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Friday, July 21, 2006

From The Mouths of Husbands - Mr. Colombina on "Fear and Loathing at the Perfume Counter"

My recent guest posts (and the guest posts of other husbands on other perfume-based blogs) seem to have apparently started a little bit of a discussion (as seen on the comments of these guest posts) and perhaps there is even more discussion in emails and “makeup alley” forums. (Yes I am aware of “makeup alley” and that it has nothing to do with atonement whilst bowling).

These discussions seem to centre on the theme that husbands have no interest in, nor knowledge of perfume. And whilst this may in fact be technically correct. I chose this next guest post as an opportunity for the wives and girlfriends out there to understand the harrowing experience it can be for the perfume-ignorant male to shop for fragrances. Knowing we are unarmed in aromatic wisdom, women still want and expect their man to go through this redolent retail ordeal with each birthday, anniversary, Valentine’s day etc.

I think it’s time one man stood up and shared with you, his bloodcurdling and hazardous undertaking each time he nears a perfume counter. I am sure the females are not aware of the pressure, the angst and the right stuff a man is required to endure in order to get his sweetheart … well … the right stuff.

We men, would not send you out to buy us snow tires or chain saws. But yet each time there is a date circled on the calendar, we must slog our way out to the perfumery, knowing we haven’t a clue what we are doing and feeling as out of place as Keanu Reeves writing an acceptance speech. We grovel our way into the store, looking like a dear husband in the headlights!

Here is my story …

Submitted for your approval … Mr. Colombina… an average middle-aged heterosexual husband goes in to a department store. His intentions are noble … to buy a present for his wife… to give her something she could cherish and be proud of him for selecting. But for all his good intentions, his intellect is about to be challenged. His senses will become clouded. In this strange and alien world, he will be befuddled with inane concepts, French words and evil, life-sucking sales women … and he will be lucky … to survive. For Mr. Colombina has just entered ….

The (eau de) Toilette Zone

The perfumaniac-blogger wives, and readers of fragrance blogs, have no understanding of the bizarre and hair-raising experience it can be for a normal male to enter the (eau de) Toilette Zone! Armed only with one’s primal sense of preservation and a visa card, this quagmire of smells and fiscal insanity is enough to make a grown man cry. The daunting challenges before him require the bravery of a medieval knight in a gallant quest … for he must slay the dragon sales lady (metaphorically speaking – though tempting in reality as well) and escape with the bounty of aromatic salvation in order to maintain the domestic bliss of his kingdom.

One hears strange and indiscernible utterances in this zone. Things like “yes I can really feel the chypre coming through in this one!”

Or, “No, that’s too camphoraceous. The last one was a bit fatty and snuffed candle. I’d like something a little more floriental but with a hint of fougere. Perhaps something less tallowy … spare me the nuancers but something with ample substantivity!”

“Do you have something a bit coniferous? Maybe with leather notes and lingering resinoids?”

For many other men, this experience takes on the surreal nuance of an uncharted voyage … a place where up is down, black is white and everything is expensive. He can choose to go through the looking glass with an open mind and give in to the allure of the newness of the experience. For even if he has journeyed here many times before … each visit is replete with new treachery and peril.

Still … like experiencing LSD for the first time, this cacophony of sensual stimulation … though completely devoid of reality in his world… can be welcomed with the same adventurous trepidation with which he might mount the world’s scariest roller coaster.

This chance to experience the mind-numbing realm of these extra-terrestrial nose creatures is lurking in the darkest deepest recesses of his (otherwise logical) mind … as an opportunity to openly invite his world ... and all he thinks of it … to be turned inside out. He is about to engage …. A PERFUME COUNTER of the third kind!

Men of Earth, we must protect ourselves! We must gain knowledge of our enemy so that it may be understood. We should organize, train and arm ourselves for this final frontier. We should boldly go where no straight man has gone before… to purchase strange items with strange names… to seek out new lives and new civilizations before it destroys the very fabric of maleness left in the universe!

"Evasive Action Mr. Sulu! That Thing's Trying to Spritz Us! Uhura, Open All Hailing Frequencies! Mr. Chekov, Fire Photon Torpedoes!"

The perfume counter sits in the middle of the department store … the furthest spot from any escapable exit. It is the cornerstone of the three most perplexing commercial entities to the common male …. The jewelry counter …the cosmetics counter and the perfume counter.

