A Crisis of Fragrance

Last night, Lance was standing near his cologne station (see large image below), nervously fretting, eyes darting back and forth.  No, he wasn’t tweaking; he was plagued with indecision.  He turned to me and said, “Honey, I’m having a crisis of fragrance.”  He is going to Las Vegas on Saturday and didn’t know what scented body products to take with him.

[Before I go on, I should stress that I really wanted Lance to write this post, as it’s a long time coming.  Please feel free to harass him on Twitter (@lancegriffith) and encourage him to write more posts for this blog!]

And these are just the body products–I haven’t even gotten to the candles!

Now, this sort of internal struggle is is not unusual for Lance.  Scent is very important to him. While I have a weak sense of smell, Lance’s nose is like that of a bloodhound: highly trained and super-sensitive.  He actually can pull out the “notes” of a fragrance; he’d be great at wine tastings if he could even stand to be near the smell of fermented grapes (y’know, one bad experience in college accidentally drinking a whole bottle of wine and all that…).  This trait, coupled with his penchant for extreme couponing (where do you think my love of airline/hotel points got its inspiration from?), has left our home overflowing with Bath & Body Works products: body lotions, shower gels, body sprays, foaming soaps, eau de toilette, ..and yes, even shimmer mist.

Some people don’t understand this appreciation for smells, for Lance’s skillful Scentology.  They chuckle whenever he tells the story of the time he bought 90+ candles during a Bath & Body Works semi-annual sale.  The cashiers at Bath & Body Works know him by name, and he’s careful about revisiting an individual location too often, especially during spurts of high returns (B&BW has a very generous return policy).

However, people should not scoff–this Scentology is an art, and people routinely compliment Lance on the immersive experience he provides.  Heck, he’s basically Scent Imagineer (hint hint, Disney!).  I’ve told him he needs to scam a bunch of rich old ladies into hiring him to scent-decorate (scentorate?) their homes for a nice fat fee.

Lance is very particular about balanced and seasonably appropriate scents.  You’d best not be burning a Cranberry Woods three-wick in July (that’s strictly a Fall/Winter scent), and all active scents in each room must compliment each other (you’re not going to have a Pineapple Mango Wallflower going at the same time as a Green Grass candle, are you, you heathen?!).

This Scentology isn’t necessarily a passion, but it is a hobby that borders on obsession.  How many Bath & Body Works have we been to in the last two weeks trying to track down the Bonfile Maplewood fall release candle?  How many times have we driven across state lines to go to a larger store with a bigger inventory?  How many hours have I spent waiting outside of a Bath & Body Works??

At some points, it’s also borderlined on hoarding (how long have you had that Buttered Mashed Potato candle, hon?).  Our television cabinet is full of Wallflower bulbs, and the candle collection not only has its own shelving unit, but a separate cabinet as well.  There are  currently 22 different shower gel scents “in rotation” in our bathroom.  My dad, on one of his first visits to our apartment, looked under the sink in the bathroom and later asked me why we had so much shampoo.  No, Dad, that’s Bath & Body Works’ fall line of shower soaps.

I don’t begrudge Lance his complex, obsessive need to buy scented products (“Jungle Kiss is being discontinued?! Hurry–to the outlet!”), re-buying them every year in the new packaging even if he already owns three of the same scent.  Heck, why would I discourage him? Do you know how much money I’ve saved over the years in body wash??

I’m confident Lance will figure out what scents are best appropriate for his girls’ weekend in Vegas.  If not, he’ll just do what he always does during indecisive packing: fill up half of my luggage with his overflow stuff.