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"