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Thread: Hurt Old Lady

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  1. #1

    Question Hurt Old Lady

    Hello. I am an old lady and so I wish someone could tell me exactly what people are referring to when they say that a perfume smells like an old lady or that a perfume is one that an old lady would wear. I take regular baths and wear many of the new perfumes including some old classics. I do not wear depends nor do I need them. I get a little hurt by these comments and so I wish someone could explain this more to me. Thank you.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    I too have been angered by these sorts of comments, though I am not yet an old man at the age of 40. I am old enough to know that one day, I will be an old man. These comments are stupid, ignorant and rude, they are the product of a youthful pack mentality. The people who make them are making themselves feel better and superior by putting another group down. If they were using another criterion apart from age, there would be an outcry.

    Old women are our sisters, friends, wives, girlfriends, as well as our mothers and grandmothers, they are the wise, the learned and the experienced and are worthy of our respect.

    Find another way to describe the perfumes.
    "Donít try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out. Ē - Henri Matisse.

    "Wear R de Capucci" - Hirch Duckfinder

    reviews

  3. #3

    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    Thank you hirch_duckfinder. You are very kind.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    TDDanae, welcome! I'm with you. If people mean to say that a frag has a smell they associate with the 1960s, or the 1940s, or that it actually reminds them of the kind of scent their mother or grandmother wore, they should say so, instead of making this dig at "old ladies" and "old lady perfumes" that we see on these boards (and of course elsewhere) sometimes.

    The few digs I've seen in my months of reading BNotes at "old man" frags (and I appreciate that those have been few) make me realize that the "old lady" dig is somewhat more common (probably not surprising, coming from a mostly male constituency). Thanks, TDDanae, for bringing this to the community's attention and asking us all to give it a moment's thought.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    Quote Originally Posted by TDDanae
    Thank you hirch_duckfinder. You are very kind.
    Not kind, just telling it like it is! But i am pleased if it made you feel supported.
    "Donít try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out. Ē - Henri Matisse.

    "Wear R de Capucci" - Hirch Duckfinder

    reviews

  6. #6

    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    I doubt they're trying to put down older women when they make such comments. It's that the trends in frangraces have changed a fair deal. Not necessarily true of Basenote members, but most people are buying up lighter, airier sents these days. Many disapprove of the heavier, mustier classics of yesteryear.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob
    I doubt they're trying to put down older women when they make such comments. It's that the trends in frangraces have changed a fair deal. Not necessarily true of Basenote members, but most people are buying up lighter, airier sents these days. Many disapprove of the heavier, mustier classics of yesteryear.
    Then why don't they say that? It gets used as a way one young person puts another young person down. Different cultures have different scents too. What would you think if someone said - I dont like scent xxxx, it makes you smell like xxxx (racial group) ?
    "Donít try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out. Ē - Henri Matisse.

    "Wear R de Capucci" - Hirch Duckfinder

    reviews

  8. #8

    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    Quote Originally Posted by hirch_duckfinder
    Then why don't they say that? It gets used as a way one young person puts another young person down. Different cultures have different scents too. What would you think if someone said - I dont like scent xxxx, it makes you smell like xxxx (racial group) ?
    People don't say that because they are inclined not to do so. (Be it a lack of courtesy or better terms to use.)

    It seems that ethnicity in fragrances is a common theme, so I dont see why I'd be bothered.

    If I were to describe a cologne as something that reminded me of a grandparent, it'd be a respectful term.

  9. #9
    Strange Accord's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    The ageism towards women is one of western society's most unchallenged prejudices. It causes as much agony to older women in general as racism. It amazes me that this is not seriously challenged. I even say to older women that it outrages me and many of them actually excuse it. I believe they are so terrified at acknowledging they can be rejected because of it, that they just can't acknowledge it as a problem. My sister who is 60 and single (her SO died of cancer a couple of years ago) says she can't fight it because it is so humiliating to speak publicly about it. This is no different than black people who had suppressed their humiliation. This is precisely why the phrase "Black is beutiful" was popularized by black radicals in the 60s. I know many women who are devastated by agesism.

    Even in the so-called "progressive" community ageism towards older women is pretty generally accepted. Nobody creates boycotts of movies in which older men almost inevitably link up with women decades younger then them. And many of these male actors are considered rock solid liberals. The blindness toward ageism in this society appals me.

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    Hope this isn't taken as spam. Got this in the mail from a friend from church.

    Subject: A poem on being 'Elderly'

    When an old lady died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Dundee, Scotland, it was felt that she had nothing left of any value.

    Later, when the nurses were going through her meager possessions, they found this poem.

    Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

    One nurse took her copy to Ireland.

    The old lady's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the North Ireland Association for Mental Health.

