Bienvenidos and welcome to the blog of Manda Newlin, professional writer/copyeditor, amateur pop-culture quipper and perennial observer. I’m nuts about words, grammar, bookstores, foreign accents, DVR and iTunes. I enjoy one-on-one conversations, eavesdropping in coffee shops, learning other peoples’ life stories and discovering universal truths. Here’s what I know ….

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Smells like bad marketing

Sephora is one of my favorite stores, an ironic thing when you consider I barely wear makeup. (My extra morning minutes are spent under the covers, not in front of the mirror.) But I do love the idea of makeup – all those magical elixirs, lotions, balms and salves designed to make women look real purty.

At Sephora you can get an adorable little sample of anything you want: eye firming treatments, hydrating gel masks, fine-line reducers and pore minimizers. (Men must be so jealous of all the wonderful opportunities women have to spend money on their faces.)

Sephora also will let you take home any fragrance in a tiny trial pump … which at last brings me to the point of this post.

Mmm …. you smell like … a jerk
Last time I was in the cloud nine of cosmetics, I meandered in the perfume section. Sniffing aimlessly, I noticed a rather unusual assortment of product names. The most striking?
Insolence by Guerlain. Now, I know the creators of this scent are French – a culture known for its brashness – but do they think women really want to dab a “contemptuously rude or impertinent” scent on their pulse points? I sure don’t. But then, I’m not French.

Dior offers up a tonic called Addict, which purports to “indulge the senses with sumptuous silk tree flower and voluptuous night queen flower, plus subtle hints of self-annihilation, degradation and profound shame.” (OK, I added that last part, but I bet you’ll be hooked after just one sniff of this stuff.)

Dior also brings us Hypnotic Poison. Are we supposed to spray it on our wrists or serve it to Sleeping Beauty? This intoxicating scent is “an unsettling harmony, a fusion of contrasting olfactory facets.” (As someone with a stronger than average vocabulary, I have no idea what this is supposed to mean. But again, I’m not French.) If you’re interested in poisonous substances but you don’t believe in hypnosis, don’t worry. Dior can set you up with Pure Poison and Midnight Poison, too.

While I’d prefer not to dabble in insolence, addictions and poison, I have to assume a number of female consumers are more liberal in their perfume selections than I. And because I fancy myself an altruist, I have created a modest list of names to complement the rude/fatal vibe of the scents identified above. Persons employed in the marketing departments of the above-named perfumeries may use these suggestions as they see fit. I don’t mind.

  • Churlish (or ChurlĂ­che, if a French pronunciation makes it somehow better)
  • Felonie
  • Malignancee
  • Arsonista
  • Salacious
  • Nefarious
  • Licentious

Kind of gives of a whole new meaning to the idea of a "nasty smell," don't you think?

If you have other ideas to share, feel free to reply to this post. The French will thank you.