History records the voyages of many brave male souls who have ventured into this Bermuda Triangle of feminine zones, never to return. What are the strange forces that dwell in this world? UFOs? Prehistoric creatures who’ve sought refuge and managed to escape man’s detection? Or is it some other supernatural power from Madison Avenue and Rue De Folie?

Men are befuddled at any counter that doesn’t sell lunch meat. Each jewelry, cosmetics and perfume counter is an island, fraught with confusing tactics and language, designed to steal your money, your dignity and your logical world. Enter at your own risk. You have been warned!

Let’s face it. Buying a gift for your woman … or any woman is never easy. While they act like they would LIKE a surprise, in fact they know what they want and just want you to figure it out.

Whether it’s a birthday, mother’s day, Christmas, anniversary or any occasion … Colombina will ALWAYS want perfume. Fortunately she generally arms me with a list (ALWAYS STICK TO THE LIST) with at least a dozen choices …each carefully described.

I usually just hand the list (and my wallet) to the woman at the counter and ask her not to make it hurt too badly. It reminds me of when I was a small boy and my mother would send me to the corner grocer with a list pinned to my coat.

Of course though, I never remember which department stores carry which brand so the rather stern prim and proper sales woman will look at me like I’m a moron for presenting her with a list that includes fragrances exclusively sold at Bergman GoodDorf or StrawMacy’s, when in fact I am standing in Marcus Niemann or where ever I stumbled in to.

I’ve learned from the past, that the following stores should be avoided for perfume purchasing at any cost: Walgreens, Sam’s Club and above all … THE DOLLAR STORE!

Occasionally, when there is another male at the perfume counter, I have attempted to listen to what HE says … hoping he might be bisexual and thus better informed. If he sounds like he knows what he is talking about, I just repeat everything he said verbatim.

As my father used to say …
“In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man has the cheapest car insurance.”

The first tactic designed to confuse men is when the sales woman sprays a bit of several perfumes on some kind of specially treated litmus paper.

Then the department store nazi/dominatrix informs stupid old me that the fragrance will smell different on each woman who wears it. So it could smell like chrysanthemums on one woman and smell like what? … maybe garbanzo beans? Teen spirit? … on another woman.

So all I know is how it smells on a piece of cardboard. Or sometimes, they will actually spritz the sample right onto my wrist, which ironically is right on the vein that a suicidal person would slit, and that thought begins to get tempting. If I am ever to have a makeover, I want it performed by Dr. Kavorkian.


Then the next scary female is always telling me about something new … to confuse me.

“I’m sure your vuhman vould like zis new scent called “Eau de Fromage.” It’s zee latest ting from Paris”

And the whole time I am thinking,
“don’t look her in the eye …don’t look her in the eye!”

So I ask the saleswoman which is the cheapest? Normally this is a mistake. I have learned (through forced involuntary celibacy) that this is the WRONG one to choose. A good rule of thumb is when selecting a perfume, shy away from anything you (as a sport-minded, semi-worldly male) have heard of … particularly scents named for celebrities … especially B-list celebs.

“Oh honey, I thought you would love Dr. Phil’s “Psychobabble”

“Darling, here’s a brand new scent called “Regis”!


Even once I’ve selected a brand … when I say selected, I mean was steered to … Even once I have done that … I then must decide between the parfum, the parfum de toilette, the eau de parfum, the eau de cologne and the eau de toilette.

Eau de pain, Eau de pain Will Robinson

In general, a man can not browse the shelves at the counter for more than a nano-second before at least three different women will ask, “Can I help you sir”? … and in a condescending and contemptuous tone that translates to, “Can I sell you something over-priced today you stupid person of the male persuasion?” They team up on you until you feel trapped. Don’t even
try the “I’m just looking” routine because your every action will be monitored more tightly than the North Korean nuclear program.

Ultimately you will succumb and buy something … anything … just to get out of there … maybe spend a few minutes in the sporting goods or electronics departments just to get the testosterone flowing again. It is a very emasculating experience. I find it to be the equivalent of a retail castration, or a ‘walletectomy’.

The sales woman at the perfume counter is generally older than the cosmetics counter girls … n
ot unattractive but a bit scary in her dark business suit and white blouse … a string of pearls and almost invariably, a broach. She might have her hair in a bun and some reading glasses on a string around her neck. She looks like a kindergarten teacher which is appropriate, since she will treat me like a 5-year-old. Americans should picture a cross between Martha Stewart and Miss Jane from ‘The Beverly Hillbillies.’ Whilst British readers should picture someone more like Lorraine Kelly.

