Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Parfumier

I’m a little fed up with being a glamorous literary lion in the traditional mode. I go over to the nearby Tesco Micro to see if they have anything appetising in their markdown section (I can taste a bargain!), and am invariably asked for an autograph, or to pose for selfies. Though I’m unaware of there being any Asians (the British kind — from Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka) in Ham, the Tesco Micro is staffed exclusively by such persons. I am unable to explain this, but can reveal that my disgruntlement with the literary lion  life has inspired me to think in terms of a new profession. I am too nearly deaf to revert to being a jazz critic, as I was when I was young and full of semen and collagen. Over the course of a typical one-hour cop drama of the sort we watch in such profusion on the television, I am apt to turn to Dame Zelda and ask what a character just said, and then not hear her answer, usually tendered in an impatient hiss because she’s trying to hear what the characters are saying as I pose the question. What I have resolved to become is a parfumier, in significant part because I really like the word. As I write this, I have just listened 25 times to the little guy on the Internet pronouncing, “pɑːˈf(j)uːmɪə/“. I find his voice very sexy, but that might be a subject for another essay. Knowing that it's spelled with an a, rather than an e, will make me feel superior to those who do not, and one with my self-esteem issues snatches eagerly at every opening. 

Anyway, I’m old and deaf enough to know that in this topsy-turvy world in which we’re all just dust in the wind, a product’s actual quality is of no relevance to anyone. It’s all about how ingeniously it is marketed. A whole industry exists to make consumers crave things they neither need nor even want, to get men who watch football on television believe that drinking something called Bud Lite will make them more virile, and maybe even get them invited to the table in the school cafeteria at which the jocks eat. But I didn’t need a so-called branding consultant in fashionable eyewear and a self-assured smirk to think of a name for my first fragrance — Promiscuous — or its all-important tag line: Smell easy.

In the wake of the Harvey Swinestein brouhaha, and all those that followed, we are not comfortable talking about this sort of thing, but have you noticed that on Halloween, a very large percentage of women dress as sluts, and only a handful as nuns or associate professors of English at stuffy women’s colleges? Many women, while understandably not wanting someone fat and repulsive and altogether ghastly like Swinestein to demand “massages” from them, obviously revel in the power of their sexuality, and I believe that before the midterm elections have plunged us even more deeply into despair, all your most fashionable models and actresses and female electronic journalists and pundits and celebrity chefs and oncologists and what have you will be wearing Promiscuous, and, though they won’t admit it, savouring the lust they inspire in it. 

I have of course considered Promiscuous for Men, but some of the brand consultants I’ve been pretending to be considering hiring (gerunds on parade!), based on their responses to a few preliminary questions intended to demonstrate how far out of the box their thinking is, have pointed out that the name is redundant, male promiscuity being assumed. It’s biological, having originated at a time when many died in childbirth, and the survival of the species depended on fellows filling as many gals as possible with their rich, frothy cum. Now, of course, there are far, far too many of us on the planet, and the oceans are apparently full of plastic crap, but the wheels of biology turn slowly. Moreover, the sort of man who’d consider wearing a cologne called Promiscuous might well be iffy about his product being an offshoot of a ladies’. 

Can you imagine how much Bud Lite one would have to make a big show of guzzling publicly to compensate for that?

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