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Journals of an Insane Genius -- December 1998

It's the holiday season, and if you enjoy wearing fragrances this is the best time of year. Almost every major cologne has a gift pack available at a discount rate and I love being able to sample a variety to find out which ones I like that I haven't tried before.

When shopping for a fragrance, a suitable name is essential. The men's colognes are stuck in the trenches, slugging it out in an attempt to attract my attention. The ones most likely to succeed emulate the title of the rock music group Collective Soul's debut album, "Hints, Allegations, and Things Left Unsaid".

The first time I noticed the power of a cologne's name took place (big surprise here) at a local night club. I was speaking with a young lady and she commented on the cologne I was wearing and asked what it was. "It's called Gravity, do you feel the attraction?", I replied in my most alluring voice. She was sipping her drink during my response and apparently choked on one of the tiny ice cubes, those things are dangerous. She recovered quickly, and was apparently so relieved at surviving this experience that she couldn't help bursting into laughter.

My second experience with the draw of a good name happened on the way to work. I'm one of those people that prefer their caffeine cold. I can drink coffee, but it's a bit high octane for me and tends to make me ramble. So I had stopped off at the local Circle K convenience store to pick up a soda. This Circle K is located in one of the more economically depressed areas of town, across the street from an apartment complex. It's not an unusual sight to see other customers buying alcohol at seven in the morning in this area, so I didn't pay any attention to the elderly lady in line ahead of me purchasing a half gallon of whiskey. But when she was half way out the door and then turned around and started sniffing I took notice.

As I awaited my change she slowly moved in my direction. Finally, she came right up next to me, still sniffing very loudly. Obviously we were now the focal point of attention in the store.

"Is that you? You smell good young man!", she said animatedly.

Well here is a case of a person going out of their way to pay me a compliment. And while it is rude to judge people by their appearance, the thought going through my mind as I received my change was that this was a person that has not been flirted with in a while.

So I locked eyes with her, raised a single eyebrow, and in my huskiest voice I said, "It's called Obsession".

Her face lit up and she laughed and laughed.

As I strutted out the door she called after me, "Young man you just made my day."

Of course this new power I have discovered is not without peril. I found this out recently as I was shopping at the mall. I was fortunate enough to have a female companion on this shopping excursion (not the person I met at Circle K) and she advised me on how to select a cologne. She had me strategically apply a light spritz of four different scents, one at each wrist and one higher up on the inside each forearm. Then it was important that we wander around for an hour so the initial overpowering pungency would be replaced by the lighter scent that would accompany you for the remainder of the day.

By the time we finished our Brownian traversal of the mall we were at the fragrance counter of a different store than the one where I had applied the samples. We agreed on which fragrance was the best, and I was even more excited because it had a great name, full of innuendo.

I didn't see this particular fragrance on display. A young lady with a pierced eyebrow and bright pink hair in a shade and texture normally associated with cotton candy asked if she could assist. I like to think that it was the combination of fragrances that made me addle minded at this point, but for some reason I once again became the focus of attention when, before realizing just how loaded this question was, I asked for the cologne by name.

"Yes, do you sell 'Pleasures'?", I blurted out.

As my face started changing color to match that of her hair a rather tired looking man burdened with an armload of packages stopped and said, "I am really interested in hearing the response to that question".

The sales girl tittered and then held up a gift box and responded, "We don't carry that fragrance, but perhaps I can interest you in this set of 'Curves'".

Normally my will would crumble under this kind of sales pressure, but as I cast a cautious eye towards my companion I realized that the next words out of my mouth could make the ride home a long and quiet one. So I declined the Curves and set off with my friend in search of Pleasures.


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