Too Late

From The Atlantic

There was an excellent article in The Atlantic today (I’ve displayed a screenshot of it above), but it got me thinking about my family. There are some parts of history that aren’t entirely explained nowadays, at best. But if truth is truth you can’t ignore facts. Truth doesn’t suffer even if you’re scared it weakens your own limited argument.

On my mother’s father’s side of the family we came from England in the 1730’s to Virginia. Over the next 130 years we were wealthy plantation owners with many slaves. I know from historical accounts from the time that my relatives were part of a sizable minority of slave owners who were genuinely humane, or as humane as you can make an inherently evil institution. Indeed, however sizable we were a minority even though well respected families like mine were touted as the norm.

They used good truly people as their cover. People who weren’t afraid of abolitionism. In fact, some of my ancestors were abolitionists and freed all their slaves. That was our family though… And we were unusual, despite what was claimed otherwise.

Regardless, slavery was an evil institution and no matter how wild it must have seemed to my ancestors to consider the way of life they had had for over 130 years totally dissolving it was bound to happen. And maybe, aside from their personal losses (not of slaves but of other resources) and the fear that their families would be killed they would have even welcomed the war in a way… They were decent people who lived in very different times. That’s not to be confused with lacking honor, intelligence or awareness. Quite the opposite.

My relatives (also descendants of the plantation owners) who live in the South now aren’t more racist than the next person who genuinely doesn’t consider themselves racist. We’re ashamed to have been a part of such a huge, profoundly foolish and evil institution. But good people can make ugliness less ugly and that’s both a blessing and a curse. Sometimes our good intentions blind us to the evil that is really out there, including the evil we may be contributing to. We start to think things, “aren’t really that bad”. But the evil of our own time is often more insidious than most of us arrogantly want to assume. It’s easy to self-righteously judge others but a lot harder to hold yourself accountable in an honest and productive way. The evils of our own time aren’t often openly discussed or discussed well.

What are you a part of that “isn’t that bad”? A “necessary evil” even. It’s scary isn’t it?

Let’s be better? And when it comes to something as obvious as treating darker skinned people with respect and as equals let’s hope society can finally get it right… 160 years too late.

Floris

Well…my Floris samples arrived in the mail and I’m still testing the samples but I will say that the Moisturizing Bath & Shower Gel was very nice. It left the prettiest amount of Soulle Ámbar scent behind as well, which on my skin is an elegant, resinous and yet refined amber. I’m not an amber connoisseur however (although I would consider myself a fragrance connoisseur in general at this point) and there may be other amber bath products that are better. I can say though that of the many bath products (not just this scent obviously) I’ve used over the years that this is one of my favorites so far. I have yet to try their bath oil but if it’s anything near the quality of this product then I can see why Marilyn Monroe bought tons of it. Floris bath produces may be really just that good…

Now about the fragrances…

My initial thoughts (I might write a more extensive review later): Edwardian Bouquet is extremely memorable. It’s pungent and not for the faint of heart. Herbal. Almost pretty. Very emotive. It’s likely an acquired olfactory taste, so to speak.

1927 is juicy. Very warm and fruity. Lots of depth. Loud. Both modern and yet reminiscent of actual 1920’s fragrances. However, I like the start more than the drydown.

Then there’s Limes. It starts off very similar to my vintage Jean Naté to be brutally honest, except with more lime than lemon… Like an expert g&t with lime. Refreshing. Delightful. …But then it fades until it disappears. It’s just…gone. *sigh* It doesn’t even last an hour on my skin, actually. Too bad…

Fleur is nice. It reminds me a lot of a combination of vintage Jessica McClintock and Guerlain Champs-Élysées. Nice. Pretty. *shrug* A very classic lighthearted floral.

…So. I’ll likely not buy any of those fragrances in a full bottle. They’re nice but not quite something I’d want a full bottle of. I might try more Floris bath products, however. And regardless, the quality of Floris is obvious in everything I sampled.

Perfumes as People

Aerin Lauder

Yesterday I was looking through a mailer from Saks when I happened across a paper sample for Aerin Rose De Grasse (I swear those are serviceable.). But I’m sure you’ve heard of the Aerin line by now? It’s Aerin as in Aerin Lauder. She’s a descendent of the great Estée Lauder.

