I'll admit, I'm not entirely sane when it comes to perfume. One of the hardest questions for me to answer is "What's your favourtite scent?" I like everything to smell good. All. The. Time. And not just in the typical way, like how the house smells like family and love with a turkey roasting in the oven on Thanksgiving, or how the air seems so clean and fresh after a heavy rain fall in spring. That cool and gritty cement smell rising up from the floor of my balcony, surrounded by potted geraniums, is so intoxicating it practically begs me to get down on hands and knees and lick the concrete. I've yet to do it, but the impulse is there all the same.
My biggest scent-based temptations lie with the bottle. Jo Malone, Calvin Klein, Bobbi Brown, DSquared... it doesn't matter. I need to spritz them all on everyone and anything and no one is the exception -- not even my green-eyed feline Trixie-Belle, particularly when she saunters into the bedroom after I've sprayed Balenciaga's L'Essence on my wrists.
The scent's mossy, violet leaf fragrance mixed with earthy, woody undertones is just too good not to rub a little from my skin onto her fur. My husband rolls his eyes whenever I "share," but it's not as though I'm pouring the entire bottle over her body. It's just a tiny dab on the top of her head and on her neck. I swear she likes it.
Once, prior to going on a television show to talk about perfume and other beauty products, I had a makeup artist come to the house to "paint me" presentable. After laying out all of her brushes and hundreds of eye shadows and blushes on the table, Jasmine the makeup artist began applying layers of foundation to my face. (No easy task, what with the crow's feet and sun damage to hide.) That was when Trixie jumped up onto the chair next to me, settled her furry bottom on its seat, sat upright and turned her face towards Jasmine expectantly. Surprised, we both looked at her. I wanted to laugh, but stopped as soon as I saw how seriously Trixie was taking herself. Jasmine must have picked up on that too, because without missing a beat she took her biggest, fluffiest powder brush and rubbed it's soft bristles across both sides of Trixie's face. Taking her time, Jasmine swept that brush back and forth, paying special attention to Trixie's whiskers and then finished by giving her a final light pouf on the nose. Well! You could practically see Trixie's fur puff up with pride. The look on her face was priceless, like she felt glamorous and had fancy places to go to. It was so endearing (and I now love Jasmine all the more because of it) and such a classic moment that -- if I'm to be completely honest -- was precisely when perfuming the cat started. Can you blame me?
Of course, I was busted for it soon afterwards.
You see, a few months later Trixie developed a bit of a cold and was sneezing. And because I'm as neurotic about my cat as I am perfume, I had her bundled up and in the vet's office before she could say "Meow." Everything was going smoothly, with the vet listening to me ramble on about Trixie's symptoms, until it was time to put the cat on the examination table. Upon exiting her carrier, Trixie shook herself and as she did, a waft of Estée Lauder's Beautiful perfume emanated from her fur.
Within seconds, the gorgeous, warm and woodsy floral scent had filled the entire small, white and, otherwise, sterile room. I pretended not to notice, but the vet did, sniffing the air loudly and quizzically looking from me to Trixie and back again.
"What do you do for a living, again?" the vet asked. Without making eye contact I mumbled something about writing for a magazine. "Oh yes, that's right, I remember," he said. I have, after all, been taking Trixie to this vet for years. "Lady's lotions and lady's face creams, isn't it? Well, try to keep the cat from playing with them if you can."
Another quizzical look followed and I could practically hear the vet thinking if it was possible that I'd purposely doused my cat with perfume? The reality was I had.
An hour earlier I'd methodically picked out the fragrance that I thought would best give Trixie a perfume-infused boost. She was feeling under the weather, so logic dictated that a spray of the aptly-named Beautiful would do the psychological trick.
Now, instead of feeling pleased with my decision I had waves of guilt crashing down on me. Was I killing my cat one spritz at a time? As the potential horrors of feline lung cancer and immune deficiency filled my head, I felt sick to my stomach and began to sweat (through my "ladies deodorant," no less). I was certain that I was mere moments away from having Trixie ripped from my arms and secreted off, while the vet locked me in the examination room and swiftly placed a call to PETA. What had I done?
"The perfume won't kill her," the vet said, interrupting my thoughts.
Had I heard him correctly? As the realization of his words sunk in, relief washed over me, causing me to wobble ever so slightly on my heels. Grabbing Trixie's carrier, I steadied myself. "Thank God," I breathed.
"But cats groom themselves by licking their fur and she won't like the taste of that," my vet continued, as though nothing had happened. "Maybe keep her out of firing range, hmm?" Duly chastised, I could only look at the floor and nod my assent. But I'd be lying if I said that I haven't perfumed Trixie since.
In my defence: I now only dab perfume onto the top of Trixie's head, where she can't lick it. And I still swear that she likes it.