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Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Dreaded Obsession…..

By Beth

 Everybody has one. You know…the one that brought them to their knees in the most torturous way. The one that you lived through bruised and battered but to tell the tale. The one that you did things with and for that you know in the marrow of your bones that you will never do again because you finally know better and because you know it would kill you. The 70's and 80's brought that out in a lot of us. It was a time that I in turns loved and hated. I snorted way to much cocaine, drank way too many martinis and I fell hard and fast too many times for absolutely the wrong man. I looked amazing…and boy did we have supermodels like Lisa Taylor, Patty Hansen , Jerry Hall and Linda Evangelista  to show us how. I learned to smoke watching Lisa Taylor advertisements. My hair was long and full with a huge spiral perm and I had lacquered lips and chiseled cheeks and the eyes…wow, I can still remember how to do the eyes. I used kohl pencils in blue and purple and I rimmed the inner lids. Lots of mascara later and a pair of stilettos and off I'd go.

We had our perfumes to choose from and the names were indicative of the times. Opium, Poison and who could forget Calvin Kleins Obsession. The Obsession commercials were enough for me. " She  abandoned me to the wreckage of myself ..and smiled". That was all I needed and I immediately bought a  bottle. I loved Obsession. It was strong and  quite direct; wearing it gave me a confidence that I still remember to this day.   Obsession in it's original formulation was  very beautiful  ,  a delicious sort of Floriental that dried down into a sweet base of Amber and Oakmoss after initially teasing around with a bit of mandarin and jasmine. Like most perfumes of the 1970's and 80's it left way too much silage in it's wake. There wasn't anyway to apply it lightly, Obsession was a huge bombshell of a perfume that took no prisoners.  I wore Obsession during one of the most torrid love affairs of my life…the one I should never have had that started with a total stranger proclaiming upon seeing me for the first time and in great detail all of the nasty things he'd imagine us doing. I should have run then. 50 Shades of Gray wasn't even  a twinkle in the authors eye, but I cut my teeth on erotica like Anais Nin and Colette and I think that I wore Obsession primarily for that reason. I wanted to feel as if I were invincible in a situation where I had given up all control. When I think back, Obsession had a very masculine smell  and I think that was the reason for a lot of it's witchery. Men loved it…especially that one. I had a lady of the night tell me once that men like things that smell a bit like themselves on a woman because it makes them feel less guilty for asking them to do the things that they'd never ask their wives to do. It makes sense  that the the 80's would spawn a fragrance like Obsession which I truly consider to be one of the first openly androgynous perfumes. The lines were very blurry then, all the drugs and all of the sexuality blended with the heavy tribal beats of the music to conjure a strange illicit heat that thankfully I haven't felt in the world since. I could still lose myself in that . All these years later the smell of it makes me simply want to gag because it instantly conjures the ghosts of that particular affair.

Funny.  I haven't been able to wear it since.  

You can still buy Obsession online and I have seen it at Macy's


Blogger rosarita said...

Wow, Beth, what an evocative post! I am of the same time period and shared many of the same experiences, and I still miss my mane of Farah hair, esp in it's original color :) My best friend and clubbing partner wore Obsession, but I don't have lots of memories of it in the 80s (those memories probably blocked by a haze of pot smoke.) I retried it in the 90s and loved it. Still have a bottle, and I enjoy one spritz on cold winter days - I think it smells fabulous. I think if one could blind test it,with it's potent list of notes, it could possibly pass for a niche scent in today's market.

11:36 AM EDT  
Blogger yoca said...

I never comment but I'm obsessed with this post.
I was born in 78 so I did not have the luck to experience those decades. I AM obsessed with the 80's though and I usually wish that I have a time travel machine that can take me to the best decade of the century. I just love wry thing about it, the music, the clothes, the attitude even the big hair. I think I would have ventured to the wild side as well having had the opportunity of living in such intense feverish times.
I do understand the feeling of overkill that you probably experienced. Anything in excess can take a turn on the dark side.
Oh please can you post a picture of that fabulous hair and make up of yours?

11:44 PM EDT  
Blogger Joan said...

That sounds like an awesome time. I'm sorry I missed it. Beautiful writing btw.

I recently read Obsession: The Life and Times of Calvin Klein. It was quite a book.

9:45 PM EDT  

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