In my teens I loved the musky heaviness of patchouli oil. Later, in my 30s I leaned towards White Shoulders and, after my mother died, I liked wearing her scent, Emeraude. Now in my 50s, I’ve discovered a new scent. It’s strong, distinctive, has a lot of staying power and is relatively cheap. My new favorite scent? Eau de Bengay!
Remember the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding? The dad in that movie uses Windex for all sorts of ailments and mishaps. In a similar manner, my grandpa used Absorbine Jr. for everything! Scrape your knee? Apply some Absorbine Jr. Muscles hurt? Apply some Absorbine Jr. Ear pain? Drop in some Absorbine Jr. (and blow in a little cigarette smoke just for good measure). My memories of my grandpa are tied up with the smell of Absorbine Jr. just as my memories of my mom come flooding forth every time I smell Emeraude. Now, I’m afraid that my kids might begin to associate me with the smell of Bengay. With chronic shoulder pain in one arm and tennis elbow in the other, I have taken to smearing my upper extremities, morning and night, with Bengay. This morning, when I visited my ophthalmologist, I felt I should apologize for what I know was an overwhelming aroma of Bengay. Portland has a new policy for city workers discouraging wearing scents in the workplace – would the scent of Bengay be included in this policy? A few nights ago, my husband got into bed and cuddled up next to me – ever the gentleman, he whispered, “Oh, Bengay! That’s so sexy!”
There are many adventures that come with being in my 50s; I hadn’t expected that learning to love the scent of Bengay would be one of them.