realize how often I raise a wrist to my nose to ponder as I chew through a difficult paragraph on my laptop. I didn’t know how much confidence a few drops of Ciro Danger gave me. I couldn’t suspect how I’d come to rely on a comforting a spritz of Arquiste Anima Dulcis when it’s cold and I’m cranky.
Having one extra sense to tantalize has become as much a part of my daily routine as coffee in the morning and a bath before bed. In some ways, limiting myself to one perfume is like limiting my music to one song. As much as I adore listening to Shirley Bassey belt out “Get the Party Started” before I leave the house, I need Mozart and Joni Mitchell, too.
I’ll be home later this week. Now comes a big question: what perfume do I wear first?
As a fragrance aficionado, have you ever been limited to wearing just one fragrance for a long stretch? How did you feel about it?
1. I feel silly writing this, and I'd trade never wearing perfume again as long as I could have the experience I'm having now. So, please take this post as more of an observation than a complaint.
Note: top image courtesy of the author.