Often I will get suckered into buying some fragrance (that the store usually can’t give away, much less sell) by the promise of a “free” gift. If I spend $200 for less than a bloody ounce of ANYTHING … I hardly think a two dollar cosmetics bag is ‘free’ but these ‘free’ gifts always make for good stocking stuffers.

When you stop and do the math. Let’s say a decent fragrance was $50 an ounce. That means that if you bought a gallon of the stuff is would cost $6,400. It’s enough to make me absolutely dizzy with happiness to pay $3.00 a gallon at the gas pump!

I know that when I’ve strayed from Colombina’s list that the perfume I bought is going to sit on her shelf (at the very back) from now until there’s peace in the Middle East. It would be nice if every once in a while she had the common courtesy to dump a little of the stuff down the sink, so I could at least think she was using it.

Getting back to the saleswoman at the perfume counter. She is also without fail ALWAYS going to try to get me to open a charge card account for the promise of an extra 10% off. Yeah like, other than for the wife’s perfume, I do any shopping at a department store that doesn’t have ‘mart’ in its name.

Her condescension aside … I always have the feeling, that beneath that stern exterior and the DKNY suit, the woman is wearing a rubber teddy and will lash me with a cat-o-nine tails each time I mispronounce a designer’s name. “It’s Ralph LORen you idiot. Not Ralph LoREN!” Man I need help.

Even when I know what fragrance I’ve come in to purchase, I know I am going to get some grief from the saleswoman which makes me nervous and then I screw it up..

“Excuse me, do you carry the “Truth” by Kevin Cline?

“The Truth? YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH! … Oh …and it’s CALVIN Klein you dimwit!”

In order to spare myself this indignation, I have in the past, attempted to buy per
fume over the internet. I mean since I suffer from anosmia anyway, what does it matter if I can’t smell the fragrance before I buy it. That only serves to confuse me anyway.

Once I bought (over the internet) a fragrance named after Colombina’s home town – “Samara” (in Russia, not Iraq) and it said (online) that it was a knock off (IE rip off) of the Guerlain scent, ‘Samsara’. Named after my wife’s home town? … smells like a Guerlain fragrance? $10 for a really huge bottle? Sounded like a winner to me. That sat on the back of Colombina’s shelf for a very long time until one day she accidentally dropped the bottle and it broke. She’s clumsy that way …always accidentally breaking perfume bottles … ironically, just the fragrances I bought her (that were not on any of her lists).

That’s the problem with there being SO many fragrances. There are so many bad choices …(For Example) Love’s Baby Soft, Chanel No. 6, or Britney Spears’ ‘Bi-Curious’ or whatever it’s called.

Still, the perfume counter is always a far safer bet than the cosmetics counter. A gift of cosmetics is the gift that says, “I don’t like the way you look, so here’s some stuff to change that. You’d think that the perfume counter sells gifts that say “I don’t like the way you smell,” but actually that only applies if you give deodorant as a gift (which I have done – but only as a ‘practical;’ stocking stuffer). Men, if you do venture to the cosmetics counter … trust me on this one … do not (REPEAT - DO NOT) be lulled by the simple and easy “gift set” on the tables between cosmetics and fragrances.

The hooker-red lipstick will go down about as well as buying her a new mop for her birthday. And the Crayola 64 eye shadow color assortment will be appreciated as much as giving her a beermeister.

And I don’t know how to buy cosmetics for Colombina anyway. Her natural beauty requires no make-up in my opinion. (brownie-point alert!)

It’s easy to get lured towards the cosmetics counter though. The girls working there are generally much younger and less scary. In my opinion they always look a little bit slutty (not that there’s anything wrong with that). They kind of look robotic and dim but remember, they have a semi impressive job title (cosmetologist – which has nothing to do with the Russian space program by the way) whilst the perfume lady is not a perfumologist.

I don’t understand this marketing though. Although they ALWAYS seem busy, plucking, tweezing, brushing, waxing, blending and combing as well as applying foundations and finding the right “spring color” for someone’s ‘skin tone’ Surely a middle aged Tammy Fay- look-a-like customer is never going to look as good as this 19 year old former Hooters’ waitress.

When it comes to gifts for women …AVOID buying clothes like your life depends on it …because it does. Get a size too small and your woman will feel fat. Get a size too big and your woman will think that you think she’s fat. (Lose/Lose situation). Don’t even try to think you could get her sense of style or fashion correct. You can try to read Cosmo and Vogue and Glamour and all the other rags to try to “get a peak at the opposition’s playbook” but as a male, you’ll never understand it anyway because it’s written in woman.

