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  1. #1

    Default Patchouli Girl and the Prada Socialite

    [blue]The recent thread on Guerlain by Indie_Guy got me thinking about this whole idea of fragrances being age-specific, an idea which I, and I repeat I, don’t, incidentally, buy.

    So if there are fragrance for old people and fragrances for young people, what does one do when one grows old? Does one abandon one’s youthful fragrances because one is old and does one all of a sudden adopt fragrances one once thought of as old and wear them just because one is now old (whatever “old” might mean). This logic reeks of insufferable determinism. I won’t go gentle into that good night. I'll well wear what I want when I want like I've always done. I wore *Habit Rouge* when I was twenty, and I wear it now that I’m 44 years old. Speaking of which, now that I am 44, one of my favorite fragrances--and this is only a recent thing--is *Acqua di Giò Pour Homme*, a fragrance which elicits a wide variety of responses on this board from elitism to ageism. But let me illustrate my point via a true story about what happened to me late last week. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent:[/blue]

    [red]Patchouli Girl and the Prada Socialite[/red]

    [blue]I had showered in the late afternoon, doused myself liberally with *Acqua di Giò Pour Homme* from a big-assed, 6.7 oz bottle I had recently purchased and was enjoying the sillage in the crammed quarters of my car all the way to the local Wholefoods store where I stopped off to get something to eat before I went in to teach my evening class. I always try to check out with Patchouli girl, a very pretty, vivacious, and friendly neo-hippie kind of young girl around twenty years of age. You know the kind, very tasteful piercings, delicately etched tattoos in the most delicate of places, and razor-cut short and shiny natural black hair. She always has a genuine smile for me every time I checkout out with her and we’ve got to know one another quite well, so it’s always a pleasure to see her and make pleasant small talk. Oh, she always wears patchouli oil as her signature scent. In front of me, stood an equally attractive woman in her mid to late forties. Clearly one of the socialites from the surrounding affluent suburbs. She was impeccably dressed in long flowing slacks and a spaghetti string top, her whole outfit carefully coordinated in earth tones all the way done to her shoes and even her handbag, which was a really expensive, original Prada. She was athletic, confident, with clear blue eyes, flawless skin, and carefully managed, perfectly conditioned and perfectly cut short blond hair. She was not a woman to be trifled with. As I approached and got in line to check out, both she and Patchouli girl began to look at each other, and I sensed vaguely that they were exhibiting signs of considerable unease. There seemed to be a secret alliance between them. They were communicating on a level which we males are only ever dimly aware. I began to feel uncomfortable finally picking up on their unease about something both of them were clearly troubled over that had to do with me, when both of them, knowingly, looked at each other and blurted out in unison, as if they’d rehearsed for hours before this moment, “I hope you don’t mind, but what cologne are you wearing? It smells reeeally good.” Trying to look composed, and trying to wipe the stupid, sheepish grin from my face, I muttered, “Acqua di Giò Pour Homme” with the slightest and most debonair of Italian and French inflections in the appropriate places. They kept telling me how wonderful it was, and I kept smiling thanking them for their kindness.

    Walking out of the store, my recyclable bag filled with wholesome goodies clutched firmly under my arm, the sun was setting. The light was slowly becoming crepuscular, and the sky was ablaze in a vibrant explosion of sherbet ice-cream orange typically of summer sunsets in Texas in late August, and I was, like Patchouli girl and the Prada socialite, really, I mean reeeally digging my *Acqua di Giò Pour Homme*. Young, old, niche, designer, department store, boutique, these were now all abstractions that were all melting away like the last remnants of the day.

    The only true limitations are those of the mind.


  2. #2

    Default Re: Patchouli Girl and the Prada Socialite


    I totally agree with you, and I think the answer to the "age" question lies in your last line. "The only true limitations are those of the mind." But keep in mind that those are very real limitations, depending on the person.

    I think when we smell a perfume we associate perhaps a memory, a place or, more often, a mood or persona with it. As we age, with many people the persona we want to be associated with changes. A younger man may scorn a more refined, reserved fragrance in favor of a wilder, more reckless one that matches the persona he sees himself as having, or wishes he had. However, as he grows older, perhaps he acts and feels a different way, and wishes his fragrances to reflect that. I don't think any fragrance has the persona "old" or "young", and I don't think that people will see you as "old" or "young" if you wear it, but people can flock to or spurn a "reserved" or "wild" fragrance in much the same way.