Anyway, in her line of fragrances there’s a perfume called Rose De Grasse. It’s a favorite among a certain set of well coiffed, well heeled women in their 40’s and 50’s. The type of ladies who have truly professional Instagram pages where they post perfectly lit photos of opulent pink peonies in blue and white porcelain vases. Peonies that they’ve just cut from their extensive gardens. The sort who wear pairs of Tory Burch sandals in rotation with the same fervent insouciance that American Millennials wore Old Navy flip flops during their teen years. Palm Beach ladies.

However, I was hoping for a different type of rose. Maybe something closer to the rose note in the Aerin line of moisturizers and etc. But no. It’s…not an English rose at all in Rose De Grasse. It’s American? French? Hmm… Again, at least a little Palm Beach.

The rose of Rose De Grasse is beautifully pampered and polished. Yet it’s also fruity. And very sexy too actually, but only in the most opaque, sweet tea and white marble flooring kind of way. Sort of country clubber, “Oh darn! I left my favorite nail file in our silver Caddy and I hate this valet. *sigh* I guess I’ll just have to finish this Kir Royal with a chipped nail.” *sigh*

I find those ladies fascinating. And we might run into each other in a Lilly Pulitzer but I’m not quite one of their tribe (and never have been or will be).

No… I do have a few samples from Floris in the mail though? Hopefully they’ll arrive soon. Maybe I’ll find something new to admire then. I recently tried Gabrielle Intense (Is that the right name? *rolling eyes* Whatever.) and Platinum Egoiste as they were the complimentary samples from Chanel with a recent order. *shrug* I liked the original Gabrielle. And I’m not actually one to wear so-called “men’s scents” so, for me, it’s not worth reviewing them more. We’ll see what happens with Floris.

Yesterday I did also watch “Niagara” though. And along with her glossy fuchsia lipstick I imagine Marilyn as Mrs. Rose Loomis wearing her Floris Rose Geranium on set. Very pretty. Very determined. And in “Niagara” also very dangerous. I suspect nowadays the actual Marilyn would also wear Frederic Malle, Annick Goutal or maybe even Aerin Lauder. Or perhaps it’s impossible to separate “Marilyn” from Rose Geranium and Chanel No. 5 Eau de Cologne.

I’m curious to smell Floris.

Marilyn Monroe as Rose Loomis

(Images via Google Images)

Zelda Rides Again

I’ve had a realization in the last few days about just how intensely jealous a lot of my “haters” actually are… And I mean that quite objectively.

The “haters” I accidentally gathered with my first popular and well-loved account on Instagram, that is. I have a new public and intentionally low-key account on Instagram and while I do share perfume it’s not my focus. But anyway, I’m sure some genuinely jealous person somewhere still wants to paint what eventually happened with my first account (I deleted it out of hurt, frustration and a concern for my safety) as a scenario of me either being “crazy” and/or “lying” or they desperately cling to any other scrap of nonsense they can conjure to make themselves feel superior. And you’d think they would have lost interest by now, but the jealousy was serious and very sincere I guess. *rolling eyes* It lingered. And lingered. …It lingers.

Actually though, 99% of the insults they tried to fling at me (and they still do) never did stick. My “haters” tend to project a bit too much of their own issues onto other people to truly figure out any real insults that “work”. They make up some “voodoo doll” version of me in their heads who doesn’t exist and then insult that person.

I took down almost any post on this blog people could find obviously unsympathetic to their “hate”. And, if a person calls what I wrote in those posts crazy now they’re just taking a cheap (and dishonest) shot. (Someone truly insane will start plotting to hack this blog now.)

Maybe in truth though it all just went over their heads? Perhaps they don’t understand how people could figure things about themselves out with proper historical documentation. They don’t understand what historical documentation even is? (probably) Or…they don’t understand or want to understand class. Wealth? Maybe they don’t want to understand anything in a real way because they’re too stubbornly jealous? Too self-righteous? *shrug* Or maybe they did understand my original frustration years ago (and etc.) but they didn’t feel like being sorry for being obnoxious (and jealous and destructive) and decided to double-down and attack instead. They were too embarrassed to feel bad for being so genuinely offensive. So vain and rude. So crass. Such a bully.

