I am blessed with very little inhibition, so I unscrewed the cap which had likely not budged since the late 60's, and took a whiff . I should mention the store was crowded.
"So what does it smell like?" Danny asked.
"Well, it smells like civet."
"And?" he asked hopefully.
"And civet. And 1970. Maybe some carnation. And someone that didn't wash as well as they could have but then they had a cup of Earl Grey that was heavy on the bergamot."
"That's too bad."
"Too bad?! Are you crazy? I'm buying it!"
A man about my age tried not laughing , but failed horribly.
If you had asked me the name of this perfume, I wouldn't have remembered it, but once I smelled it I remembered the cupcake shaped bottle of perfume given to me when I was young by a little boy named Mikey that came to see me in a play. I think his mom sold Avon, and must have thought he should bring me a gift for after the performance. Really, it was I that should have provided the gift for making him sit through The King and I. *
Hello Young Lovers Wherever You Are...here's some perfume that smells like cats in heat and unwashed undergarments. And Carnations.
The high point of being in that play was contracting chicken pox on the next to last performance. Mum didn't like my understudy's family, so she wouldn't let me skip the last show and slapped oil-based stage makeup over the emerging pustules. After the show, she scrubbed my face clean, and then used Ten-O-Six astringent on it to make sure it was all clean. I got over the pain, but the pockmarks stayed with me. She felt bad about it, and wanted to pay for cosmetic surgery for the scars, but I never wanted it done. I wasn't being passive aggressive about it (she did hate looking at the scars)I just don't like the idea of unnecessary procedures. As I've aged, they sort of blended into the wrinkles anyway.
See? You can hardly notice them.
Do I feel charismatic wearing this Avon classic? No, but jokes aside, it is a very good perfume. It smells like the late 60's (it was released in '68) and the aldehydes, musk, and florals do really work well together. I remember really liking the cupcake bottle Mikey gave me (understandable, as it was the closest anyone in our house was getting to a cupcake-"You'll get fat!") but I'm sure I never wore the perfume. Peter gave me a bottle of Evening in Paris around the same time, and I was kind of sweet on him, even though he was clearly gay. Gawd that kid was beautiful, in a young Paul McCartney way. Mikey looked like Bruce McCullough. Anyway, I should have worn the perfume because it is terrific, but at that time I just wanted to wear Je Reviens, which was horribly unfashionable. Yeah, that's me-always 40 years out of date!
The good news is that Avon fragrances don't go for outrageous amounts of money these days, so if you want to give Charisma a try, it shouldn't set you back much. For something that was manufactured to be a cheap collectible, the perfume is surprisingly complex.
*Fun Fact- I was in The King and I twice, a couple years apart playing the same role. I can't sing, and I am definitely not graceful when it comes to dancing, still I spent a good ten years doing musicals. I despise musicals (even the good ones). I will never spontaneously break into a show tune. I may be able to do all the lines and songs from South Pacific the way some people do The Rocky Horror Picture Show-but I won't. You will never hear me washing that man (or any other) out of my hair. You won't. I won't be, "Getting to know you" in song either, but if you splash on a bit of Avon's Charisma...I'll get to know you...and your feral cat.