Friday, February 08, 2013

Happy Birthday to Kathy

If you come here often, you know of my tortured relationship with Kathy. I've known her for 30 often awkward and troubled years. Oh, there were good times, too. Obviously. But Kathy is a very complicated woman with a very messy life and I think I bring out the worst in her.

Last year at this time I was done with her. Really, I was. But she refused to accept it. She kept giving me gifts, taking me places, even stayed for the entirety of my mother's visitation and service.

So I was left with a dilemma: how do I lose someone after 30 years without hurting her? I didn't want to be mean. I didn't want retribution. I certainly didn't want a scene -- there'd already been too much drama between us. I just wanted it over. But since she clearly values our friendship more than I realized, I decided to keep her in my life, albeit at arm's length.

And so that's why I sent her a birthday gift: a book that chronicled the 20th century evolution of the suburb where she raised her kids, and a refrigerator magnet that said, "HUGS" because that's how she always signs her letters and emails.

I'm happy and proud of how I handled this. The gift was obviously unique to her and it arrived on time for her special day. But since I mailed it, I'm able to celebrate her and still keep her at arm's length. For while she's earned a place in my life, I've earned the comfort and peace that comes with space.

I have made a commitment!

I like to have a signature scent. Beginning in the late 1990s, and for a long time after that, it was Black Pearls by Elizabeth Taylor. I liked it because it was both floral and musky, and because it wasn't as common as White Diamonds, which every woman seemed to be wearing for a time. Then, damn that Liz, it was discontinued. I still have a few bottles tucked away in a drawer in a dark closet, saved for special occasions.

Then, in 2005, I moved on to Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker. I loved, loved it! The packaging was pretty. The floral scent was good for day into evening. I was very loyal, even as I was embarrassed to buy it. (I always worried the girl at the counter was tsk-tsk-ing that I was a poor tragic thing who thought she was Carrie Bradshaw.) Then, damn that SJP, it was discontinued in 2009. I began hoarding it and had enough to last me until the tail end of last year.

Finally I have landed on a new scent! (Drumroll,please!) Exceptional!

It meets all my basic criteria: it's floral but not overwhelmingly so (kinda like Estee Lauder White Linen, only a wee bit hipper/spicier); not a lot of other women wear it; the body creme is rich; the packaging has nice, clean lines; best of all, it's not a celebrity fragrance and it's readily available online, so I won't be embarrassed at the cosmetic counter.

This search for the perfect scent made me sad about e-readers. For I did a lot of my research with fragrance strips in magazines. As printed periodicals go the way of the dinosaur, how will I find my next signature scent?