Seventy-two days of lonely confinement can be the trigger for someone already used to question her inner and outer worlds. Why can’t some people look further their nose even during a pandemic? Why do I feel so rested if I haven’t properly slept in days? Why do we get even more lost the more information we receive? Why there’s so much noise if it has never been quieter? Around the third or fourth week of quarantine (I wasn’t losing my capacity to search for the greater reason, but I definitely lost track of time) I found myself wondering why I have been using the same perfume for the last 13 years.
by Raquel Fernández Sobrín
That proves, by the way, that I haven’t lost my talent to go from the surface to the deep and to take the superficial to the deepest. Best questions come up when you don’t expect them and mine appeared one of the few times I reproduced a ritual that wasn’t so common anymore right after applying my perfume before leaving the place to do the groceries. Weeks have passed since I last did that and it kind of felt like the first time. Thirteen years, I thought. Then I closed the door with the idea on my mind.
These last months have tested the foundations of our everyday lives. Our habits, what we assume as normal. Every 24 hours we picked or dismissed what was part of ourselves, finding our true selves on the way. Why did I still care about my perfume?
Thirteen years is a considerable amount of time. In this particular case it is the exact half of my conscience life. I guess no one would be surprised if I say that I can think of very little things of myself that I still keep more than a decade later, and that I don’t need to be specific explaining the number of relationships I’ve had that hasn’t require the same amount of commitment, especially developed in such a natural way. So natural it took me 13 years to realize that the one that I have with my perfume is the strongest relationship I’ve ever stablished. I have come and gone, I’ve let go and made people go (sorry about that).
Of course, I’ve dealt with temptation. I flirted with the idea of using that fragrance from Balenciaga that smell like violets (a mix of Ghesquière’s work for the maison and one of my favorite flowers still make my legs feel weak), the classics Chanel Nº19 or Dior’s Escale à Portofino. I even wanted to be an Opium woman, but I knew I was being betrayed by my own obsessions back then. The last and most hard to get over fling was Lipstick Rose of Frederic Malle. As stated by its name it smells like lipstick, but for me it smells like the afternoon I was poking around in my grandmother’s bathroom and found that her perennial rouge was actually Dior’s 999. I still wonder why they decided to change its packaging.
Perfume, besides high amounts of marketing, has to be a trip. The sense of smell is able to transport us to particular places. Concrete souvenirs. It can even take us where we have never been or where we would like to be. Mine doesn’t take me to the past, though it is somehow an anchor I dropped 13 years ago. It doesn’t drag me away, nor walks ahead or behind me and, as I said before, I can forget about it. It always let me think clearly. It doesn’t stun me or turn me into someone I’m not, although I have been so many versions of myself that I can’t remember. It takes me back to me. Why didn’t I realize earlier that the other thing I’ve been faithful all these years is to my idea of a real relationship?