Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Conversation in the Car

Ada: Mom, what's that smell?  

Husband: Hmmm.  I think that's Mom's perfume.  

Kirie:  What's wrong, don't you guys like it?  It's one of my favorites, and I've been waiting to wear it, and today just felt like the day.

Ada:  It's too strong.

Husband.  Yes, too strong.  I don't like it.

Kirie:  But doesn't it smell warm and, you know, exotic?

Ada:  Mommies don't smell exotic!  Mommies need to smell like mommies, Mom!  

So much for exotic.  And warm and spicy.  The perfume in question is Yves St. Laurent's classic, Opium.  I have loved this scent since I was 12 years old.  It's one of those great scents that changes moods all day long--powdery, sandalwood, sexy, cinnamon, cumin, green-sap and sugar-musk, then powdery again, where it lingers like a sweet memory for a few days on your clothing. 

I fell for Opium when I was in junior high.  My music and voice teacher wore it as a signature perfume, and because of that, it signified all that was special and dramatic to me.  Stevie was vivacious and beautiful, with a huge, bell-like voice and the presence to match it.   Though I've worn the perfume long enough to establish new associations to it, the first note always sings "Stevie."  

So, phooey to my clan--I'm still going to wear it.  Just not for long roadtrips in the car.   

Later I prodded Ada a bit on what exactly Mommies smell like.  Her answer: soap and milk.  And that is definitely not exotic.

The photo is a rare shot of me, taken by Ada.  She points out that "You do not look exotic in that picture, either."  No kidding.  

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Lydia said...

I was going to comment that your daughter looks so much like you in the junior high school picture you posted a few days ago! You've aged, oh.....maybe three years in that time!

I used to love and wear designer perfumes, but have developed an intense allergy to strong perfumes. I'm afraid that it's becoming more common and suspect it has an environmental factor or such as cause. The office where my husband works has out-and-out banned perfume/cologne for all employees.

My favorites to wear were Amouage and Sacre. I still have a little of both left in their exquisite bottles and have tried to wear them in moderation around the house but find I can't breathe. :(

3continentfamily said...

That was so funny!

And I thought that picture was of your daughter (not that I would know...) but I had to do a double take because you look so young!

Enjoy your perfume :)

La Belette Rouge said...

I almost peed my pants laughing at this post. He-weasel LOVES Opium. He likes spicy, strong and exotic. I wear it as an act of extreme love. He also loves it when I wear Donna Karan Black Cashmere. Both are like catnip for him. Seriously, I cannot wear these fragrances if I don't mean it.

The Storialist said...

I'm also shocked...oh ye of youthfulness!! :)

This is a wonderful post and beautiful description of scent. I've started wearing Blood Orange (from L'Occitane en Provence)--it's wonderful (I love smelling like oranges!!).

My mom used to wear Shalimar when I was young....now she wears Angel. Both remind me of her instantly.

The Seeker said...

OMG is that really you???? Aren't you kidding???
I thought it was your daughter!!!
OMG I feel old!

But this is indeed such a funny post ;)

Well to be true I'm not a fan of Opium...


Missy said...

OMG -- I completely remember wearing Opium all the time with you. This certainly made me laugh. Maybe just save it for those more "exotic" times that are few and far between! I love the soap and milk! Wow -- we are such ....MOMS!!!!

angela said...

Hi Kirie

I love the picture - it is really so cute of you! Save me a copy, please and thank Ada for taking it.

Ada made great observations! - you always smell nice - milk, soap or Opium!

Great post!

It was good to see Missy's comment - hi to you Missy if you see this. Would love to see you.

Love, Mom

Lisa said...

One of my best friends wore Opium. When we lived together in college, our apartment smelled like a mixture of Opium and Magie Noire!

I love that photo of you! Seriously, you look like a kid!

bari said...

LOL. I remember when you fell in love with that fragrance!!! Try Jo Malone's Nectarine Blossom and Honey. It's to die for!

susan said...

It looks like everybody has beaten me to the punch about how young you look. I thought it was a photo of your daughter laughing.

My mother's perfume was Chanel #5 so whenever someone wearing it comes within range of my nose I'll think she's there. Maybe in a way, she is.

Paula said...

I love designer perfume! It does make me feel so amazing and can lift my spirits :)

The story was so funny! And thanks for sharing the photo and memories :)

Kirie said...

Lydia--thanks for the sweet compliment. I do look young, but that's because fat is a good wrinkle filler. Once I get lean and mean, I'll look my age, which is just a few months shy of 40.

I love Amourage. It's rich and delicate at the same time. But I haven't tried Sacre.

I'm sorry you can't wear these. I never wore perfume to work for those same reasons. I have an excellent collection, but I only wear it a few days a month, like a fun accessory.


Kirie said...

3continentfamily: thanks for coming by. And the compliment! My daughters are lovely, and I would love to be mistaken for either of them.

