Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Obviously, over the past week I have been thinking a lot about temporality and the fleeting nature of, well, everything. Breakups are wonderful thought exercises in existentialism for sure - a painful yet much needed thing for an ex-philosophy major.
I swear this has a point; this isn’t another pity-fest for me. There’s a perfume review in here, emerging from the wreckage of my emotions and the inner recesses of my ‘fumed-out brain.
The day before the breakup, I decided to test out Ormonde Jayne’s Ormonde Woman. If you remember, my now-ex loved Ormonde Man, but I had been unable to test out Ormonde Woman. This is because my sample of Ormonde Woman didn’t survive its travels from London to NYC.
**An aside: Dear PR people, please always bubble-wrap products that are being sent overseas, especially perfume. Otherwise, there will be heartbroken bloggers all over the place!
**Another aside: Ruth, you’re an angel for sending me a sample of Ormonde Woman - and an angel for being a kind friend. I am lucky to know you.
I was hungover, tired, and slightly crabby because I had to make an impromptu trip downtown to deliver an iPod to a friend who had forgotten he drunkenly gave it to me the night before. I needed to be in my happy bunny place; I remembered Carrie’s gorgeous review of Ormonde Woman and, hoping I’d be transported to a mental locale as lovely as her’s, I sprayed myself and hopped on the train.
The day I experienced with my friend, as I reflect on it, served as the perfect backdrop for experiencing Ormonde Woman. It was a day ripe with beautiful memories and a sweet, simple joy that would not last very long.
Ormonde Woman strikes the same velvety, outdoorsy chord as Ormonde Man, but (thankfully!) was nothing like the soapy, peppered mess I experienced while wearing the latter. Simultaneously full of warmth but shot through with a chilly forest wind, Ormonde Woman is less a perfume and more of an experience, an environment: prone to inevitable change.
(One of my favorite NYC backdrops: the courtyard of the Museum of Modern Art)
This was my initial problem with the fragrance: it has an incredible lack of longevity. I have never experienced this before with a fragrance of this price tag and with the sort of notes Ormonde Woman contains. Woody, deep fragrances typically last all day on me. I get about two hours tops with Ormonde Woman when sprayed directly on my skin; however, when sprayed on my clothes, the fragrance is detectable the next day.
I was surprised, though, at how little this problem bothered me. How could I be mad at something so strikingly beautiful? The fragrance metamorphosized with me and with my day.
That initial spray is a velvety caress of cardamom, violet, and jasmine. Texturally, you can actually feel this fragrance as much as you can smell it. It is the softest caress of the calloused hand of my friend across mine, the crisp fall air as we stand at the Fulton Seaport watching the sunset, the coziness of a warm and filling dinner in Chinatown.
Then - oh! - that gorgeous, indescribably hypnotic hemlock comes to play with a delicious base of vetiver, cedar, and powdery amber. Ormonde Woman becomes the drop in temperature as nighttime creeps upon us, fast legs running down Wall Street. I feel as invincible as the Occupy Wall Street protestors but smell arguably better. We slink down West Broadway, admire the shadowy skyscrapers of Tudor City, and run down Park Avenue and through Central Park. I am constantly on the move. Shadows play along the sidewalks and every couple of hours I refresh my fragrance (thank goodness for portable little samples, no?), and I revel in the beauty of my night and my surroundings.
And I realize: I’ll never have this indescribably lovely moment again. I’ll have other moments, but not this one. I’m strangely ok with this. I am reminded of the final moments of “Six Feet Under”, when Nate whispers in Claire’s ear as she photographs her family one last time: “You can’t take a picture of this, it’s already gone.” Ormonde Woman has faded off of my skin numerous times throughout this long night. I go home, flush with happiness. The next night, while I am wearing the same sweatshirt from yesterday’s adventure, my boyfriend ends our relationship.
After it all, tears abundant, he tells me: “Joey, you smell absolutely wonderful. What is that?”
What can I do but laugh, and smile, and wipe my eyes? Snapshots of the night before, snapshots of my relationship, and snapshots of the bright city lights flash through my mind. I realize that I’ll eventually be ok. Not that night, not the next night, but soon. Pain is as temporally driven as joy. I run into Riverside Park and spray myself again.
Ormonde Woman is the perfect reminder of fleetingness. There is something inarguably special about that which does not last forever. I want to remember this.