Have you ever found yourself talking a lot of bollocks at a department store beauty counter?
I went to Harvey Nics to try some Diptyque Philosykos for the Perfume Project. The lovely Sali Hughes proclaimed her love for it in her perfume column last year (“figgy, woody and unique”), as did some of you excellent, perfume-savvy folks.
Now, I am no longer 21 years old and full of insecurities and inferiority complexes. So I’d generally say I stroll happily and assertively around fancy department stores these days, rather than skulk about unworthily. Generally.
I found the Diptyque area and scanned the shelves Terminator-stylee, while arranging my face into a casual, “I do this all the time and could quite easily buy one of each” expression.
The friendly sales assistant came over and said, “Have you tried the room fragrances? They’re really lovely.”
“Room fragrances!” I exclaimed. “Well! I did not realise they did room fragrances too.”
Oh fuck. She’s on to me. I must look too scruffy, like I can’t afford to buy the actual perfume! So she’s gently redirecting me to the cheaper stuff that you just spray around the house!
“I’m just looking at the perfumes today,” I said.
And then, for no good reason I added: “I always wear Philosykos but I’m wondering if it’s time for a change? Go a bit crazy and try something new?”
Why the bloody hell did you say that? You only came here to test Philosykos, a perfume you’ve never sniffed before, and now you can’t test Philosykos because you just declared you wear Philosykos all the time. Dickhead!
“Hmmm that’s a tough one,” she said, “Philosykos is quite unique, there’s really nothing quite like it is there?”
“It is one of a kind.”
“And it smells different on everyone else.”
“Oh totally,” I nodded, “Some of my friends wear it too, and it smells completely different on each of them!”
My imaginary, fig-scented friends.
“Well, I’ll leave you to it, but let me know if you need any more help,” she smiled and moved along.
I’m not in Edinburgh that often so it was a rare chance to try something outside the usual Boots/Debenhams suspects. I waited a minute and spritzed on the Philosykos. Then I scurried off, leaving a tell-tale fig fug.
It was a gorgeous perfume, although a bit too edible for me (I just needed a filo pastry case and a blob of marscapone on top).
I would like to know if any other perfectly intelligent and confident people ever turn into a gibbering mess when faced with a beauty store counter? Anyone?!