    A slide presentation has also been made based on her simple, but eloquent, poem.

    And this little old Scottish lady, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this "anonymous" poem winging across the Internet.



    An Old Lady's Poem

    What do you see, nurses, what do you see?

    What are you thinking when you're looking at me?

    A crabby old woman, not very wise,
    uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes?

    Who dribbles her food and makes no reply,
    when you say in a loud voice, "I do wish you'd try!"

    Who seems not to notice the things that you do,
    and forever is losing a stocking or shoe.....

    Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you will,
    with bathing and feeding, the long day to fill....

    Is that what you're thinking?

    Is that what you see?

    Then open your eyes, nurse; you're not looking at me.

    I'll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
    as I do at your bidding, as I eat at your will.

    I'm a small child of ten ...with a father and mother,
    brothers and sisters, who love one another.

    A young girl of sixteen, with wings on her feet,
    dreaming that soon now a lover she'll meet.

    A bride soon at twenty -- my heart gives a leap,
    remembering the vows that I promised to keep.

    At twenty-five now, I have young of my own,
    who need me to guide and a secure happy home.

    A woman of thirty, my young now grown fast,
    bound to each other with ties that should last.

    At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,
    but my man's beside me to see I don't mourn.

    At fifty once more, babies play round my knee,
    again we know children, my loved one and me.

    Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead;
    I look at the future, I shudder with dread.

    For my young are all rearing young of their own,
    and I think of the years and the love that I've known.

    I'm now an old woman ...and nature is cruel;
    'Tis jest to make old age look like a fool.

    The body, it crumbles, grace and vigour depart,
    there is now a stone where I once had a heart.

    But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells,
    and now and again my battered heart swells.

    I remember the joys, I remember the pain,
    and I'm loving and living life over again.

    I think of the years ......all too few, gone too fast,
    and accept the stark fact that nothing can last.

    So open your eyes, people, open and see,
    not a crabby old woman; look closer ...see ME!!


    Remember this poem when you next meet an old person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within...

    We will one day be there, too!

    SHARE THIS POEM.........
    ITS SOMETHING WE ALL NEED TO REMEMBER!!

  11. #11

    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    Welcome TDDanae. Thanks for pointing this out. I think people use the term "old lady perfume" as a short-hand way of saying that something is "heavy and floral." I don't think they mean it as an insult, nor do I think people mean it to be personal, as I'm sure they all have mothers and grandmothers, and if they were to think through it, would realize it could be hurtful to folks, some of whom they personally know (always helps to be able to put a face to an anonymous comment). Hopefully your comments will push other Basenoters to find better ways to express what they mean. Anyway, I hope that you will stick around and share your thoughts on frags with us.

  12. #12
    Dependent pluran's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    When I see references to old lady or old man I rarely read the rest of the review. Women over fifty are often the sexiest ones. I can't remember the exact quote but George Carlin said it and I find it extremely accurate. It's something to the effect of, "No man is as smart as the average woman of 50".
    Last edited by pluran; 16th January 2007 at 01:57 PM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    My RN specialty is geriatrics and I really, really loved that poem. And I will say that even my patients who were suffering the worst from dementia, strokes, and all other sorts of loss, were always cheered and lifted by their favorite perfumes! Or a gift of a special perfume, etc.. I use aromatherapy a lot and it was much appreciated by patients. Perfume has that effect on us, and it never really dims. And I can't think of any category of perfume that is particularly "senior"- all the folks I worked with had their own likes and dislikes. So I've never understood what the phrase "old lady perfume" means, either. Thanks for this great thread.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    Thank you for all the kind and encouraging words. That is a beautiful poem radix023. I have an extra hour so I am in the process of making a huge decision. Should I float around on a cloud of Le Baiser Du Dragon or Hypnotic Poison. Life can be so hard at times.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    I'd go with the dragon! Welcome to Basenotes!

  16. #16
    foetidus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    Welcome to basenotes,TDDanae.

    I'd go with the Hypnotic Poison.

    We go through this discussion at intermittent intervals. It's amazing to me that people who wouldn't think of saying "racial" fragrance or "sexual preference" fragrance (although we do get that from time to time, too) have no problem saying "old man" or "old woman" fragrance. Amazing because they apparently can't see the use of the term as a pejorative and because that's the one thing THEY, THEMSELVES, will be someday--if they are lucky.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    All I can say is that my grandmother has great taste in fragrance, and I would never describe a scent as 'old lady.'

  18. #18

    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    The term "like an old lady" is just a figure of speech. There is no personal insult intended. Many commonly used metaphors have no association with the literal meaning. People have described one of my favorite scents as "smells like a hairy disco guy" or "some hairy guy". I have no idea what "hairy" guys smell like, but if it's Gucci PH, then I like smelling "hairy".