You see there is male logic and then there is female logic and ne’er the twain shall meat. Male logic is too … well … logical, to understand female logic. Remember, only a woman would spend two hours getting ready to go out for 15 minutes.

Plus with clothes, you apparently must always be aware of what color is ‘this year’s black.’ When I hear someone say “red is this year’s black,” I always feel sorry for the confused snooker players out there. I wander occasionally through the women’s clothes area and my fellow
men will back me up on this when I say that I am convinced that all the women who see me in their section are convinced I am a cross dresser. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder when exactly did department store mannequins start sporting nipple erections? And why do women want to buy a blouse that’s hanging on what looks like a woman smuggling a pair of sewing thimbles?

My fellow men .. fear not the perfume counter. Remember, even if it makes us feel useless and clueless …even if it robs us of our natural sense of the order of things … of economic sense …even if the experience makes us feel two inches tall …. Ultimately we can take comfort in the fact that all of us … from Joe Q. Average construction worker … to the big shots and movers and shakers of this world … have survived the perfume counter. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Sure, life would be easier if our women asked us to get them the latest version of 'Madden' … or the newest titanium fishing pole …but that’s not going to happen … so be proud …be male … and get in there … face the music … buy something French that doesn’t have the word ‘fries’ after it … and then get the hell out of there as fast as you can with as much money left as possible.

To all the women out there:

If you can't understand why men find it so difficult to get you the right gift... think about this for a moment.

You dye your hair, wear false eyelashes, contact lenses and form-fitting clothes ... you apply makeup and tan-in-a-bottle ... you wear support hose and wonder bras ... and you pluck your eyebrows only to draw them back in with a pencil. Half the time we can't even remember what you really look like, much less what things you like.

Your perfumes have names like; "Enigma", "Hidden" and "Mystery"!


'Enigma' by Alexandra De Markoff'

Hidden' by Anne-Marie Perrisol

and 'Mystery' by Naomi Campbell

Even your lingerie is a 'secret'!

So at gift time ... I guess it’s the perfume counter by default … a man's best (slim) chance to get a gift she’ll like … especially if she gives you a list!

45 Comments:

Anonymous dinazad said...

Ohhh, now I had to fake the hiccups to explain why I'm spluttering coffee all over my office computer! Thanks for a superb elucidation of the harrowing adventures a man courageously faces to please mere females! (And as hard as it may be: STICK TO THE LIST next time....)

4:37 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

The Toilette Zone!!!! Buddy, I've seen you there, facing off with that woman in the stormtrooper outfit. You guys will lose every time.

Personally, I think men should skip fragrance as a gift (unless they already know they're replacing her favorite, empty bottle) and buy jewelry for their wimmin. Preferably with diamonds. The Big Cheese has given me several pieces of jewelry that I would not have chosen for myself but love to wear. The same cannot be said for anything from The Dollar Store. Or "Samara." I am trying, and failing, to imagine what he would come home with from the fragrance counter, but I am fairly confident I would hate it.

Thanks for all the giggles!

8:08 AM EDT  
Blogger lilyofbp said...

Love The Toilette Zone!! You are a genius, Mr. C.! Personally, I always give my husband a list, complete with stores, precise internet locations, and approximate prices. Even so, he tries to persuade me to buy something for myself, saying he will pay me back! This is just not much FUN, guys! It's easy, just STICK TO THE LIST!!

And BTW, if you think women are difficult, consider what the typical heterosexual male (my husband, to pick a random example) will say when asked what he would like for a gift: "I don't know." Better decide, or I will keep buying you perfume, um, sorry, cologne.:)

8:09 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Stick to the list. Always stick to the list.

8:23 AM EDT  
Blogger AnnE said...

Dear Mr. Colombina,

Thanks so much for my day's laugh, or actually, a whole week's worth!

You, and other commenters, have got it right: STICK TO THE LIST! And gentlemen, know that if the woman of your heart is reading this, SHE WILL HAVE ONE. :)

8:32 AM EDT  
Blogger The Scented Salamander said...

Immensely funny! Ok, I'm a woman, as far as I know, but I don't get it. Ladies, why do you keep asking your husbands to buy you a perfume the way one uses a remote control to watch TV? Wouldn't it be simpler to ask for a gift certificate or a handsome check instead?

Also, to buy a perfume oneself preserves the mystery in my view -- you smell good (hopefully) and he wouldn't be able to put a name on the source of the sillage.

