Perfume Diary #13: We Can't Be Ripe Until We…

“That fruit which is better as it gets worse / Until it’s at its best when it’s quite rotten / I’m afraid we old men are the same as that; / we can’t be ripe until we’re rotten” -Chaucer, Canterbury Tales Everyone wanted weird scents, and then weird scents got boring because everyone wanted them. Like all one sentence stories, this one lacks nuance so much as to be almost inadmissible, but it’s not entirely wrong. The trend seems to be turning more and more widely against strange perfumes, against proving that smelling bad is a way of smelling good, that dirt is actually elegant, that one is cool instead of basic because one wants to smell like birdshit rather than like roses. We all kind of want to smell like roses again. Maybe the past two years have just been so damn hard, and we want to smell soft. Looking at fashion, fantasy is in high style, and comfort too, a kind of permissive, enabling maximalism that says to grab whatever small scraps of joy are available--there is so little of it, after all, and time is so obviously cruel. We do not need to seek out ugliness, or demonstrate that we know it exists and where it lives. Ugliness isn't hard to find; anyone can close their eyes and point. In a recent, previous era when so much of this same ugliness was there but so many fewer people talked about it, it felt understandably significant to display on oneself the fact of horrors and bodies, poor hygiene, bad smells, and the fact that sometimes these disgusting and difficult truths could be sexier, more enticing, more what one

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