Thing is, unfortunately none of that makes me crazy kiddos. Instead it makes my “haters” mostly self-promoting assholes who don’t want someone to be “better than them”. And that makes them the one with the problem. Again, their egotistical anger and bullying (openly and passively) in the fragrance community online is the reason I lost my temper and started sharing things that I knew would make people feel insecure. I wanted to make them so upset they just blew up and went away. (Another reason they may linger, ironically.) …I’ve explained this all many times. I’ve said that I got sick of trying to be nice and bite my tongue when people were emotionally and psychologically abusive. …I was exasperated by the fact that people felt entitled to harass me everyday in their delusional zero-sum game. And if being more honest than is socially acceptable and not trying to coddle people’s egos is crazy then count me in?

Hmm. Will some “hater” start a forced (power-trip) private conversation to tell me about their child’s constipation and ask for advice about loosening their bowel movements? Will they then share something gross and too personal about their genitalia (without my encouragement of course)? Maybe. I mean, that actually happened. That was seemingly one “hater’s” idea of retribution. They decided to be “honest” too I guess. *rolling eyes* Well, that was their method until they cooked yet another narcissistic scheme up.

…But how about, since my “haters” keep reading, I just make it clear: I don’t take you seriously. You may have “loved” me once *rolling eyes* but in truth it was a farce. Wasn’t it? A temporary lull before they all found something too uncomfortable for their egos and felt the need to attack? “I think you’re really cool.” “I love you!” they’d say for a few months before feeling too angsty.

Right. Sure.

For The Dogs

“I love watching fathers play with their kids.” he said as we walked around a lake. I pleasantly agreed but probably missed his point.

Later after our hellish walk around the lake concluded he made an ass of himself at his apartment by going on and on about some woman’s breasts. She was about to get implants and his words were both lustful and filled with scorn for her. His friends looked at him open-mouthed and aghast and then looked at me with awkward and sympathetic smiles, clearly intensely uncomfortable with the turn in conversation. But I was mostly just very perplexed.

Regardless, he did seem to be in a nasty mood. Intent on being crass and as hurtful and objectionable as he could muster. Perhaps he also hoped to score a few points with his friends if he could? You know, impress them by saying lots of cool “guy stuff”. Big fake boobs and all that jazz. Guy stuff.

Who knows…

…But then came the moment of truth.

Sitting in the car as he drove me home for the last time in a genuinely rational and calm attempt to understand him better I asked in foolish but sincere curiosity, “Do you really like big breasts? Is that what you’re looking for physically in a girlfriend?”

He straightened himself up in his seat and became icy. Then in a very angry, frustrated and hurt tone of voice he yelled back at me, “No!” And so while I couldn’t figure out what he meant by everything he had said earlier about implants, I assumed he was just trying to reject me one way or another… I tried not to take it personally. Even make conversation pleasant again maybe?

“Tic Tok” by Kesha came on the radio. “Oh!” He said in disgust and turned the station quickly. “I hate that song!” he said. “Don’t you?”

“Yeah.” I answered trying to be agreeable as he still seemed upset. Truth be told though, I found it fun. I still do. But I had the sense he felt it was too rowdy and low-brow and I really didn’t want to make him nastier. I let it go.

And then (I’m leaving out the rest of that night because it mostly just went on that way) came the text two weeks later after I finally asked him out (he’d been the one asking for dates), “I don’t think we have any chemistry.” …Except we did.

In response I very politely disagreed and tried to suggest we could be friends if he wanted. Plantonic friends. I was really trying to be understanding. Ha!

Was it the calf hair leopard print flats I wore on a date to the movies that were stinky from being worn out in the rain? Was it the way I wore my hair? I changed it halfway through our quick relationship. Doubtful.

I think what’s most likely is that we misunderstood each other. Over and over and over again. Until no matter how lovely our chemistry actually may have been…nothing could be done.

I think I was supposed to get angry. Jealous. Confrontational. Except, I’m not a passive aggressive person and not being in that mindset at all, his maneuverings went over my head. I’m also not a jealous person. To an unusual degree.

But I loved his ability to feel deeply. If only he’d had the maturity and kindness needed to open up just enough to honestly clue me in. Genuinely confront me about his real concerns. Maybe? I obviously wanted to know. And of course I’m responsible for lacking the maturity, wisdom and romantic experience to realize that he may have been hurting more than he felt he could openly show.