8:57 AM EDT  
Blogger The Scented Salamander said...

Alternatively, I would be perfectly happy to walk into a store with my DH and point at the bottles saying "This, this, and that one too, LOL."

9:01 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Helene,
I am butting in to say that I am all for GCs and (handsome) checks...but Mr. C. thinks they are not...romatic enough. Huh? I don't agree, but what can you do? :-) He also complains that if I tell him what to buy, there is no mystery and, again, no romance left in that. But here I stand firm. I don't want mystery, I want the perfume I want. :-) And nothing puts me in a romantic mood more than receiving exactly the gift I wanted.

9:08 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

LMAO!!! SO true!! When we first were going out my poor husband realized I was a hard core perfume addict and decided he would add to my collection w/ something by Calvin Klein. A gift set no less. Bless his sweet, totally clueless heart. We tried lists, but it turns out he is powerless against SAs who tell him that since they don't have the exclusive Guerlain I want in stock, that I will be *delighted* w/ Red Door instead. I hate surprises anyway, so we happily decided that I would do the gift shopping for both of us and he would never have to suffer again.

9:20 AM EDT  
Blogger chaya ruchama said...

Mr. C.,I LOVE YOU!

Clearly, Columbina married you for your magnificent ability to make her laugh...

My dear, long-suffering spouse feels much the way you do, I'm sure!

If, in fact, you are ever in the market for a middle-aged, athletic opera-singer/translator/caterer/dancer/nurse-for-the-terminally-ill/stand-up comic/demented yoga nun/weightlifter/seducer-of-octagenarians/animal appreciator as a concubine, I would be highly flattered if you considered me...

[only joking, lovely Columbina]

9:32 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

*considers renting out Mr. C for bottles of rare perfumes, especially Guerlain Djedi*

9:47 AM EDT  
Anonymous Ina said...

LOL! Thanks for a good laugh. I must say I've never given Mr.Aromascope a list. I just plain don't want him to buy me perfume (I'm pretty good at it myself). The poor things avoids shopping like the plague, so hanging out around perfume counters would undoubtedly put him in a state of coma. For romantic gifts, I prefer experiences. ;D Like, going on a boat tour (are you reading this, Todd?) or a trip to Paris. You men make things way too complicated. ;D

P.S. Hilarious about Samara!

9:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Patty said...

Goodness, you ARE brave! My husband goes nowhere near the counters unaided. He'll go with me and play so nicely, but alone? :shudder:

10:29 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Stick to the list indeed!

Failing that (this one takes some attention on the husbands part) note which of her bottles are draining faster than the others. You can think of it as checking the washer-fluid level or whether you need to pick up some more Amstel Light, if that helps. Buy that.

Failing that, get a Gay Best Friend. A good GBF will be able to tell you the right perfume for her, the right outfit, this years black, the fact that Jimmy Choo is soooo last year, whatever you need to know. Even the ones that look like truck drivers. Trust me on this.

11:51 AM EDT  
Anonymous Vijay aka Maisonstinky said...

Mr. C,

This was absolutely hilarious. I read this about a half hour ago, and am still laughing.

Thank you so much for writing this and hope you write occasionally.

12:57 PM EDT  
Blogger The Scented Salamander said...

Colombina,

eh, eh, maybe these comments will make Mr. Colombina look at the whole situation with a fresh eye, although if anything changes, he won't be able to make perfume-counter related jokes in the future -- Is it really worth it I ask?

I think he likes being your knight in shining armour and slaying dragons for you ;) So cute!

1:12 PM EDT  
Blogger Erin said...

Mr. C, you must have gotten your sense of humour from your parents (I love the car insurance quote, and I think it's marvelous that your mom pinned lists on you. My own mother claims she dated my father because he was the only guy at university wearing a pair of mom-knitted mittens with a string between them.) My husband is actually pretty good in that he knows the sort of thing (lines, notes etc.) I'm interested in. He doesn't read reviews or really care what it smells like to him, so I end up with the occasional marginally dud-ish scent from a good line - Bvlgari The Rouge, for example. But he knows that even *I* hate dealing with perfume counter ladies. I really must wonder who actually likes them? I've never met a perfume salesperson - like Marlen, for example - who knows anything about perfume!

1:50 PM EDT  
Anonymous Teri said...

I have completely lost all credibility today regarding my pre-performance review whine about how I am toooooo stressed and toooo overworked - something only a large raise could cure! lol Yes, it's true, my boss caught me guffawing over your article and commented on how much fun I was having. What's a girl to do?

