Which is weird, because I sort of have a signature scent already, and that was the old Victoria's Secret Vanilla Lace body spray. When it disappeared from the stores, I relied on eBay. Maybe it was stashed in drawers, garages, whatever, I didn't care, I'd still take it off their dusty hands. It was cool when people could associate me with my scent, but it wasn't so strong that it was like a police siren announcing my presence in a room.
But at some point recently, I decided maybe I didn't want to smell like a 15-year-old teen wearing a 15-year-old liquid anymore. The hunt was on.
There were department stores, and I don't know how those saleswomen could deal with that job. Even announcing that I was looking for my signature scent (because, you know, customer for life) and stating my preferences (heavy on the vanilla, for daytime use so easy on the musk, and not yet old enough for Chanel No 5), it was still a bombardment rather than a curated approach. I left smelling like *that* woman in the office (you know the one).
There were checking online reviews, making lists, cross-referencing. There started to be the problem of discovering that there were multiple versions of one perfume that were hyped for a year and then were lost forever. I tried to exclude those, but it's hard to predict which ones were "classics" and what I'd be hunting for on eBay again when I'm in my 60s. I was trying not to be swayed by awesome bottle designs and names (Um, hello, Alien by Thierry Mugler). I also didn't really want anything that could be purchased at a drug store or "designed" by a pop singer.
I narrowed it down and ordered those little sampler tubes. I remember as a kid in the 80s having dozens of those things, each barely secured by a tiny plastic hook in a gatefold card that had the actual artwork and description of the Real Thing You Should Buy. The nostalgia was overwhelming when I got my new stash. And even though my list of things to try was very specific, of course, I got a ton of other random samples, with more musk and rose than you can shake a hair curler at.
Several samples were vetoed on first smell. Some won the honor of getting spritzed on before work. Eventually I got to "March Madness" style of wearing a different scent on each wrist and deciding at the end of the day which winner progressed to the next bracket.
I was down to the last two: Candy by Prada and Pour Femme by Dolce and Gabbana.
And yesterday morning, while dressing after an intense deadlifting session, I couldn't find my little tube for the day. I tore everything out of my gym bag, tapped shoes to be sure they were empty, swept my locker multiples times (just to be sure), but alas, all I had was the card and a broken heart.
I had my answer for which bottle I had to buy.