    And then there are those of us, and I think you may fall in this catagory scentemental, who feel no such limitations of age. Those of us who recognize that our personalities, at any age, have a thousand facets. I won't let the fact that I'm 20 and in college stop me from wearing any perfume that suits my persona. I will still wear my most opulent Amouages, my flirtiest La Chasse, by naughtiest Bandit , my most refined Fleurissimo, or my moodiest Angelique Encens. When I am 40, or 50, or 60, I will probably still wear these. Perhaps in different frequencies than I do today. Perhaps I will feel flirty less often, refined more often, and naughty less often...but I doubt it. And I think others sense this, sense that your scent matches the persona you project, and thus is in no way out of place.

    And so I agree with you wholeheartedly. Let those who can free themselves of the limitations of their minds step forward to enjoy the most "innappropriate" fragrances and the most "innappropriate" lives. I plan to go hang-gliding when I'm 50...who's with me?


  3. #3

    CologneJunkie's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    Overland Park, KS
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    Default Re: Patchouli Girl and the Prada Socialite

    Quote Originally Posted by scentemental

    The only true limitations are those of the mind.
    Here here! It was because of my limited thinking that I didn't stumble across the idea of wearing "mens" fragrances sooner. Its the same thing w/ trying to put an age limit on a fragrance. I say if ya like it, WEAR IT. So what if I get the occasional weird look from someone when I douse my petite lil self w/ Kouros (/rhetorical I'd really wear that!!!!).
    " David Bowie really God?" - Penelope Garcia

  4. #4
    evogel's Avatar
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    Jan 2003

    Default Re: Patchouli Girl and the Prada Socialite

    Beautiful posts and I agree 100%. Until I came to Basenotes, it NEVER entered my mind that any fragrance was age specific. I too wore Habit Rouge at twenty along with Guerlain Vetiver, Zizanie, Nino Cerruti Pour Homme, Kouros, etc. I never felt uncomfortable nor was I ever negatively criticized or told that I smelled "old".
    I grew up never really experiencing fragrance. My mother and father never wore fragrance and neither did both sets of grandparents or any other relatives. My only recollection of fragrance was the occasional whiff I would catch when we were out somewhere or if I was at a friends house and the friend started messing around with what their parents had on the dresser. Maybe this is why I have no preconceived notions about "age appropriateness". I don't have an older figure to associate with a certain fragrance. I do read of ladies and gentleman of many different ages here wearing and writing about every genre of fragrance with abandon and this is how I will continue to wear and enjoy my fragrances... without abandon and without apology, no matter who thinks they are "too old or too young."


  5. #5
    If not now, when?

    mikeperez23's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
    Miami, FL

    Default Re: Patchouli Girl and the Prada Socialite

    Bumping this post - scentemental's style of storytelling is fascinating and it made me giggle.

    Last edited by mikeperez23; 16th June 2008 at 09:56 PM.
    "When you become comfortable with uncertainty. infinite possibilities open up in your life"

    -- Eckhart Tolle
    Currently wearing: Vetiver by Guerlain

  6. #6

    Default Re: Patchouli Girl and the Prada Socialite

    I don't think my tastes will change that much. There is a side of me which really doesn't give a tinker's cuss what other people think. Over a quarter of a century since my teens and I still love heavy metal as much as I did the first time I ever heard AC/DC. The only thing that has changed is that my tastes are broader.

    Same with scent. I still love Pierre Cardin pour homme - but I also wear a wide range of other fragrances. Every scent is my skin and my skin's interpretation of a scent.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Patchouli Girl and the Prada Socialite

    I was just going to say "what a beautiful post to sign back on," when I noticed the date. It would be great to read more of your insights again, scentemental.
    Currently wearing: Mellis by Annette Neuffer

  8. #8
    Sloan's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
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    Default Re: Patchouli Girl and the Prada Socialite

    Quote Originally Posted by scentemental View Post

    The only true limitations are those of the mind.

    How very true. Thanks for the bumping this thread, Mike. Scentemental's posts have always been insightful, informative, entertaining, thoughtful, thorough, and well written. I miss him.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Patchouli Girl and the Prada Socialite

    Quote Originally Posted by sloan_8013 View Post
    How very true. Thanks for the bumping this thread, Mike. Scentemental's posts have always been insightful, informative, entertaining, thoughtful, thorough, and well written. I miss him.

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