But it was a tradeoff well worth the making. Mr. C, I doff my toque to you! You are articulate and witty, indeed (in my book, far more important than being fragrance-savvy - we women can handle that part just fine).

As to the Eau de Toilette Zone...classic!! If someone doesn't steal that and make it a blogname, I'll eat my aforementioned toque!

Keep the contributions coming...please.

3:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Trina said...

Another hernia-by-laughter inducing post!

I feel I must defend myself here, though. I would never ask, expect, or *want* my husband to buy me ANY perfume (I do that perfectly well on my own)! And he has a running list of gift ideas and things I always like to receive. Why be coy when I could get exactly what I want? And why torture my fragrance-sensitive hubby and make him dread buying me things? That would be *truly* self-defeating!

4:26 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Ah, Trina, Trina, what have you done? Now, when I hand Mr. C. my List, instead of "yes, dear", I will hear in response, "but *Trina* doesn't ask *her* husband to buy perfumes for her!"

Tsk tsk tsk

:-)

4:48 PM EDT  
Blogger Jenny said...

Mr.Colombina, you did it again... You are so funny! I'm happy that my husband does love perfumes and know what I like.
The only problem is that he get so tired of being the tester of my self made perfumes. Every time when I make a new perfume he is the first one to snif it. He just don't feel like it to snif all the time.

7:05 PM EDT  
Blogger katiedid said...

Heh! I had to show Mr. Scentzilla your essay.

His rule of thumb for shopping for me is to never buy anything in a pink bottle, and never buy anything with the word "summer" in the name. It's nothing I told him, he just sort of twigged that out on his own. Outside of that, he says the best place to shop is the store with the best return policy.

"We men, would not send you out to buy us snow tires or chain saws." Hehehe. This gave Mr. Scentzilla a good laugh - he DOES send me out to buy power tools like saws, because I have more experience with that sort of thing. I am, however, not trusted to buy him t-shirts. I somehow accidentally buy ones that are always close fitting and on the tight-ish side. It's always pure accident, I swear, and has nothing to do with the way he looks in them ;P

"You see there is male logic and then there is female logic and ne’er the twain shall meat. Male logic is too … well … logical, to understand female logic." Mr. Scentzilla had to disagree there. He figures male logic doesn't look all that logical either when you figure that so many men can spend hours every day playing video games they've already won. Including him.

8:15 PM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Commenters ...

I shall respond to each later today. Just been very caught up in work at the moment.

Mr C

8:22 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We men, would not send you out to buy us snow tires or chain saws"

errr... excuse me, in what CENTURY DO YOU LIVE?
Lady Colombina you need to update your husband in gender roles.

:)

6:52 PM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Dinazad,

Sorry you had the fake the hiccups. I'm sure your male colleagues fell for it. Men can never tell when you're faking the hiccups! :-)

Mr C

8:52 PM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Hi March,

Glad you got some giggles.

Jewelry eh? Well I have to give away a secret in order to explain ... but you see with jewelry, it's harder for us to pretend to be ignorant as a cover for being cheap. Or maybe that's just me - don't want to offend ALL the husbands out there.

Mr C(heap)

8:59 PM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Hello Lily,

Genius? Ah you're too kind (but don't stop).

One time whilst in Russia and just before Christmas ... Colombina and I went walking through a shopping mall. She showed me several things she in liked in several stores and I tried to remember some of them and in which stores they were. A- challenge especially since I don't read the language.

I then made an excuse saying I thought I saw somebody I knew - not likely for an American in Russia but ... then I went back to buy some of the things. Again a challenge since some of them were clothes and I didn't know the Russian words for "medium size." (clothes are never my first choice for gift giving as I said).

So I went back and pointed to the sweater and told the sales girl (in very bad Russian) "not big and not small".

But maybe take your husband on a similar stroll and have him point out things he'd like.

If he doesn;t accept the idea of the stroll, give him a chia pet.

Mr. C.

9:07 PM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Hi Anne,

Always happy to make Colombina's readers have a good laugh in the otherwise serious world of scents.

Mt suggestions for presenting your man with a list is keep the selections to a minimum but be VERY desciptive - a picture of the bottle always helps and with the internet these days, it's so much easier to find one.

Mr. C.

9:11 PM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Salamander,

The problem with handsome checks and GCs is that you don't get a nice box to wrap. Giving an envelope is not the same.