“Do you like women with large breasts then?” His answer in my ideal world should have perhaps been, “Well, I mean they’re objectively attractive because they’re breasts, but no. That’s not my type. I was saying that to piss you off.” That would have left me speechless in the best way and perhaps he could have then told me what was really bothering him… He might not have guessed my response. I wish he’d been braver. I wish I’d been more perceptive. Taken his compliments more seriously…

But perhaps he was right, in a way, after all. We did have chemistry…but he didn’t “see me”. See my heart. If you can sense someone’s presence but your mind decides, for whatever reason, that they aren’t there the chemistry doesn’t matter anymore. It’s unrequited.

And in the end…what we deny the existence of matters. And our choices become our fate.

Northern Gardening

I took over five years of French in school growing up and then some in college. And, I’d love to say that I really speak French and read French but I don’t think I do. Hopefully someday I’ll be better at it. I haven’t given up hope entirely.

My husband speaks French quite well. When he studied abroad in Europe for a year he even had a French girlfriend and they exchanged letters in French for years. When I don’t know what something is supposed to sound like I often ask him.

Orangers En Fleurs. I love my Orangers En Fleurs… But what is it supposed to sound like? He wasn’t sure either…

I feel like the r and s at the end of Orangers should be silent as is the s at the end of Fleurs. However, I can’t be sure. *rolling eyes* It’s such a beautiful language but I don’t know it well enough…

This weekend we’re gardening. The tulips are blooming, a few things need rearranging and we’re cleaning the beds. But I wish we could grow orange blossoms here… For now I’ll just wear my Orangers En Fleurs. It’s smells lovely whether I can pronounce it or not. Ha!

Orange Blossoms (via Google Images)

My Southern Family

My maternal grandfather was born into the Deep South. The South of Zelda Sayre. The Deep South that existed in the early 20th Century. He was born in either 1910 or 1911. He used to lie about his age a tiny bit and no one knew for certain if it was 1911 or 1910. Ha!

But, it was the south of a romance novel. A novel with men who smoked from a pipe with tobacco and drank lemonade on rocking chairs. Real cherry soda.

Of course, after the devastating Civil War the south was never the same. And as Zelda once told Scott, “To understand me you must understand the south.” (I can’t find the exact quotation but I know it was this or very close to it. I’ll keep looking.)

And I don’t think that part of my family was racist actually. Not all southerners were racist. Or are… People want to oversimplify things to boil them down for easy, unbothered annihilation. Self sabotage. But people are complicated. History is chaos. Still with good and evil but sometimes chaotically so… It should go without saying that this is just my opinion, but I’ll hasten to add that anyway. Their ancestors from the century before were more like the austere and perhaps slightly prim, “Puritanical” and noble version of characters from “Gone With The Wind” (yes, I know who the actual Puritans were and that’s why I put it in quotation marks for the imagination impaired). They were the “Whistler’s Mother” version. *laugh* My grandfather, despite the forced humility of his childhood didn’t have a thick accent. A humility he sought to remedy his whole life. But a lot of his family is at least somewhat elegant and genteel and as I’ve said before his particular line of the family had more tragedy than the rest it seems.

It’s a Deep South not in popular culture today. Time moved culture somewhere else. His south is mostly dead, transplanted or very quiet. When I try to describe that family don’t picture a normal southerner of today. It’s just different. Maybe pieces still remain and people still remember but I suspect it’s very changed. I’m sure some people reading this will take that pejoratively, but… *shrug*

I wish I knew more about the current south. My husband is from the New England area and that’s familiar enough to me. But I’m intrigued by the south of my generation. One of my good friends from college was from Georgia and I recall noticing that she was a little freer with her emotions in very subtle ways than I was or the other students from “The North” were. I’ve heard and read that observation about the south of the past too. And of course Mr. Navy was from the south as well. His parents were both (medical) doctors and I think he’d had a pretty suburban life, but he was southern even if he had only a minuscule trace of an accent and seemed familiar in some vague way. I know it’s different but it’d be interesting to find out more about what the south has become or is.

Anyway, I just wish I’d stopped and slowed down. Been at peace with the chaos. Listened. Trusted my inner voice to know more about what I need as a person than the well-intentioned but incorrect advice some provided. Some didn’t.

