Beauty Confessionals: I’ve never worn perfume

Photography by Sabrina Rossi

You know that famous Christian Dior quote, “A woman’s perfume tells more about her than her handwriting”? If this is true, I fear that many times in my life I have been mistaken for someone with a personality that’s, well, nonexistent. The simple truth is, I’ve never worn perfume.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always wanted to. As a child, I was obsessed with the fragrance tearaways that came hidden in fashion magazines left lying around by the more sophisticated women in my life. I always politely asked to tear out those pages, and then hoarded them in my bedroom, fiendishly rubbing the scented glue all over my wrists and neck. It felt intimate, like this scent ritual was something I had to keep a secret from adults. Those cloying floral whiffs made me convinced that someday I’d be a woman of bewitching glamour whose powers of seduction were unparalleled.

But it just didn’t happen. Growing up, my very best friend was desperately allergic to scented products and too-close proximity would make her break into hives. I didn’t want to be responsible for a trip to the emergency room, so I abstained from even using a scented body wash. By the time we graduated high school and moved apart, my lack of knowledge about the world of fragrance was already deeply ingrained in me.

I’ve also been told I don’t have much of a nose. While it’s not quite anosmia (the inability to detect smell), I rarely detect the smell in public washrooms and can generally only pick up on digusting odours if they are truly vile – the merely objectionable just doesn’t register. This confluence of life events have transpired in such a way to ensure that I’m just not really a perfume gal.

A few months ago, I remembered my childhood perfume fantasies and figured that this was perhaps one of the greatest beauty oversights of my life. So I did what any self-serving millennial would do and crowdsourced the help of my friends on Facebook. A beauty editor colleague told me the best introduction to perfume is to just “go to Sephora and start sniffing.” My next favourite crowdsourced reaction? “You are going to feel sexy. Prepare to feel so sexy.”

Yes, perfume is often positioned as an equal weapon in your seduction arsenal as a skimpy negligee. I admit my “seduction techniques” could use some work, so I took my wide-eyed and fearful self to Sephora and teetered around the perfume section like a newly-orphaned Bambi. I left the store with three sample vials of perfume; Le Parfum by Carven, Margiela’s Funfair Evening, and Viktor and Rolf’s Flowerbomb. My favourite of the three is Funfair Evening, which reminds me of flowers growing from a rotten log: sweet, with a distinct undertone of gross.

While it’s unconfirmed that experimenting with perfume has made me more desirable, it’s still fun to concoct imaginary romantic scenarios in my head based on perfume. I’m out at a bar wearing my signature scent and lightly brush past a handsome man; he catches a whiff and becomes so distracted that he turns around and falls in love with me on sight. A cliché, yes. But impossible? Never.