Fear not that I should see the world of perfume in a new light. I've long since shut down my mind to anything new ... which makes my humor a bi-product of my ignorance.

In life, I am in the middle of that journey that takes an angry young man to the point of being a bitter old man.

Mr C

9:17 PM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Hello Elle,

I have learned that gift sets are something best left for giving to one's mother, sister or anyone you've given a scarf and matching gloves to for the past 14 Christmases.

Mr. C.

9:20 PM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Chaya,

Colombina married me because I make her laugh? And here I thought it was for my tantric stamina and god-like prowess. But I do agree that she at least partially married me because of my
enormous ... what's the word ... WIT!

Concubine eh? Tempting though it sounds, I can't imagine having to please TWO woman (Scent-ually speaking) with perfume gifts.

Thanks for the offer though because now the truth comes out and I see Colombina would (at least consider) pimp me out for a bottle of Guerlain's Djedi.

Mr C

(PS: "C" is not for Concubine jusy yet anyway - though wouldn't it put Colombina on the spot if I in fact had a bottle that that 'Return of D Jedi' stuff already hidden away for her birthday that is in less than a month?

9:30 PM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Hello Ina,

Thanks for reading as always. Even for your non-perfume romantic gifts list, I suggest being as specific as possible. Otherwise you may find Mr Aromoscope (Todd) has booked you on a fishing boat tour of Paris, Texas.

All the best,
Mr C

2:10 PM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Hi Patty,

I think Colombina's bravery (and trust) has been rewarded... thanks to the VERY specific lists.

One time (Easter I think) I bought her perfume when she wasn't expecting a gift (other than maybe chocolates) at all.

Fortunately I had kept a previous list and picked one that I had not been able to find before.

The unfortunate things about the lists though is that they do have a shelf-life. And it's quite often possible (probable) that Colombina will have 'gone off' a particular scent and not want it after a while without telling me of course.

Mr C

2:14 PM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

tmp,

Good advice on checking the levels of the bottles. But Mrs C often sells samples, so I am not sure if she used the perfume or sold it or both.

Mr C

2:18 PM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Hello Vijay,

Thanks for the compliments. I do write as a guest poster on this blog whenever the wife asks me to.

Colombina has even added a link on her blog just to access all the previous "Mr C guest posts".

I have been asked to do another for this coming Friday in which I will be sampling some scents in a blind test and I think Mr Aromoscope will be doing the same scents in the same test also on Friday.

http://www.aromascope.com/

It should be fun. The only thing funnier than one clueless husband commmenting on perfume ... is TWO clueless husbands (no offense Todd) commenting on perfumes.

Mr C

2:23 PM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Hi Tigs,

I did get my sense of humor from my parents ... though their senses of humor were very different.

My dad was more the "in-your-face" boisterous but witty joke teller. While mum's humor (being that she is British) was far more dry and less bawdy (despite the fact that as a young woman, she actually dated Benny Hill).

I agree that perfume sales women ARE evil (except the ones who might be reading this of course) and should be used for medical testing.

Mr C

2:28 PM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Hello Teri,

Your boss should realize that a laughing employee is a happy (if not productive) employee.

When Colombina started her blog, she asked me for some suggestions for the name of it.

At that time, I did think of "The Toillette Zone" but Colombina being Russian, I thought she might not be as familiar with Rod Serling's classic - other than perhaps the film version.

IF someone ends up 'borrowing' the name for their blog, well that's life in the uncopywritten world of blogdom.

It was brought to my attention recently that some writer from Time-Out Magazine recently did a piece on "his" ideas for some new perfumes and he created pictures of the bottles.

This idea of his came shortly after I had already done that on Colombina's blog.

I am NOT saying this writer plagiarized my idea. I'm just saying mine was funnier. :-)

Here are some other ideas I had that for the name of Colombina's blog. I think in the end, she decide to go for something less cutesy or funny.

1) Bowling for Colombina
2) Scents and Scents Ability
3) More Dollars than Scents
4) Sniff Here
5) The Cologne Ranger
6) It's a Smell World After All
7) I Vant to be Cologne
8) Cologne Again, Naturally

Mr C

2:42 PM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Hi Trina,

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Colombina has exellent taste in most things, so I am sure she can (and does) manage to get what she wants perfume-wise on her own.

I think the ones on the lists she provides me are just ones she hasn't gotten around to getting or for whatever reason, would not buy for herself.

Don't get me wrong. She is right when she comments that I DO think it less romantic to only buy her things she already has told me she wants.

