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...a sweatshop of moxie

Friday, April 29, 2005

Today or Not Today

I am a sybarite.

I knew that the first night I had to spend in the dormers of my boarding school, scared, homesick, age 8.

When time came to turn off the lights, and slip between the covers (which always seemed damp, in childhood recollections), I recoiled not because of any humidity, but because I was unused to rough cotton under me...and longed not for the teddy I had left behind, but for my soft satiny sheets.

To assuage these earthy needs this week, I went to my preferred, local "Spa".

Now "spa" in the US is not like the spas our great-grandparents went to -- where moustachioed Swiss women in white, hosed your mud-packed body off.

No, it's basically a lady's hair salon with benefits.

These benefits may include colossally painful Brazilian bikini waxing, always tepid bubble tea, deep-tissue shiatsu massage, Vichy Rain Shower, and some torture known cryptically as "frosting".

Although I partook of the soothing Vichy Rain Shower (where you get to shower in a Tiki Hut contraption with the sound of parrots around you), I had nothing more daring than a mani/pedi.

But on the way out to the caisse, I saw rows and rows of narrow little perfume bottles, which I had always been curious about. I realised too late, this was the salon equivalent of supermarket's impulse-shopping candies and choccies placement.

Before I knew it, the Scary Spice-looking cashier asked if I had 10 minutes, since she could make a scent from these massed perfume essences, just for me. My own perfume! Like Christian Dior made "First Lady" for Imelda Marcos?? I couldn't resist!

"Now, I want you to close your eyes. Good. Now I'm going to turn on this Aveda CD and you will listen to it, relaxing your body with the rhythms of the Amazon rainforest." [more parrots]

"I will pass each of these essences under your nose, and still keeping your eyes closed, you will QUICKLY sniff them. Say, 'Today or Not Today', depending on your mood."

Tawny Lilac. "Not Today"
Minty Spearmint. "Today!"
Some hay-smelling thingie. "Not Today"
The smell of fresh Granny Smith apples. "Today"
Strawberries. "Not Today, giggle"
Tuberoses. "Never Today, cough"
Soft gardenias. "Hmm. No. Not Today"

On and on it went, until I had gotten to the last bottle, my nose alive with dozens and dozens of fragrances, some for whom I doubt even Grasse experts knew names.

Then, having been allowed to open my eyes at last (ooh, her hair makes her look like a...cockatoo), I was given another whiff of the bottles I had todayed on.

The final sampling produced .5 fl oz/15 ml of my very own "Aveda Personal Blend Pure-Fume Spirit".

It's wonderful!

Citrussy. Crisp. Delicate, yet with none of that Laura Ashley sappiness. Minty notes which glide along with me, and don't oppress lift inhabitants any more than they should have to.

I think I will call it, "Parrot".


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