Oh well. At least I can go forward knowing the little bit more that I hopefully have figured out now.

Regrets

After rereading a Facebook message I sent someone back in April of 2016 I realize that with time our moments of raw truth become the moments we are most thankful for. At least that’s true for me. And time can be a friend in that it occasionally volunteers real insight. Healing insight actually.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve been given lately is to trust my sense about things more. And tonight I’m realizing that I probably really hurt the young man I wrote about recently. And it makes me feel terrible. The one who might have wanted jealousy from me, by the way. I’ll call him “Mr. Naval Intelligence” because he told me that was his dream once.

I think he probably felt rejected for somewhat understandable reasons but didn’t say that and then instead openly rejected me first without asking any questions. He might easily have just assumed one of the worst case scenarios about me he suspected could be true and then acted on it. …Somewhat cruelly rejected me actually. And in that cruelty was possibly an attempt to provoke an unguarded emotional response from me. To start an honest conversation? A fight? Or he wanted to get revenge…and he certainly got it indeed. Ha!

But…I had it in my mind that I had to ignore however painful he was being. It seemed, at the time, like I’d be bothering him if he knew how I really felt. It seemed like he’d just think I was very uncool. “Never get attached.” was basically the advice someone gave me in regard to how to romance men. Well, don’t let them think you’re attached anyway. Hide your true feelings from them or risk seeming weak and worse: too deep. I trusted him at first but I didn’t know then what I know now about romantic relationships and I messed-up. But he might have messed up too. Lied even more. I don’t know. …I don’t know.

But I should have been honest. Open. And he might still have been cruel but I wouldn’t regret not telling him the truth.

I was starting to fall in love with him. He may have been starting to feel the same. We might not have been meant to be together and Mark and I really have done lots of work on our marriage but *shaking head* don’t think that when Mark seems too distant or I see other cracks in our marriage I don’t worry. *shrug* And I think admitting that is just being real. Maybe someday I won’t worry anymore about any of those sort of errors. That’s what I dearly want in marriage. I hope we get there.

But…everyone has choices and I have to hope in regard to the most important things that it all works out. That we all eventually find true love.

Jealousy Is A Form Of Rejection

With the exception of romantic jealousy, jealousy is a form of rejection. And sometimes even romantic jealousy is rejection.

It says: You don’t deserve to be what you are, to have what you have or to receive my goodwill. It says: I don’t care what the reality is about your feelings or your life because they don’t matter to me. You don’t matter to me.

Jealousy is often a sincere way of disregarding people’s humanity and dignity to save one’s pride, at best. At worst it overtakes you and you literally lose your mind.

There are serious needs in this world. There are very real hurting people. Sometimes jealous people can be those genuinely tortured souls. And I suppose for those folks jealousy could maybe be somewhat more rational than for others but it’s still not particularly helpful and can be dangerous to indulge in. But this is all common sense though. Right?

I really am not a person who gets jealous pretty much almost ever, although I have been known to be jealous in romantic relationships in the past and it felt awful… And the thing is, again, outside of maybe one relationship it wasn’t useful either.

My first boyfriend cheated. Did I get jealous? Yes. Was it helpful? No. Enough said.

My second boyfriend cheated too. And where I felt fearful and jealous and tried to “make things work” by changing my hair and tanning and doing tons of other stupid stuff I should have instead realized I was just in an objectively bad relationship that needed to end.

There were other relationships too, including my marriage, but the one exception to feeling on edge ironically may have been the only one where jealousy was what he wanted. Ha! Life.

He was very sensitive and very smart. And I think he wanted to make me jealous… *sigh* But since I trusted him I inherently wasn’t jealous. If I feel wanted romantically I don’t get jealous and I think he likely missed that… And, he is the only person besides my husband on my list.

Maybe he was just a jerk though. *shrug* I don’t know for certain…

Anyway, jealousy is not often helpful. It’s fear. It’s external hatred or internal hatred or both. It’s often just fruitless anger. Meaningless negativity.

Or maybe for a romantic relationship it can be proof of love… And if you know people actually respect you as a person maybe some “friendly” jealously can be tolerable or for some it may even be enjoyable. *shrug* I’ve never enjoyed either, for better or worse.