Lola in IC 1805: The Heart Nebula in HDR, © Daniel Verloop
Lola and I first met through mutual friends at the University of Wisconsin's Campus Women's Center--the best place to meet the coolest ladies. Lola is a science writer and a bookworm, and though she lives in San Francisco now, I bet she still dreams of Wisconsin sometimes.
What do you smell like?
I think I likely smell a lot like an old lady. Not of grandmotherly warmth from wool knitted on a well-polished rocker or everyone’s favorite meal or baked treat. I would love to smell like that because isn’t nostalgia the most wonderful of feelings and scents? It’s nearly as invigorating as anticipation. Instead, I bet I smell of faint neglect and cat hair. I do a good job of brushing my teeth because of my constant coffee consumption (only smoker’s breath is worse!). But I suspect the rest of me evokes that slight offness of belly button and dirty denim. I never seem to be able to pull off the whole preparedness routine of wash, scrub, lotion, dry and clothe. I get distracted and end up bargaining with myself that if I apply lotion, I can skip washing my hair. My nature nut tendencies make me choose natural products without packaging that tend to offgas old lady scents like camphor, vinegar, rosewater, lavender and glycerin, though I do avoid the plagues of patchouli and sandlewood. My inherent laziness and practicality means I often don unwashed apparel with visible funk from the train or the cats. People tend to point out the cat hair and rather than taping it off, I recount just how adorable the snuggle bug looked in my sweater drawer. Maybe I smell more like a crazy cat lady rather than an old lady.
One of my first gifts from my wife was a bottle of perfume. Not because of my dusty smell, as I was still in those early stages of megaprep for every date. I was a little appalled because what kind of dude gives a lady a bottle of fancy expensive fragrance? Would this mean that Valentine’s would bring a dozen red roses? But then I opened the luxe bag and found a brand new scent from Marc Jacobs: Lola. I grew up in rural Wisconsin in the early '80s and always dreamed of selecting a magnet or other tchotchke with my name on it from the rotating display at the kiosk in the mall. Not only had my childhood dream finally come true, but I loved the floral tones of rose, peony and geranium. Check out this link for a review: http://perfumelover.hubpages.com/hub/Review-of-Marc-Jacobs-. Obviously, I adore people who ask me what I smell like because I can shriek with glee: “LOLA!” I’ve got to work on a response that includes a more seductive purr.
What do you like to smell?
I love the smells of certain places. Stores with books or art supplies, of course, evoke the discovery and pleasure of fresh inks and papers. The library is even better with that in-between smell of new and old books with greasy covers and spaghetti-stained pages. In my neighborhood, the library acts as a community center with aromatic patrons: well-scrubbed kids studying until their parents finish work, displaced folks looking for a free place to spend the evening safely and hipsters who’ve biked over after making coffee all day. My farmer’s market changes with the seasons, of course, and I love the experience of holding my breath past the fish on ice and the cages of live squawking chickens. My first stop is always to grab a hot tamale to eat on the asphalt among cars weaving for parking. Tamales taste better, of course, with the smells of heat radiating off tar and engine exhaust. California offers so much bounty! A list of everything for sale wouldn’t do it justice, but bread, basil, goat cheeses, olives, peaches and strawberries are a good start. So many familiar fresh grown things that smell of dirt and sun. California also holds so much majesty: eucalyptus, the sea, fields of ephemeral wildflowers,redwoods, chaparral, night-blooming jasmine, wildfires, the desert, lilacs, vineyards, beaches, hydrangeas, fecund swamps and estuaries, bay laurels, temporal rivers, the aptly-named princess tree, almond groves and sagebrush.