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What Do Fragrances And Men Have In Common – Often Volatile!

When I think about how my taste in fragrances and in men has changed over the years, I recognize certain parallels. When I look back at the perfumes that have accompanied me through the various stages of my life, I wonder about some of them: How could I! It is similar with the exes. On the other hand, in a certain situation I felt exactly well with it/with him. In fact, my love for fragrance began very early.

Plundering mother’s rose garden

I was just four years young when I discovered a passion for perfuming. To do so, I raided my mother’s rose garden and soaked the red and pink petals in water. However, out of pure love for me, my mother was also the only one who used my “fragrance waters” – or at least she pretended to.

When I was eight, I was deeply in love with my handsome father. I attributed the fact that I thought he loved my mother more than me to a little square magic bottle she kept secret in her dressing table. One evening, my parents had just left the house in big ball gowns, I sneaked into their bedroom and opened the drawer where the supposed treasure was kept. I perfumed myself lavishly in front of the big mirror with Chanel No. 5 – with the result that my nanny then put me in the bathtub and scrubbed me down rudely.

My first own fragrance

As the years went by, the infatuation for my father diminished and that for an older boy from the neighboring high school increased. I was 13 and ready for my first own perfume – I was convinced of that. I smelled “Jil Sander Sun” on my best friend, who was really cool, a bit older and already had a steady boyfriend. My godmother gave it to me for my name day after I didn’t let up. I felt totally grown up with it, and yet its sweetish soft note was something that connected me with my childhood, which was not yet completely stripped.

At 17, I met my first great love. It was meant to be forever and ever. What fragrance would have fit better than “Eternity” by Calvin Klein. But my eternity only lasted a good year. With this guy, everything else that reminded me of him disappeared from my bathroom. Off to the trash with “Eternity”. From now on it went on à la carte – with men and fragrances. But when I think about it, both “life stage companions” always fit together somehow.

The elixir of passion

I felt so at one with a ultra cool guitarist from London that I shared with him not only a love of music and a fondness for green Parker, but also for “ck one,” the first unisex fragrance ever made at the time. Then came an actor of Indian descent. He was tall with glowing black eyes and velvety skin. As a matter of course, I discovered “Obsession” for myself, the elixir of a passion. I was crazy about him, and each of us traveled miles around the globe to meet the other – sometimes for just a few hours.

At some point, my Indian lover followed the call to Hollywood, while I listened to my inner voice and stayed in my country. But from then on, I was loyal to the Orientals – to fragrances, of course. “Angel” by Thierry Mugler I have loved since I first held the massive star-shaped bottle in my hands at its German premiere and sucked in the vanilla scent with relish. It reminded me of my nanny’s Christmas baking and evoked feelings of childlike security in me. Our relationship outlasted even my first marriage. Even today, my ex husband says he can’t stand it if someone other than me wears this fragrance – I wonder what he means by that.

Niche instead of mainstream

In the meantime I have dedicated myself to the niche market of perfume. I just like it when not everyone who sniffs in my direction immediately thinks to know “oh, you’re wearing….” My latest fragrance liaison comes from Spain and is called “Megalium” (Carner Barcelona), spicy-smoky yet soft-oriental.

Which doesn’t mean I don’t weaken from time to time when I encounter all the beautiful seducers in pretty bottles in my bathroom. That’s when I sometimes catch myself wearing the oriental-floral “Casablanca Lily” by Byredo to meet my husband for a jour fix, going into the weekend with “Pelárgonium” by Aedes de Venustas, or going to bed with “Sweet William” (Warner Barcelona). But the next day, I reach into my handbag and feel my fingers clasp a simple cubic bottle – Megalium.

What science says

I wanted to get to the bottom of my changed self and researched psychologists and scientists. The fact that in the course of life our personality changes beyond recognition can be read in the longest long-term personality study in “Psychology and Aging” by the American Psychological Association. So much so, in fact, that our former selves would no longer recognize us. Perhaps today I wouldn’t even like the 17-year-old Margit from back then.

The researchers’ key message was that constant cell renewal not only changes our appearance, but also our personality. And thus also our taste. In addition, the human brain is so powerful that negative thoughts that seemed to be long gone sometimes arise. In this way, a fragrance can evoke memories that were thought to have been forgotten. Memory can even subsequently modify old “stock” memories, make an event appear in a different light. The brain stores factual memories (place, event) and emotions in different places.

The memory content resides in our brain in the hippocampus and the emotion in the amygdala. “This plasticity of the connection between the hippocampus and amygdala plays a crucial role in the emotional reevaluation of our memories,” says senior author Susanna Tonegawa of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge. Maybe that’s why my taste in fragrances and men has changed so drastically. Whereas I used to prefer dark-haired southerners in young age, my current husband is Nordic-blond and blue-eyed.

Opener @IndiHerbst


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