    Several years ago, I had a conceptual design meeting with potential clients. The couple were in there 60's and I met with Mr. Homeowner for about 10 minutes before his wife joined us. I was asked to briefly review what we had just discussed with Mrs. Homeowner. When she sat at the table, the absolute most jaw dropping wonderful fragrance wafted across the table and I completely lost what I was saying. The only thing I could think of was "what is she wearing?" After an embarrassing moment, I regained my composure, apologized and resumed the conversation.

    Mr. Homeowner looked at a little funny after that...I probably looked like I wanted to bend her over the table right then and there and needless to say, I didn't get the job, but if women in there 60's are old, I like the way "old women" smell.

  19. #19

    TaoLady's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    SO WEIRD to get home from my Tai Chi session and read this post - because the same thoughts had been runnning through my mind on the way to the class. Thoughts about what "old woman" smells like...to me, light and powdery, like Turkish Delight candy. To another, heavy and floral.

    Hmmmnn.

    As CJoe points out, subjectivity (and, I would say, conjecture) has a lot to do with it. One BNoter has described a fragrance as smelling like "the (private parts) of an old whore" which led me to speculate on where he was spending his time.

    As an "old lady" (I think that, technically, that is someone 75 or older) I have to kinda smile at what I detect as the fear that hides behind that set of words which - as has been pointed out - engenders respect and a bit of envy in other cultures.

    So, consider the source(s) TDDanae, and sniff on!!
    "The world is ruled by letting things take their course. It cannot be ruled by interfering." Lao Tze

  20. #20

    Shycat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    I'm only 42, but my sons 11 and 14 think of me as ancient -- after all I'm four times older than them. I'm quite aware that when I am 90, the phrase "old lady perfume" will be used for.... KAI ! I think it cuts both ways, this generational disrespect, as I've heard plenty of references to "teenybopper" frags, and that's never meant in a positive way, either.

  21. #21
    Tovah's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    Cheers to TDDanae, and welcome!

    That "old lady" thing has bugged me throughout all my years of being a member on various fragrance boards. I'm 40, and my sons (like Shycat's kids) think I'm as old as dirt. Obviously it's all relative...however,

    the thing that really bugs me about using "smells like an old lady" or "old lady perfume" when describing a scent is that it's nearly always meant in a negative way. I'll read reviews that say "Yuck. Smells like my grandmother." "Eeeu - smells like old lady." Huh.

    My grandmothers were so different in their olfactory style that "smelling like my grandmother" can be good or bad! One grandmother smoked 5 packs of cigarettes a day (she sure stunk) and wore Jungle Gardenia, and the other grandmother wore Royal Secret and smelled like a dream...I always thought Royal Secret smelled classy, ladylike, and elegant. If I smelled Jungle Gardenia again, I'd probably detect a note of stale cigarette, just because of the power of olfactory memory.

    I digress. In any case, thanks for this post. It's so much fun to see how everyone interprets the idea of "Old Lady" differently. (Hint to reviewers - obviously no one really understands what you mean when you call something an Old Lady scent).

    I hope I live long enough to read reviews that describe bubble gum, sugary, and sweet vanilla fragrances as "smells like my grandmother".

  22. #22

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    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    Quote Originally Posted by Tovah
    One grandmother smoked 5 packs of cigarettes a day (she sure stunk) and wore Jungle Gardenia If I smelled Jungle Gardenia again, I'd probably detect a note of stale cigarette
    .
    See? Even more "me of the future!" I smoke 6 cigs a day with kai.....YIPE!

  23. #23

    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    These posts have given me a lot of laughs. My mom used to soak herself in Youth Dew and my grandmother would do the same with Here's My Heart from Avon. This never bothered me because I was about twelve and I would go down to Woolworth's and buy Blue Waltz about twenty five cents a gallon. I'd just pour that on and wonder why people kept their distance. Oh well, I guess it's all a matter of perspective. Ha!

  24. #24

    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    Well, I'm 33 and I actually seek out that supposedly "old lady" smell, only to me it is "Mrs. Korn Accord". She was a beautiful, sweet, lovely-smelling woman I knew when I was 5 years old. She at the time was in her late 70's. I wanted to be just like her, and I seek out older scents like L'Heure Bleue and Shalimar because they smell like her, even though she probabaly didn't wear those particular perfumes.
    When I read a review and the scent is referred to as "old ladyish"...it usually becomes my next blind buy .


    A Toast to Mrs. Korn *sprays Tabu in the air* I MISS YOU!!

