Once in a while I fall for a fragrance and bring it
home and it turns on me, like an ungrateful pet or a lover with not enough love.
One such fragrance is Rouge Hermes. It comes in a deep red bottle, all sleek
curves and a golden cap, and at first blossom it unleashes rose and ylang-ylang,
and then, and then, it turns into a little old lady with a bad lavender hair
rinse and not enough sex and too much powder. Sigh. I tried wearing it again
tonight, hoping it would change its mind, but sometimes, a promise stays just
that, words in the air with no feet to plant on the

This happens rarely, very
rarely. I lucked out on my body chemistry – scents normally stay true on my
skin, as do makeup pigments. Decisions made on impulse only occasionally taste
of regret. It helps that my instinct for scent has been honed by years of
mini-journeys through department store fragrance counters. It helps that now, at
thirty-four, I know what I want.

like nature, like every human soul that has ever tripped on a metaphysical
pebble on the Great Road of This Absurd Life, I make mistakes. A pity that not
all of them can so easily be washed off with soap and water, as I have just done
with Rouge Hermes.