Blinded by the smell

I’m buying a new perfume. This, along with choosing a new pair of glasses, is one of my most-hated tasks.

While we spend most of our lives ignoring the constant siren song of marketers, desperate to sell us, well, anything (I am not ashamed to admit a slight ‘scene’ when WH Smith tried to sell me bottled tap water. ‘This is the end of days,’ I cried appropriately. ‘There is no more room for satire. We are beyond parody.’), there are two notable exceptions. Glasses and perfume.

It is, frankly, near impossible to buy perfume or glasses for oneself. Let me explain. Unless you are Taylor Swift, you buy glasses to help you see better. You walk into the opticians, and they give you a prescription. At this point, you are wearing your own, current glasses. All is well with the world, and the helpful glasses shop assistant shepherds you towards the glasses display. ‘This is great,’ You think happily. ‘I have to spend money. This is a necessary purchase. Only these frames look awesome! This is a fun and necessary purchase!’

Only it’s not fun. It’s not fun at all. Because in order to see what the bloody things look like on, you have to take your own glasses off. At which point you can no longer see anything.


So instead of glamourously trying on beautiful and stylish glasses frames, while the shop assistants look on admiringly, you end up with your face squished against the mirror, trying to squint for long enough to see what these new frames look like. It is not a coincidence that people end up getting the same style of glasses again and again. Buying the damn things is an exercise in public embarrassment and frustration. After trying on more than 3 frames, bumping your nose against the impossibly small mirror provided, and generally feeling quite terribly vulnerable because of your recently acquired blindness, I firmly believe that people just buy the pair of frames they happen to be holding in their hands at that moment. Certainly, after seeing some of the choices people have made, I can reach no other conclusion.

Perfume is the same- after trying one spray, you can no longer smell anything.

It is highly likely that I will have to continue my life as is- smelling of washing powder and proudly wearing my current glasses- which are simply the closest approximation I could find to the most delightful frames I have ever owned- my very first pair, a huge, face-enveloping pair of orange lenses.

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