Posts Tagged ‘Iowa’

Hello Friday

August 12, 2017

My God.

You smell amazing.

There is nothing.

I mean.

NOTHING.

Like coming home to a package from Chanel.

Oh.

God damn.

And even thought I knew what it was, I still unboxed it like it was a surprise.

I was so giddy.

So happy.

The biggest smiles.

And.

The most delicious of smells.

Yes.

That’s right.

I am back to my scent.

I have adored wearing Rose Flash, it’s been a nice little thing to have and I get sweet compliments on it.

But.

It is not Chanel.

It is not my scent.

My signature scent for decades has been Chanel Egoiste.

Pour Homme.

That’s for Man.

Yeah.

I wear a men’s cologne.

I never set out to wear a men’s cologne, it was a complete accident.

There are no mistakes in God’s world.

It was meant to be, but I didn’t know it at the time.

I found it at a discount store in the mall, one of those stores that specializes in products that have been discontinued.

It wasn’t in a box.

It must have been a sample from the big department store that was closing across the way.

I don’t know.

I had only been in the big department store once, I can’t even remember what the name of it was it wasn’t one that I was familiar with, then again it was in a land I was also unfamiliar with.

Iowa.

Yeah.

For a very strange year when I was 20 years old, I lived and worked in Newton, Iowa.

The short version of the story was that I was there to help my sister raise her child while her husband waited to get out of prison.

Actually they weren’t married yet, that happened at the prison a few months after I moved there with her to help her with my niece.

I swear.

This is the short version.

The long version is the book I wrote, the second in my memoir trilogy (yes I wrote a trilogy, no, it’s not published), called The Iowa Waltz.

Anyway.

We had moved there, my sister and I, as her fiancée was caught breaking bail in Wisconsin and was extradited to Iowa to serve out his sentence at the minimum security prison outside of Newton.

I got a job waitressing at Palma’s, this crazy Greek restaurant where the owner insisted that all the “girls” wear heels when working.

And dresses.

I might have gone to that department store to buy a dress, I think, in fact, that was why I was in the mall at all.

I certainly did not have a lot of extra money to spare, my sister was getting food stamps and WIC.

And I lied my ass off to get the bartending job.

My first shift the woman training me rolled her eyes, “you have got to be kidding me, you don’t know how to make a margarita?!”

It was a margarita night.

It was on special.

And.

It was strawberry.

I learned really fast.

And within a few weeks I was zipping around, tottering really, god how my feet hurt, the other bartenders and making pretty decent tips.

For Iowa, anyway.

The wife of the owner was the “bar manager” and she was a notorious Sambuca drinker and what is that Italian wine, god she drank it by the bottle and it was red and always chilled, Lambrusco?

And.

Fuck.

She smoked.

I mean.

I smoked, probably a pack a day at the time, but she smoked rings around me.

We were allowed to, oh the good old days when you could smoke while you worked.

Gagging.

Voula!  That was her name.

Shit, that just popped right up in my brain, I have not thought about that crazy bitch in a while.

Voula smoked three packs a day, easy.

It wasn’t that she necessarily smoked that much, but she always, I mean, always, had a cigarette burning in an ashtray.

And not just one, but five, sometimes six or seven.

“Do not put out any of her cigarettes, do not dump them, don’t do it, doesn’t matter if the ashtray is full to overfull, do not dump it, you will get the wrath of Voula,” my trainer told me.

She also told me under no circumstances to flirt with Voula’s husband.

Ew.

Yuck.

Why the fuck would I?

He was gross.

Balding, smoked just as much as she did, except he smoked cigars, and he had a big paunch and swinging jowls, I mean, not attractive.

“She will fire you if she thinks you’re flirting with him,” the head bartender told me, “she’s fired four girls in the last month.”

Fuck.

I won’t flirt, like I said, gross.

But.

I had drawn his attention.

And he made it clear.

I don’t remember what he said or how but it translated to I needed to buy another dress for work, and there was no mention of a clothing allowance or a uniform stipend, the money had to come out of my own pocket.

So.

The mall.

I must have found a dress.

And somehow I wandered into this strange little store next to the big department store, cheap trinkets, discounted stuff, old holiday decorations, odd toiletries and make up, junk basically.