Kirie said...

Belle: I don't know DK Black Cashmere. If it's like Opium, I will love it. And my guy, well--he probably won't. I envy that He-weasel likes perfume. Mine has no need for it. But if I wore vanilla or have been baking...well, that's a different story. The way to a man's heart and all that.


Kirie said...

Storialist: I love the scent of oranges. It's hard to get right in a perfume, I bet--by L'occitane is so good. I'll have to keep my eye (nose) out for that.

I would love to see you write a poem about scents--if there is anyone who can hit it right, it's you...so pleased you liked my descriptions.

And as for the age, well, I'm a well-preserved 39, so not exactly a spring chicken.

My mom wears perfume that conjures her immediately. Boucheron is a favorite of hers; Shalimar brings my grandme into full focus, though she's been gone for over 20 years. Amazing.


Kirie said...

Seeker: Opium is one of those you either love or hate, I think, like Christian Dior's Poison.

I noticed on some of your posts that you like the perfume by Cacherel. Me, too! I've always loved Anais Anais and Noa.

And yes, that is really me. I almost never post a photo of myself, but since that took place in the car along with our odd conversations--well, it fit. I look more my age in person, I promise!

Kirie said...

I'm so glad to see you here in the comments!

I also remember you trying White Shoulders--was it one of your mom's favorites? But I don't remember if you kept wearing it. I do know that we loved those little samples, and for some reason, I loved to use different scented body washes for different occasions. Bare Elegance-like scents still make me think of summer. And you.


Kirie said...

Mom--thank you to you for starting me on liking perfume. Do you remember that little bottle of Tweed that you kept on your dresser in the old house? I remember you putting on that perfume when you went out, all lipsticked and clicking heels.

Later, I found that perfume and discovered that scent can indeed turn icky. The cork had disintegrated and it smelled like bourbon. Such a shame.

I tried to find Tweed for you last year, but had no luck. I think it's been discontinued...except in my memory.


Kirie said...

Lisa: Magic Noir! What a decadent feel for an apartment. Signature scents are wonderful; they immediately bring a person into your mind at a single whiff. I bet you and your roommate were like that to all of your college friends, and when they smell those scents to this day, they probably think of you.

Thanks for commenting! And the compliment on the photo.

Kirie said...

Bar: I know! I wanted so much to be grownup, too, didn't I?

I don't have Jo Malone's Nectarine Blossom and Honey. I do wear her scents pretty often--Lime Mandarin, and Lavender Amber. and the Grapefruit one are all really fresh.

talk soon!

Kirie said...

I wore Chanel No. 5 this past weekend, and Ada was smitten immediately. I, of course, tried to give her a little background on it and Coco Chanel, etc.

I think I ended up just pointing out that that is one of the classic perfumes of all time, and she will get to wear it when she's a bit older.

I love that it reminds you of you mom. And I do think that remembering the scent brings her close to you, regardless of where she is physically.


Kirie said...

Thanks for commenting. I'm glad you liked the story. Oh, the conversations we have in the car...

I'd love to hear about some of your favorite perfumes in a post sometime--wouldn't that be a fun meme to pass around? Just a thought.


Hilary said...

Dude. I hate to sound like a broken record, but ... you really DON'T age. Seriously. Wow.

I also hate to be the dissenting opinion, but I'm with Ada & Hubby. I'm not so much an Opium fan. Or, uh, Poison, either. I'm sorry! But your love for them is so evident and described so well, that I wish I DID love Opium; the love translates so well. Also, just adorable how Ada says, "Mommies should smell like mommies!" and her vision of what they should smell like. So endearing.

Other than my Seaspray body spreay, I wear CK1. Have loved that stuff for as long as I can remember. I used to wear Beautiful in HS and college, and I caught a whiff recently and said to myself, what was I thinking? Not so much the perfume loyalist, I guess.

Irene Latham said...

Kirie, I love your relationship with perfume. Plenty of time for Ada to warm up to your collection! Me, I'm a Red Door gal. Always come back to it.

Kirie said...

Hils: I am not a perfume loyalist, either. I jump from favorite to favorite, and there are a few that now make me question my thinking--Dune was great, and now, I think it smells like--well, I won't even say.

CK one is always good and fresh.

Speaking of good and fresh, I must have you fooled in that photo. Really. If it had been a choice shot of me in my bathing suit, you would see me for every day of my age, and then some. And that's okay, too!


Lydia said...

You're gonna love me for this (and I hope your mom doesn't see it - I waited a bit before posting)......

The Vermont Country Store carries Tweed! And some other really hard-to-find scents, like Woodhue which was my gift to my sister for her birthday in November. Go here then key in Tweed at the search box!

p.s. I'm going to try to use scent as you say maybe once a month. I have some vanilla essential oil that a friend gave me that I can actually enjoy, so I'll start there. I used to love my perfumes so much....

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