That's where I try to 'surprise' her with other gifts IN ADDITION to the perfumes on the list. Ask he about Christmas 2004 for example.

And that leads me to an opportunity to say to all the men out there ... there is nothing stopping you/us from getting our women MORE than they ask for.

(brownie point alert)

They got MORE than they asked for when they married us afterall ... though I am not sure that is always a good thing.

Mr C

2:48 PM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Colombina,

Don't worry about what Trina said and that she doesn't ask her DH to buy her perfume.

Trust in yourself and the painstaking time you invested to train me.

But if you show any of my friends the above comment ... I will deny it AND then (dump and) refill all your perfume bottles with marmite.

Love ya!
Mr C

2:52 PM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Hoi Jenny,

Colombina has not taken to creating her own perfumes (yet).

I find that VERY scary and your DH has all my sympathies. I am sure you create some nice ones. But being the guinea pig for them must rate up there with having to wear a dress to help a woman pin it up.

Tot Ziens,
Mr C.

2:55 PM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Hello Again Katie!

I see I have started a little trend here, with the female perfume bloggers referring to their DH's as Mr Scentzilla, Mr Aromascope, Mr Colombina etc.

I like Mr Scentzilla's rules of thumb.

May I add to them ...

1) Avoid the "clearance" basket
2) Do not buy the FIRST one the sales lady recommends

Next time you're at Sears, could you pick me up a Black & Decker "Firestorm 12 Amp EVS 1/2" Plunge Router"?

There might be a bottle of Djedi in it for you ... since that seems to be what I'm worth (according to Colombina) on the open market.

Just Kidding!

Don't get me wrong. Mr Scentzilla is right that male logic can ALSO be illogical. But it goes back to the cavemen days when men were the hunters and women were the gatherers.

To hunt, a man must focus on his prey only and block out all other distractions around him. Whilst the woman gatherer must see ALL that is around her as potential foodstuffs for the family.

This is why when a man goes to the department store, to buy a shirt for example, he heads STRAIGHT for the men's shirt section ... whilst a woman going into the same department store to get a blouse, will start in the furthest department away from women's blouses and slowly, methodically, work her way through the shoes, handbags, underwear, bedding and linens, soft furnishings, dinnerware, etc etc until reaching the blouses ... having already gathered enough to fill her basket.

All the best,
Mr C

3:16 PM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Dear Anonymous,

Hello! Ummm ... "humor piece" ... OK?

Tongue-in-cheek humor in the written word medium can understandably be misinterepretted, since it is devoid of intonation and facial expression. I realize that.

If you take me too seriously, that will defeat the point of these guest posts.

So let me state for the record, I fully support a woman's right to purchase power tools, snow tires, engine lubricants, sporting goods etc! (Those please refrain from anything to do with the barbecue - our last bastian of maledom)

Happy Now?

Mr C

PS: Gender roles are blanket statements that do not always apply well individually.

SOME women DO prefer to live with more traditional roles and with that comes a certain level of gentileness and gentleness from a more noble and chivalrous era.

This does not come without a certain level of stereotypical chauvinism, I grant you. But I am fairly condifent that both Mr and Mrs C are happy with OUR roles for and to each other ... whilst not suggesting they should or would work for everyone or anyone else.

PPS: These comments to you are ALSO written not to be taken too seriously in the sense that I am not trying to offend you. :-)

PMS: Chill baby chill :-)

3:28 PM EDT  
Blogger Kyahgirl said...

hiya M!! I haven't been by for a while. My loss! Mr. Columbina writes a wicked funny blog entry.

I only ever see the whites of my husbands eyes when someone asks him if he buys me perfume :-)

After being lost in hyperspace from one midadventure in the Eau de Toilette zone, he ain't NEVER going back (much to my relief)!!

11:23 PM EDT  
Blogger red-queen said...

'Men are befuddled at any counter that doesn't sell lunch meat'! ROFL!

You are a brave soul, Mr. C - my DH absolutely refuses to buy me perfume, ever since he surprised me with a vintage purchase I had been watching on eBay. Ungrateful wretch that I am, I'm afraid when I saw it, I wailed 'Oh, no - I only wanted to see what it would go for!' So it's my own damn fault if I get small appliances for Christmas. You see, Colombina could be MUCH worse - don't you think you should reward her with a bottle of 'fume for Valentine's Day? :>)

7:22 AM EST  
Anonymous pheromone advantage said...

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3:33 AM EDT  

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