I’m fairly certain I was labeled a mean girl by my perfume community haters. But until I watched Tik Tok tonight and saw a description of how social exclusion is used by a mean girl as one of her evil weapons…I couldn’t figure out why. Not exactly anyway.
…I think some of my haters…felt purposefully excluded by me.
The thing is…I was very nice. Always. Patient. Impeccably patient at times.
But…I didn’t like everyone in the perfume community.
I may have stupidly told one or two of them that I loved them if they told me they loved me. But I took it as a…free-spirited…platonic…artistic-humanistic or Godly sort of agape love. Not meaningless. But…the sort of love you can find in a community of like-minded people. Like, “I love you man!” yelled from one teammate to another on a softball team after your team wins. It’s not at all romantic or sexual…(unless something covert is happening and it was not happening on my end) and while it’s personal it’s not…like…your best friends. Or even close friends necessarily. Like…you love these people for their eccentricities and value as people…but…it isn’t that personal.
Why didn’t I like the teammates I played games with for fun? Why did I love them but not like them?
…For one thing, I couldn’t relate that much. *shrug* Not on that personal of a level anyway. They were just objectively very different people. Even though we all shared a passion for fragrance. And our shared interest in collecting perfume united us as long as I was nice…apparently. The minute I lost my temper and returned people’s attacks based on their status-rage issues…it was over.
And wasn’t just about differences in social class, to clarify. It was about personality. Actually, it may have been mostly about personality originally. I had such a different way of seeing the world than most of these people beyond just our differences in culture, sub-culture, orientations, and backgrounds. For a few of them…La Petite Robe Noire was on repeat often. Or at least that’s what they’d say… And my only (old) bottle of La Petite Robe Noire is…more than half full still. It’s delightful and I have a feeling it’s pretty much a classic despite how early-21st-Century-sweet it is…but it’s just not me.
The concept of a fragrance belonging to you based on your personality itself seemed trashy, unfathomable or bourgeois to a lot of them, I think. And it isn’t. Not the way I did it and do it, at least. For me it could be about ego but no more so than my literal signature. I have a need to express myself by nature and for my mental health. Some people maybe don’t have that much to say so to speak, and it’s possibly because that’s just not what they enjoy or how life strikes them. How lovely…if it’s good… But for me a signature was essential if I took perfume wearing and collecting seriously. You can say it’s “not for you” but you can’t say having a signature is always meaningless or cheap or impossible. That’s wrong. Maybe it is for you and that matters but you aren’t me and never will be and for me it isn’t…and my experience counts too. I will also never be you.
“Whenever I see Chanel No. 22 I think of you!” I was told over and over again. Then they used to hurt me wit it. Or try to. For years.
…”Chanel No. 22 is sitting at my table now!”
“I stole it!”
“You aren’t a young secretary. I can’t imagine Michael would have- But…you were his type. I’m sorry, Lacey.”
“You let him apologize.” says Ted. “Even if he probably shouldn’t have.”
“It’s Joe’s birthday.” says Lacey.
“You really did love him.” says Ted.
The thing is…Lacey didn’t and doesn’t hate Chanel.
“No.” Coco says empathetically.
And she didn’t hate the haters. She just…couldn’t be anything but a forced, polite, sincere but not particularly open fellow collector/aficionado. And when she tried to be more real it rarely worked out well. With women they always eventually felt snubbed and retaliatory. With men it got awkward in some way…even if they were probably entirely gay identifying.
I like who I like. I try to love everyone with agape love at least from a distance. And so…people were “snubbed” in a way. But not out of disdain initially at least but disinterest in wanting closeness with people I didn’t hate but I also didn’t like. …Didn’t dislike… Just…didn’t like. Didn’t wish harm against. At all. …Just didn’t want to be close to. …Actually wanted the best for. Was even happy for.
“She must have secretly been poor and will feel threatened if I try hard enough.” they eventually reasoned inaccurately.
No. I’m not lying. And I’m not a mean girl. I’m…the once 25 year old who would have fallen with just the right word or look or deed for a 70 year old. Not because my father might have been born in the 1800’s. Necessarily. Because it isn’t perverse. If I’m Margy’s daughter or could have been…I like who I like. And so did she apparently… If she’s my mother and not alive…it’ll be a cautionary tale someday when I find out. Not about how to avoid love but how to not let it kill you or at least how to be more genuinely hopeful with God’s redemption in mind. …We’ll see.
What’s objectively wrong with La Petite Robe Noire? Some things aren’t about total rejection but the trouble of real distance and a fallen world. Even among the living.