Friday, May 20, 2011

You stink so good.

It would be a bummer to lose my sense of smell.

No more smell of freshly baked banana bread.
Or baked ziti.
Or vanilla anything!

But it would be good not to smell stinky things.
Like garbage.
Or litter boxes.
Or B.O.

But sometimes a bad smell can bring back a good memory.
A whiff of these stinkpots manages to make me smile today:

Jean Nate’ After Bath Splash.
We had a gi-normous Costco sized bottle of Jean Nate’ in our shower before Costco even existed. I remember being very excited to have that big yellow bottle with the black script writing because I admired the beautiful women in the commercials who would splash handfuls of that yellow liquid on themselves. They looked so energized and enthused! They also made the application of this product look much easier than it was. I remember soaking our bathroom floor with the stinky alcohol-citrus stink. The room smelled like a lemonade stand blew up in it for about a week. The ads claimed you could “go one step beyond any clean you have ever known before” with this after bath splash. I don’t think the Jean Nate’ made me feel any cleaner than usual, but it did make me feel more lemon-fresh, like a good detergent. I like how they also said it’s a “great pick me up, in the shower…or anytime of day!” I imagined myself fully clothed, unscrewing the rounded bulbous cap of that giant bottle and pouring handfuls of it onto myself. I vividly remember a dream I had about Jean Nate’ after going to see a show at Sea World. I was in the first few rows where they give you that big plastic blanket to hold over yourself so you don’t get soaked. Shamu was swimming in a giant pool of Jean Nate’ that was splashing all over me while I sat with a giant grin on my face.
I gave a wink to the camera and woke up, all lemony fresh.

Charlie Perfume Dusting Powder.
Who wanted to be a “Charlie Girl?” I DID!
My grandma had a big old tub of Charlie scented dusting powder at her house. I remember the packaging, a plastic brownish base with a lid that had a clear apple stem on top that acted as a handle. I would sneak up into her pink bathroom (pink toilet, pink sink, pink toilet paper) and would puff that powder all over me until I looked like a ghost, or like I had just left Studio 54. Those Charlie Perfume commercials were awesome, showing a glamorous woman in a shiny jumpsuit with the most perfectly feathered hair you have ever seen getting out of a fancy car, or going into a fancy restaurant with the legendary Bobby Short on the piano singing:

There's a fragrance that's here to stay and they call it... Charlie.
Kinda fresh, kinda now, Charlie. Kinda new, kinda WOW, Charlie!

I was kinda bummed Grandma didn’t spring for the perfume (again, Like Jean Nate’ with the big script lettering) so I settled for the powder. That giant puff made me feel very glamorous, like an old ‘40’s movie star. The scent of Charlie was different from other sweet women’s perfumes, it wasn’t flowery, it was more musky and smelled like sandalwood, very outdoorsy. I’m sure the scent was nice when applied as a normal person would have done it, but piled on layer after layer in dusty powder form as I did it, it was not so good. I do still love hearing that old jingle and consider myself to be a modern day Charlie Girl ~ kinda WOW!

Polo Cologne.
Holy crap did every boy in the eighth grade douse themselves in this stuff?
Sure, there was also Drakkar and Cool Water, but Polo makes me think of sitting behind Mark and Kenny on the school bus in their Members Only jackets. When their window was open I was overwhelmed with the smell of an herbal pine explosion. All of the hot boys rocked this fragrance but everyone simply wore way too much of the stuff. When I see that hunter green bottle with the gold polo player on the front today my heart races and my stomach churns at the same time. Boys wore this scent regardless of whether they liked it or not, it was like they had to because everybody else was wearing it. Like a rite of passage, every thirteen-year-old boy got their first green bottle for Christmas or Hanukkah. I think the big problem was that the boys treated the Polo Cologne like I treated the Jean Nate’, splashing themselves silly with the stuff.

I think the moral of the story is there can indeed be too much of a good thing. Be liberal with your scent choices my friends, heed this warning.

I am certain that somewhere out there a piece has been written about “that girl in the early ‘90’s with the big curly hair that was doused in Obsession that made me sick.”

Yeah…sorry about that.


Ahhhh, the smells of years gone by.


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