  25. #25

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    Wink Re: Hurt Old Lady

    I'm 54, and when I was 18 or so went to a classy perfume shop in Chicago on the Gold Coast , as it was the only place I could find Mitsouko bath oil. The sales lady there tried to sell me on Calandre, as it was so much more "modern," and
    I was so young...La plus ca change...
    Does anybody else remember that shop? I think it was called "The French Perfume Shop" or something close to that. It was on either Rush, State or Dearborn Street.

  26. #26

    Post Re: Hurt Old Lady

    I did describe one fragrance as being 'old ladyish' (Ghost Serenity) and this thread made me want to pinpoint exactly what I meant by using those words because it was a shorthand way of describing my reaction to this fragrance and was in no way intended to offend anyone. I was not aware, however, of the wide range of interpretations these words were open to.
    I could have used the words 'smelling like highly scented talcum powder' when describing Serenity for that is the scent association that I, as a child, made with the oldest generation of women I came into contact with. These women were my dearly loved grandmothers, their sisters and friends and their perfumes all smelled like very sweet, talcum powder to me. This is probably because talcum powder, soap and shampoo were the only scented frame of reference I had personal experience of as a young child of around five years old.
    As an adult a perfume falling into this category (ultra powdery/talcum) would be of interest to smell, evoking a particular time, but I don't want to wear any scent which has such an indelible connection to my childhood. I suppose this really means that it is unfair of me to review such a fragrance because I am predisposed to not liking it for specific personal reasons.
    My own granddaughter who is five years old might have similar experiences with perfume when she is older but I am hoping that as she likes to sample her way through my scent collection she will have a far more varied fragrance reference than I ever had at the same age. At the moment she loves the smell of everything in Lush and also the 'swimming pool' smell - chlorine!
    Sorry for this reply being so long but just have to add that I am of the firm belief that age is just a number and old simply means 'having been around for a long time': for my part there is no negativity associated with either word. I have no negative view of the word 'lady' either. I have known lots of ladies older by many years than myself, one of whom lived past the age of one hundred, who were/are more alive in soul and spirit than ladies a fraction of their age.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    Quote Originally Posted by chaelaran1008
    I could have used the words 'smelling like highly scented talcum powder' when describing Serenity...
    I think if posts were more specific -- like this one -- about the components of a given frangrance that just don't feel contemporary, it would be a really interesting and enlightening discussion. I've been wondering lately if my "nose" has gotten stuck in a prior decade. It can be hard to be objective about which of one's own fragrances may have gotten cliched and which have stood the test of time. Going off to a job interview, say, smelling like a flower child or a victorian mansion could definitely backfire, as much as I love some of those scents.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    Quote Originally Posted by emfoley
    I think if posts were more specific -- like this one -- about the components of a given frangrance that just don't feel contemporary, it would be a really interesting and enlightening discussion.


    I've been wondering lately if my "nose" has gotten stuck in a prior decade. It can be hard to be objective about which of one's own fragrances may have gotten cliched and which have stood the test of time. Going off to a job interview, say, smelling like a flower child or a victorian mansion could definitely backfire, as much as I love some of those scents.
    first point -absolutely agree - this would then be a significant contribution to the discussion.

    second point -Don't worry about this! It is just fashion which by definition comes and goes while quality endures. If you wear something classic from any decade it will work.
    "Donít try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out. Ē - Henri Matisse.

    "Wear R de Capucci" - Hirch Duckfinder

    reviews

  29. #29

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    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    "I hope I live long enough to read reviews that describe bubble gum, sugary, and sweet vanilla fragrances as "smells like my grandmother".
    LOL Tovah, couldn't agree more!

    I think Americans tend to automatically throw out anything old; newer is always better in these United States. The best thing about reading Basenotes and the other perfume blogs has been discovering the classics - I would never have tried Mitsouko without reading the raves here.

    The great thing about the classics is they were designed to make a statement, evoke a mood and add to the wearer's mystique. They are Perfume, and the designers never intended a woman to smell like "ocean air" or "cupcake accord". (Quelle horreur...) Modern mass-market scents are frequently less demanding and lack subtlety-- but I won't call them teeny-bopper colognes. We should resolve to be more descriptive when we talk about perfume, instead of using cliches.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Hurt Old Lady

    I think it depends on how it is presented. There are fragrances that would appeal to someone who is more sophisticated and " worldly" and may suit a young teenager. This is true with fashion/clothing as well. Unfortunately, in the U.S. ageing or getting older is not accepted with dignity and grace unlike other cultures. Then again, it would be a different topic altogether.
    "A great perfume is a work of art, it can lift our days, haunt our nights and create the milestones of our memories. Fragrance is liquid emotion. And that never goes out of fashion. " MICHAEL EDWARDS

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