Sarah Morgan

Healthcare Geek.
Professional Communicator.


On the Scent

I can’t stand Davidoff Cool Water cologne.

It’s got nothing to do with whether or not it actually smells bad. Not really. To me, it smells like a kid who sat in front of me in high school who was mean to my friends. He’s probably grown up to be perfectly nice. People tend to. But I still hate that smell.

Then there’s some other cologne. Abercrombie & Fitch Woods, I think. It isn’t that it smells very good. I don’t think it really does. But it has… nicer memories.


I had some conversations this week about smells. There are some you love, some you hate, and some that just mean a lot. Smells are memories, and they’ve got such strong emotions attached to them.

That’s been making me think about the things you choose to smell like. I realized that you could chart out your life by the scents you wore. It’s a personality history in little bottles.

Here’s mine, as much as I can remember. The theory works pretty well for me.

Love’s Baby Soft (I think there was a law decreeing it My First Perfume)
Coty Vanilla Fields (…for years)
Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers
Clinique Happy (…and years)
Carolina Herrera
Vera Wang
Marc Jacobs
Thierry Mugler Angel (…and years)

…and lately, I’ve been switching among Burberry Brit or Jo Malone Vintage Gardenia in the summer, and Burberry London or Jo Malone Nutmeg & Ginger in the winter. But mostly the Vintage Gardenia.

I’m going to look a lot more carefully at people’s dressers and sink vanities, now.



Sarah, most of my early perfumes line up with yours.

My best friend had Electric Youth and I remember loving it.
Love’s Baby Soft smells like 6th grade to me. Also I think it’s weird how, erm, phallic, the bottle is.
And Clinique Happy (but NOT Happy Hearts) as well.

Others I recall:
GAP scents
Bath and Body Works Sun Ripened Raspberry – all of college; now it makes me gag – didn’t have this but it was SO strong – or maybe the person who wore it just wore a LOT of it.

Now I use Lush’s Honey I Washed the Kids (I think that’s what it is) solid perfume. It is me for sure, at least for now.

Scents that remind me of others: Navy (my mom in the late 80s), and Drakkar (ahhh high school memories), which caused me to space out during one of my AP tests. Oh well.

Sarah Morgan

Christine – was Electric Youth the one whose little plastic stem inside was a corkscrew shape? If so, Maria had it, and I was totes jelly.

Also, I just found this article on Jezebel about perfumes, which is worth reading just for one phrase in one comment: “trollopy sophomore.” LOVE.

Sarah Morgan

Addendum: This weekend I stopped by for a quick visit with Family 2.0 and my stepbrother and stepsister were getting ready to go to a middle school dance at the town pool. (I know, how Pleasantville!) I’d forgotten that that, for a 13-year-old boy, meant Axe. But while making fun of how bad it smelled, I accidentally twisted the lid, so I had to jimmy it back on. Which, of course, got Axe all over me. I reeked of “Dark Temptation” for the rest of the night, no matter how many times I washed. Blech.


On a related note, Kris and I were discussing the abundance of deodorants on my vanity. A spent one, which I held onto so I could buy the correct scent again, was “Totally Fresh,” which he smelled and agreed smelled clean. Then there was the new one I bought by accident, “Completely Clean” which he sniffed and then recoiled and remarked “That’s not ‘clean’! That’s ‘I smell like a f*cking lollipop!'” He was right.

Any of those Bath and Body Works body sprays smell like college to me (with an underlying note of the cigarette smoke it was used to cover up). These days I switch between Ralph Lauren’s Romance and Sarah Jessica Parker’s Lovely. And of course, the scent of lollipop.


I remember Electric Youth in grade school. Who didn’t want to smell like Debbie Gibson? Trouble was that it smelled like garbage. Literally. Also – Canteen. I don’t remember if it was good or not, but I wore the hell out of it. Any of the “Gap” scents remind me of college.

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