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Friday, April 07, 2006

From the Mouths of Husbands ... Mr. Colombina reviews Feminite Du Bois

When my wife first asked me to review a perfume on her blog, I felt that was the equivalent of asking Paris Hilton to comment on the plight of the homeless, or asking Dick Cheney to give a lecture on rifle safety.

But always being one to “give it a go,” I agreed … if for nothing else, the domestic (and romantic?) brownie points.

I gazed upon her shelves of bottles that make a Macy’s counter look depleted like a Soviet bread shop after a particularly bad Ukrainian harvest. Surely this woman has more scents than sense.

I selected a fragrance called “Feminite Du Bois” by Shiseido.

My high school French allowed me to roughly (and by luck – nearly correctly) translate this as ‘woman of the woods’. I felt this was appropriate as I had just finished telling the story of Goldilocks to our three-year-old daughter.

[In actual translation, it is more like ‘femininity of the woods’.]

My wife told me I had made an excellent choice. This was again, a stroke of luck, since I had selected it primarily for the bottle which looked like a large brown eye dropper, and for the name of the maker (Shiseido) because I thought it was either some new trendy numbers puzzle, or perhaps the title of a Phil Collins song … “Su Su Sudio

[In actual translation, Shiseido is Japanese for “Toyota Lubricant”]

It was late at night when we did this. My wife gave me a good shpritz on the wrist. I never know why perfumers and perfumites and so fond of a good smelling wrist but I have always sensed there is something in this ritual connected to making the wrists limp. I must digress and say I have never been one of those men who can recognize and tell a woman what fragrance she is wearing.

Women always seemed impressed by this ability. Though in actuality, I always thought than when a man said something like, “is that eau de fufu you’re wearing?” … and the woman seemed thrilled to answer ‘yes!’. … that what he was actually saying was … “I recognize your perfume and the only way I as a male … can do so … is from knowing it as the perfume of a previous lover."

Whilst all women (and men) loathe the thought of reminding their partner of a previous partner …that is exactly what will happen with Mr. Smarmy-Suave Perfume Identifier.


I could go off on my view of perfume in general …that it is mostly a product of the French who [allegedly] rarely bathe, and use the word “douche” to mean shower … that I am bemused by the concept of “toilet water” etc. … but I won’t.

I am olfactory-nerve-challenged. I am blessed with 20/20 lens-less vision, and nearly bionic hearing of Jaime Sommers proportions but alas, I couldn’t smell something burning at a rubber re-tread plant in Hades. Whenever a plastic stirring spoon slips through the basket and on to the heating element in our dishwasher, it is my wife who will notice it long before I have passed out from the fumes.

OK …back to Wood Woman Smell…

Expecting the worst, like the bouquet of an Aborigine’s armpit, I took a healthy sniff… NOTHING!

I rubbed my wrists together. I don’t know why. I guess I saw someone do it in a film or something. I sniffed again. This time I got a feint but distinctive series of three smells. Unlike food that might have an aftertaste, each time the smell changed, it got weaker. But clearly I was thinking of 3 Ms … mint, menthol and medicine …. Nothing particularly woodsy was striking my nicotine-crippled proboscis nerves.

I was expecting WOOD. And from a man’s perspective, that was very enticing … Saw dust! Wood chips! Balsa airplanes! Something! I had a distant hope that I might be reminded of the whiff of a freshly pine-tarred Louisville Slugger (a baseball bat for those who don’t know). And with the anticipation of Femininity of the Woods, I was imagining a Babe in the woods!

The scent, long since passed its effectiveness on me, and now we returned to bed. My wife smelled my wet but smell-less (so I thought) left wrist and reacted like it was an aphrodisiac. Though this reaction (unfortunately) much like the scent to me, dissipated rapidly. And just like the scent, her nano-second desire d’amour, evolved into something else …in her case …le desire du sleep.

The next morning, I was again wrist attacked by my wife with the big eye dropper sprayer. This time I took that menthol-alcoholic-minty smell as perhaps (and this is stretching to the full length of my fragile masculine confidence but….) perhaps the smell of spruce. I thought of the Spruce Goose to allow a sense of maleness to return.