But.

There.

On the shelf in the back right hand corner of the shop.

The bottle of Egoiste.

I do not know what compelled me to smell it.

I must have been registering it before I opened the lid and inhaled.

Oh.

Holy Mother of God.

It was the most amazing thing I had ever smelled.

Warm and spicy, musky.

Sexy.

Vanilla, coriander, sandalwood, rosewood, subtle cinnamon.

Not that I could have told you that then.

Fuck.

I was nineteen.

It just smelled amazing.

It blew my mind.

It was $19.99.

I had twenty-five dollars in my wallet.

I did not hesitate.

I bought it.

One of the best decisions ever.

I got fired two nights later when the boss lady’s husband decided to keep the bar open late and play poker with his buddies and he wanted a personal bartender.

Yup.

You guessed right.

Me.

I never once did a thing.

Nothing.

Didn’t matter.

I was fired when I came into work the next day.

“Get out of my bar,” she screamed at me, “you’re fired you fucking whore.”

Yeah.

And goodbye.

Funny thing.

I actually got my next bartending job because of her.

“Wait, what?  You worked for Voula for two months?” The woman interviewing me said, she was the owner of Boots and Spurs, why yes, I did work at Iowa’s largest country western night club, how did you guess?

I nodded, abashed, I had indeed gotten fired.

“You’re hired!” She exclaimed, nobody makes it two weeks with Voula, let alone two months.”

She laughed out loud, “hell, I only made it four days, she was one of my first employers, years and years ago now.”

“You must be amazing, when can you start?”

And so began my illustrious career in a country western nightclub.

But that’s a blog for another day.

Or you know, just read the book when I finally get it published, there’s plenty of stories there, believe you me.

Anyway.

I was hooked.

I fell in love in Iowa with a men’s cologne from Paris.

So many, many years ago.

And I got a bottle today in the mail.

Such an amazing gift.

I opened it and smiled and laughed and giggled and hopped up and down a little.

And then I opened it.

Oh.

That smell.

So good.

So, very, very good.

And just for a moment.

I was transported back to that small town mall in Newton, Iowa (home of Maytag Washing Machines!) and my 19-year-old self.

My god.

How far I have come.

How very fucking far.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Best smelling one too.

Heh.

 

 

 

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I Raise Your Black Friday

November 27, 2013

And up you a Tuesday.

Today was my first day off in seven days, my first day of six days off, and my first day of not knowing what the fuck I was going to do.

I knew I needed to do some shopping.

I did not get it all done.

However, I did get more done than I would have suspected.

Even venturing downtown to pick up a bottle of my favorite perfume.

Egoiste pour Homme, by Chanel.

If you have any concept of French you may have sussed out that my perfume is actually a men’s scent.

And I like to think it funny, especially where I am at in my life and how far I have come, and all the work I do, that I still douse myself in something that directly translates to “selfish” in English.

Of course, I did not know this when I first saw the little bottle on the shelf at the half-price discount and over stock store in Newton, Iowa where I was living, working as a bartender at, wait for it.

Boots-N-Spurs.

Iowa’s Largest Country Western Nightclub.

That’s right.

It was sexy sexy times let me tell you.

Nothing says good times like underage bartending, teased hair, hot pink polo shirts (the staff’s uniform, a hot pink polo with Boots-N-Spurs crested over the breast and a picture of a bucking bronco tossing a cowboy in black ink over the back.  With this plucky little bon mot stitched into it: “and that’s no bull-shirt”), Budlight on tap, Budweiser in bottles, the “import” was Coors, ‘cuz it was from like the other side of the Rocky’s, pool tables, jukebox with loads of Alan Jackson, Patsy Cline, Billy Ray Cyrus (yes I knew how to Boot Scoot and Boogie and if you ever ask me how I will have to punch you in the face), and various other Country/Western/Country Pop singers and bands.

I had just gotten paid.

The rent was paid and there was a little left over.

I was living in this weird little two bedroom on the main strip with my sister, her husband, their baby daughter and we were just trying to make it all happen.

Two young girls, one baby, one ex-con shifty motherfucker and some pluck.

I wanted to get something pretty for myself and had succeeded in not finding a thing at the mall.

