Like many people, I absolutely hated high school. In fact, I absolutely hated ALL school for its conformity and norms. It was not a positive experience for me. And as soon as I got out, I never thought about it. I moved on…or at least I thought I did.
Over the years, I’ve had issues with certain perfumes and certain notes for “no real reason”. I thought it was mostly a preference thing. And then it hit me after a long rant about my hatred for Vanilla Fields, that I only hated this perfume because of associations that I had with it. Vanilla Fields was one of the “mean girl” perfumes.
What is a “mean girl” perfume?
These are the perfumes that dominated the social hierarchy that can only exist and thrive in something as institutional as a school environment (and well, prison, but no perfume in prison). These were the perfumes chosen by relational aggressors. And of course, since junior high and high schools are such micro eco-systems, these will vary from era to era and from geographic location to geographic location.
Join me today while I confront my Mean Girl perfume issues.
The perfumes that remind me of “girl hate”:
Coty Vanilla Fields – Popular stuff in junior high with a crowd of wannabe Heathers. And really, even back then during that terribly awkward time, I was like, “You guys suck at being Heathers“. So really my deal with Vanilla Fields isn’t even that it sucks but that it was so “vanilla” and conforming to me, that I didn’t like it. I was like “Ugh, boring people that wish they were important wear this dimestore shit“. So, yes, I have a negative association with Vanilla Fields.
Bath & Body Works Sweet Pea – I hate this fragrance so hard. This screechy fruity-floral has ruined every sweet pea accord for me. Forever. And peony. This smells like freshman gym locker rooms. And when I was 15, I got chickenpox which kicked my ass and hospitalized me and put me out of school for a few months. I had to go back to school with f’n crusted lesions looking like I time-traveled out of the damn Middle Ages because I was told I couldn’t miss anymore school (because you know you can totally fake viral encephalitis). And then to top it off, I had to take P.E. while recovering from all of this. Like taking P.E. in high school isn’t terrible enough for any self-conscious teen?! I would change clothes in a stall (totally embarrassed by my healing body) and the mean girls would totally bully me because of this, because yeah, it’s cool to make fun of unhealthy people. Anyway, between the verbal harassment and the creation of rumors, they’d spray B&BW Sweet Pea. Fuck Sweet Pea.
Narciso Rodriguez for Her – When I was out of school and had my first shitty job while going to school full-time – in college and rather confident, I was knocked down by the manager from Hell. A grown-ass woman that wished she was a mean girl back in the day, wore this musky perfume. I couldn’t get over that a grown woman could still have so much resentment and girl hate still lingering around from her bullied past. This was actually when I decided to completely forget and let go of all of that adolescent bullshit and move on. NO MORE GIRL HATE! I didn’t want to be like this miserable, angry managerial monster. And that’s exactly what I did….or at least I thought I did until I tried NR years and years later and was like “icky” and hate it. Then I realized my response wasn’t to the perfume but connected to a person, a person that I hope has finally forgave, found self-love and moved on with their life.
Well, that was really therapeutic. I don’t want you guys to get the impression that I’m some bitter grown-up still thinking about events and people from a million years ago, because I don’t. I’m a very happy adult. It’s just that I realized that even though I live in the “now” and think about the future that I can’t underestimate the power of past scent associations (let’s save the exes’ perfumes for another day…) We can have aversions to certain perfumes and predominate notes from certain perfumes because they can consciously and subconsciously remind us of negative people. I feel like by talking about this, I can really move on with my perfume hang-ups.
This does not mean that I’m going out and wearing Vanilla Fields or B&BW Sweet Pea, because that’s some cheap, nasty shit that grown, confident Victoria isn’t even going to get near. I’m too busy wearing fancy-ass perfumes. But, I now can “logically” explain to you why I hate Vanilla Fields and notes like sweet pea and peony.
Since this was therapeutic for me and you “listened” (thank you), let’s dedicate this post to the freedom from some of our olfactory hang-ups. I know I’m not the only person that has negative associations with “mean girl” or “mean boy” fragrances. Share. Let it out. Move on. It feels good.
Now spray on the fanciest perfume in your collection. Because you f’n deserve to smell like a million bucks.