My wife prefers alcohol-based perfumes as opposed to whatever else one can base a perfume on. Ironic then how my wife hates it when I come home smelling of alcohol.

Am I amateurishly ignorant in being only able to identify the alcohol smell of the perfume? Well yes, but no more stymied than my wife trying to explain the off sides rule or something as simple as the relationship between torque and horsepower. So when I get a good sniff of an alcohol-based perfume … being able to smell only the alcohol … I can state and identify without hesitation nor doubt … “Yep that’s perfume …that is … no doubt about it!

Remember though … in me … you are dealing with a man who thinks Walgreen’s is a great place to buy perfume.

In summation, Feminite Du Bois is subtle, slightly medicinal (the alcohol I suppose), about as ‘woodsy’ as George Bush’s policy on the interior and comes in a really cool-looking bottle. Still, I do plan to put some (ok …a LOT) on my left wrist tonight, before my wife comes to bed!

Posted by Paul, Author of "Deliverrants"

20 Comments:

Blogger andy said...

Dear Mr. Colombina
I loved your post! Your eau de fufu comments are hillarious. And I have a hint for tonight: Try spraying your chest, cover your body with this woody love elixir, not just your wrist. You will see nanoseconds turing into hours! Enjoy

2:34 AM EDT  
Blogger Victoria said...

Hysterical! Are you a writer? Very enjoyable and I'm printing it for my hubby to read. I'm sure he will relate. He can take it along on his camping trip with the boys this weekend. LOL

Bravo Colombina, what a refreshing concept!

4:50 AM EDT  
Blogger Christina H. said...

What a pleasure it was to read your review of one of your wife's most beloved scents.She warned me that her feelings would probably hurt!Aborigine's armpits!!What creativity you've got!!Thank you for such an interesting take on Feminite de Bois!

5:10 AM EDT  
Blogger Jenny said...

“I recognize your perfume and the only way I as a male … can do so … is from knowing it as the perfume of a previous lover."
I never thought about it that way. Not romantic at all!
I love the way you both write, thank you for this enjoyable review of one of my favorite perfumes.

5:23 AM EDT  
Blogger Patty said...

Ah, this was so entertaining, you are a very funny Man, Mr. Perfume Smellin Things. :)

10:16 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

“I recognize your perfume and the only way I as a male … can do so … is from knowing it as the perfume of a previous lover."

Actually, it can be worse: he can know it as the perfume of his mother.

Very funny review!

11:40 AM EDT  
Blogger Trina said...

I was giggling the whole way through! Thanks for your review! My husband thinks all but two of my perfumes smell "like flowers" (and I am NOT a florals gal), and would never take one for the team like you did!

Also, I have to agree with andy - a more generalized spritzing is more likely to have the desired effect :~D

1:33 PM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

That is an EXCELLENT review. Monsieur Colombina clearly has fabulous taste. I am not referring to the Shiseido or his discernment; I am referring to his choice of wife. Anyone who can't smell FdB AT ALL is probably anosmic. However, I do bet it smelled yummy on him... you shoulda gone with the Bois Sauvage, plus you CAN get that @ Walgreens.

4:15 PM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Thanks for your comments Andy. I am glad you enjoyed it. I don't think I really did the perfume justice ...but I don't think that's what I was really supposed to do either.

I like your advice to ... but if I covered my body with it ... I'd better buy a new bottle to replace my wife's ... or it'll be HOURS of "HOW DARE YOU USE UP ALL MY PERFUME!"

12:15 AM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Victoria,

I'm not a writer ... I just play one on TV.

Actually, I do have a journalism degree and DID write for newspapers and magazines back in the late 80's.

Now? I sell Toyotas for a living and just use writing to get my creative "ya-yas" out. Some day I will write the great (American) novel but until then, my wife is far more prolific a writer ... and why not? She is writing about a topic for which to her is one of her great passions!

Even if I don't share that particular passion of hers, I respect it, for it makes her who she is. And she is my Feminite Du Monde!

12:21 AM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Hi Christina!

Thanks for your terrific comments! I recognize you as my of my wife's loyal readers (and friend!).

My wife has asked me to maybe try again ...perhaps next month ... since people seemed to enjoy it.

Next time, I will give it a REAL ernest attempt to capture a fragrance in words ... and if they are funny words ... well all the better!

