Not often a topic of discussion are they but a comment at work got me thinking.
“Oh no, I wouldn’t like my boyfriend using the same cologne as my father. That’s gross.”
We weren’t talking about using the exact same cologne – rather using the same fragrance. That sort of sentiment hadn’t ever occurred to me but I had to agree that she had a point. I don’t think I’d have liked my lover smelling of the same fragrance associated with my Dad.
This got me thinking about the perfumes associated with special people in our lives, particularly grandparents and parents – those who we’ve known all your lives. About the scent of their skin in an embrace. I’m thinking of a dear friend in Christchurch and of her familiar fragrance when I last visited. Even though I hadn’t seen her for many many months, I recognised her special smell instantly. Familiar smells are welcoming – much like coming home – they’re reassuring.
Undoubtedly the most delicious smell is that of a new born baby – it’s indescribable. Any parents reading this understands what I’m talking about. Even now, if the scent of my babies drifted by, I’d know it. Us mothers are programmed for it , it’s part and parcel of bonding and is very primal. The smell loses intensity after the first few days but lingers for months especially when breastfeeding.
While I was growing up, there were only a few eau de colognes (or after-shaves) available for men. My father – yes I do talk about him a lot – had two favourites. I shouldn’t really call them favourites because if he’d had a greater choice, maybe he would have opted for something different. There’s also the question of where his supply of eau de colognes came from…it just could be that bottles of ‘Old Spice’ were actually gifts from his children! Us!!! Maybe we fueled his ‘love’ of Old Spice. Interesting thought!
He used to slap it, or another called something like ‘4-7-11’, on in the mornings. I can still see him doing it. We used to mimic his routine.
When we were still at primary school my mother was hospitalised for a week or so and my father looked after us, making our lunches in the morning and doing all the cooking. Trouble is – he’d make the sandwiches after slapping on his after-shave. So, our delicious cottage cheese and jam sandwiches, or our even more yummy chicken sandwiches – had a distinct taste of ‘Old Spice’ as well. Not yum…but I’m sure we still ate them.
Smell became taste – a whole new sensation but not one worth marketing.