We were wandering through this little discount store when I saw the perfume.

I don’t know why I took it down and smelled it, but it blew me away.

It was the most amazing thing I had ever smelled in my life.

It was half off and though above my budget, I had to have it.

I sprayed myself down.

I probably hosed myself down with it.

It has a sharp citrus, grapefruit smell to it edged with a little deep rosewood.  Which is probably why it works well with men and me, I tend to have a strong chemistry that eats up perfume.  Then it mellows and develops into a smooth floral almost to my nose a tuber rose, but not as heavy, then it gets spicy and woodsy like wild geranium, and it finishes warm on the skin with a semi-sweet vanilla nose.

It is astounding.

I have had men and women stop me on the street and ask me what I am wearing.

Sometimes I like to spray a little on the base of my throat before I go to bed and just smell it wafting over me as I pull up the covers.

It is intoxicating and I have never had anything else work quite so well for me.

Oh, I have tried, Issey Miyake’s Feu D’Issey (Fire), came close–but it was discontinued within a few years of its release.

I wore it when I could not find the Egoiste any longer.

It was pulled from normal stores and became a boutique only scent in the United States.

Meaning, you can only buy it at Chanel boutiques.

In Paris, where I got my last bottle, you can get it in the Marionnaud’s which remind me of an upscale Walgreeens pharmacy, as well as the boutiques.

I sprayed my last little drops onto my neck this morning and after the teary bout I had upon awakening, yes, I cried this morning when confronted with free time.

Isn’t that just fucking ridiculous?

Most people are starving for free time, down time, relax time.

Me?

I can’t get enough of pack it in time, make more happen time, get it done time.

Rest?

Relax?

Who are you talking too?

Jesus H. Christ on a fucking raft.

I got a glimpse of the inside of the thought though and that was interesting.

I was unwilling to get out of bed, it was warm and soft and snuggly, but I was wide awake and knew I was only going to lie there and think and well, the thinking is not a good idea.

So I popped up out of bed and got my day started.

Shower.

Brush the teeth.

Strip down the bed and wash the sheets.

Kneel down beside the bed and say some words and read some stuff.

And then ask for direction, because I don’t have any and the idea of a whole day of free time is freaking me out and cue tears.

I realized as I got anxious and it threatened to swallow me up that I am always trying to make up for lost time, that if it doesn’t get done now it never will, I am always trying to make it happen, when most the time, “it” just needs me to get the fuck out the way.

Selfish.

Yup.

That’s me.

Selfish, what do I have or think I have that I am trying to hold onto?

I am trying to be perfect, not need your help, and keep it all together.

I am trying to hold onto doing it all on my own, all alone.

Of course to no avail.

And it isn’t what I really want anyhow.

But seeing that I was castigating myself for not getting more done made me laugh, out loud.

Oh, for fuck sake, I had already accomplished a load of things this morning.

I added to that list by making a really awesome breakfast, having a couple of mugs of fresh ground pour over Stumptown Coffee, then writing three pages long hand, paying my rent a week early, balancing my check book, cleaning my kitchen and bathroom, sweeping the floors, shaking out the rugs, taking out the trash, pulling in the garbage cans from the curb, doing another load of laundry and meditating.

All before lunch.

Yeah, I don’t do anything at all.

I said I am done being silly and I am allowed to splurge and buy myself a new bottle of perfume, I helped out this weekend at the Makers Mart and the money felt like it should spend joyously.

I eschewed my bicycle, rode the N-Judah downtown and went to Maiden Lane where the Chanel boutique is and bought my bottle of “selfish”.

I picked up a few other things on my way back to the Inner Sunset where I had a tea date with a friend and a manicure appointment.

And I had a really nice day being down in the shopping district before it was Black Friday.

I won’t go near that or any other shopping district this Friday.

This Friday I am hoping will be blue.

As in surfing the ocean blue.

That’s how I am going to celebrate the day after Thanksgiving.

Not trying to mash my way into an electronic store or shoe store or what ever other store the rest of the world is trying to mash into.

I think I will opt away from that.

Tomorrow, another long day with almost nothing planned.

Maybe I will cry.

But it will be ok.

Letting out the grief helps me let in the love.

And that’s the best smell of all.


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