12:24 AM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Hello Jenny!

Thanks for reading and commenting!

I guess one of the views I expressed, about how men can recignize a fragrance (from a previous partner) does kind of take that romance out of it but then again ... as an educated (wife-trained) male ... I have become aware that each fragrance has distinct attributes to each individual wearer.

Thus even if my wife has worn the perfumes of any of my past girlfriends, it would smell subtly different (and as my wife will read this comments ....dare I say it would smell subtly - I mean SUBSTANTIALLY BETTER) on her.

I think she's probably worn every perfume ever made by now ... at least enough of them to have covered the ones by any of my ex-girlfriends but they'd ALL smell better on her because I'd prefer even her natural scent to any perfume on any other woman.

See? There is romance left afterall!

12:32 AM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Thanks Patty!

What do you mean that I am very funny? Do I amuse you? Am I a clown? What's so funny about me?

(Oops, sorry - I was possessed by Joe Pesci for a moment there)

12:34 AM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Hi tmp00

Glad you enjoyed it.

My mum wears "Mitsouko" by Guerlain. It's really the only fragrance she's worn since my father first started buying it for her in Cyprus in the late 1950's.

When my father passed away, I started buying it for my mum for Christmases and birthdays (mother's day etc.)

Prior to the days of the internet, it often proved difficult and expensive to find.

I bought a bottle of Shalamar for Colombina once but I don't think she is a big Guerlain fan in general. So I don't have to worry about recognizing her scent as the scent of my mother.

There's something deeply Freudian and scary in that thought.

Hey Perfume Smellin' Things readers ... here's something I bet you didn't know ...

Colombina has not been to the Guerlain shop in Paris .... But I have!

OK so actually though, I just took a picture of the Guerlain shop for my mum when I got lost and stumbled upon it in Paris whilst looking for a McDonalds.

12:44 AM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Hi Trina,

I will go for the more gernalized spritzing approach. But with my sense of smell, I am likely to overdo it to the point of making my wife's eyes water.

I enjoyed taking one for the team. Now let's see how well Colombina takes one for the team when I ask her to rate my fantasy football draft on my blog next September.

12:47 AM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Hello Marchlion,

Anosmic? No ... I believe in God.

Anyway I do agree with you about my great taste - in wives.

My wife is the best! In FACT ... my wife IS just like a fabulous perfume in the following ways:

She may make others think well of me but I "wear" her for my own pleasure.

She reflects culture and refinement.

She gives me confidence and serenity.

She was rare and hard to find. (I waited 30-odd years and travelled thousands of miles to find her)

And when her presence has faded, I go back to apply a little more.

Ciao

12:58 AM EDT  
Blogger c.anne said...

What a wonderful post! I look forward to reading your musings in the future. I am wondering, since your wife is a perfume connoisseur, have you ever had a negative reaction to a perfume?

12:41 PM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Hi c.anne,

I can't recall a negative reaction to a perfume ... unless NO reaction is considered negative.

I can say that my wife recently bought some perfumed soap (even though I had just stocked the medicine chest full of Ivory) and I do not like it at all.

She loves it but to me, it seems like something surgeons would scrub up with. It's tough to describe the smell. Describing smells is Colombina's specialty so perhaps she can say more about it and what it smells of.

As for perfume's though, I really liked a few chocolate smellin ones she has worn. And have (so far)not reacted negatively to any that I recall anyways...

Mr. C.

12:32 AM EDT  
Blogger Kyahgirl said...

OH dear, this was such a great post. Columbina, I'm afraid you may have been supplanted LOL!!!

Do you have a nose Mr. Perfume smellin' things?

When I smelled 'Woman of the Woods' it just about knocked me over with woods!

Very interesting.

You should root around in her stuff until you find Musc Ravageur. Spray that all over and I guarantee you will get some hot lovin'. :-)

6:23 PM EDT  
Blogger nonnka said...

Bravo! I think we have a family perfume newsletter in the making...I agree, it is disturbing when a love interest is able to identify the perfume. To me, it means one of three things 1) he has slept with the wearer of the mentioned perfume 2) he works at a perfume counter 3) he plays for the opposite team and is just not that into me.

6:55 PM EDT  

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