From The Mouths of Husbands - A Letter Home From Perfume Camp
What have I been up to since my last guest-post you ask? Well having recently participated in the first annual smell-off … IE, the blind perfume tests as administered to myself and Mr. Aromascope by Colombina/Marina and Ina respectively …. I decided I should do something about my inability to discern among the subtle nuances of smell.
So I enrolled in PERFUME CAMP! - Here is one of my letters home ...
The next morning we were awoken sharply at the crack of noon. Our first task of the day was to be poked and prodded and smell tested. Those who were determined to be S.B.H (smelly beyond hope) were sent packing and boarded a bus back to where they came from. Those of us remaining were dipped in a cologne bath of some sort, hosed down and sent to learn to identify the basic smells from 200 yards.
We learned of the basic smell groups. I thought the basic smell groups were petroleum, beer, bacon, coffee and barbecue lighter fluid. But I was mistaken. Apparently they are: Green Notes, Floral Notes, Aldehydic Notes, Chypre Notes, Oriental Notes, Tabacoo/Leather Notes (my favorite) and Fougere Notes.
The next assigment was the dreaded obstacle course. The smell sergeant timed us, as we dodged our way through clearance tables and display stands. We hurdled over browsers and befuddled male shoppers ... making a determined effort to be the first to reach the Guerlain counter. After a couple of times of learning the course, Sarge decided to use what he called, "The Scorched Earth" approach, this time setting us onto the obstacle course but having the enemy spritz girls block our way and telling us there was only one more bottle of Djedi remaining on sale!
"Come on Ladies!" he barked, "Get that Guerlain like your country depends on it. Do you want Al Qaida to smell better than you? What's the matter Mr. Colombina, did you forget your visa card again? Drop and give me twenty spritzes you scumbag!"
It’s been said that war is hell
And the next day, we were gone from the camp almost all day. It was time for survival training. All day with no shower and no soap, we would have to come back to camp without body odor.
"Charlie could smell body odor," Said the smell Sergeant, "That's how them viet congs always knew where we were!"
Then under heavy fire of skunk spray, we had to used this atomizer and anything we could find ... grubs, flowers, berries ... to make a makeshift field perfume to ward off the attacking odors.
Remembering what I had learned in perfume basics class, I quickly decided to attempt to fashion a make-shift chypre blend from daisies and tree sap. The pressure was intense. They never let up. After we had been skunkified all day, the unseen enemy launched a barrage of dead fish and peat moss in our direction.
Though my chypre defense was a failure, the sarge said it showed ingenuity. Still ... for coming back to camp smelling like a public toilet in a Bangkok railway station, I was assigned KP (knowledge of Perfume) duty. Instead of a weekend pass (for the big Macy's sale), I would spend the weekend at the camp library, reading the biography of Coco and familiarizing myself with the history of perfumes, dating back to the Egyptian empire.
By the time all my fellow recruits returned, I knew enough about perfume to have my own blog!
By now, the camraderie amongst the lads was growing. I must say they are a merry bunch. We were given an evening of light duty, and then we were invited to sit around the barracks and tell stories about ourselves and our previously scentless lives. I guess this was a team building excercise. They were a swell bunch of fellas. There was Bruce from San Francisco, Antoine from Brighton and another guy name David, whom everyone had nicknamed "Camp David."
These men and I now shared a bond ... a bond that we would take with us long after we left this camp. We were now ... "Brothers in Underarms!
Though my own confidence in my smelling ability was growing stronger every day, I could sense that some of my bunk mates still were as anosmic as the day they first arrived. They were faking it through basic, and though they were holding us back, we protected them and help them cheat through the smell tests. Having shared blood, sweat and beers with these guys, we knew they'd never make it on the outside. Still, as long as we were a unit, we would hide them from the anosmiphobes among the brass. We developed a policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
FINALLY ... Graduation Day has come!
We are no longer maggots! We are no longer mere recruits. We are PRIVATES in the war against smelly people! And we are privates that smell great. Even the base commander told the sarge ... "Sarge, your privates smell great!"
We wore our uniforms and berets. The berets made us feel French. Though I must admit, it felt like a contradiction in terms to say we felt like a "French Army"
The parade lasted just a short time as we did not want to risk getting sweaty on this special day.
You can see me in he picture I hope. I am the fifth beret from the left in the back row. If you could smell the picture, you proudly notice I am the only one awarded the distinction of being allowed to wear "Hummer"!
Anyway, now that my nose is a trained deadly weapon against stink ... I am considering what outfit I wish to join.
I could enroll in the US NASAL ACADEMY
Or perhaps the army?
Actually I am being strongly recruited to join the 101st Claiborne Division, where their motto is "Scent from Above"!
But at the end of the day, I think I will come home and join the Marinas. Certainly it's where the best smells are.
Yes sweetheart, that's where I belong. Douse yourself in Dzing! I am coming home!