If you grow up in a place, then the smell of that place becomes familiar. You only really notice there was a scent if you leave and return. London did that to me. Growing up in London had no particular smell for me until I left, returning perhaps once a year. It was London of the buildings, pavements and rain. What did I smell? Wet stone, concrete, the streets of many people. Yes people smell as well, like it or not. I spent my first two years in Switzerland working with a family that also owned an Indian restuarant. I ate Indian during the day, I sometimes helped out in the restaurant in the evening, although I was employed for the office belong to the man of the family. You think you do not smell of curry? Of course you do. The spices seep into the skin, it is everywhere. It did not bother me, because I liked the food and also learned how to cook a genuine curry and I did not really notice it. So what about us Europeans? What do we smell of? Beef, potatoes, vegetables, the sauce we cook it all in? I do not know because I am a European and generally you do not smell your own perfume, but we definitely have our aromas.
I just had a look at my perfume collection. Of course I have one, although I rarely use it. I never really think of using it, until prompted by Mr. Swiss if we are going somewhere. He also has to prompt me to use make-up. I do not think of things like that, but perhaps I should.
Due to my annual visits to London to visit my dad, I passed through the duty free section of Zürich airport and London Airport once a year. In Zürich I would buy perfume as a gift for my friend. In London I would buy perfume for me. They had various collections in boxes, the so-called “Designer Collections” and the mixtures were Dior, Givinchy, Guy Laroche, Lancome, Cacherel, Armani and even Picassoet etc. etc. They were miniature bottles and I still have the remainders. Even the small bottles need time to use completely. These remainders must be at least ten years old if not more, so how do they smell today? Yes, perhaps their smell is no longer the exclusive fragrence it was, but I am also no longer as exclusive and fresh as I was. Wearing perfume for the visit to the supermarket is not really my thing, and who would notice it amongst the smells of meat, cheese and vegetables.
There was a suxxessful novel “Das Parfum” by Patrick Süsskind (Perfume in english) which I read some time ago. It was a success and also a film was made. A baby is born in a market, amidst the smells of the goods sold, and left an orphan, but he has a fantasitc sense of smell. He becomes obsessed with scent, especially that of a woman and does what he can to capture the scent, including murder. I can only recommend this book. I read it in the original German version.