Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Why I Don't "Reach" For Fragrances

Since taking up this perfume hobby, I have been surprised by the number of times I have heard people refer to "reaching" for a particular perfume. To me, the word "reach" suggests an inaccessible, far away object for which a bit of a stretch might be required, like a spice bottle on the top shelf of the pantry, or a spare pillow on top of the wardrobe. Occasionally, during that rare phenomenon of a dinner party at our house, I may reach for the cruet, or probably ask for it to be passed to me, which is more polite. But where most domestic objects are concerned, no reaching to speak of is involved. I "pick up" a pen or a mug or a piece of fruit, the dirty laundry off the floor, or the cat. I don't need to reach for these things particularly, because I take the initiative of going right up to them first.

Oh, now there's another example of when I might reach for something - when I am immobilised because the cat is sitting on my lap and the TV remote is on Mr Bonkers' lap (its usual resting place, in keeping with gender stereotypes!). Mr Bonkers meanwhile has fallen asleep and cannot pass the handset to me to enable me to change channel from what he was watching but no longer deserves to watch, as his eyes are fast shut and he is snoring. Then I need to reach over most gingerly to grab the remote without disturbing the cat. Come to think of it, I have been known to reach for a glass of wine from the coffee table when similarly pinned down by a furry impediment. But you get my point. Reaching for perfume is not really called for, unless your bottle storage system is particularly un-userfriendly, such as on top of the aforementioned wardrobe along with the pillow and the car blanket.

I have to say that the majority of my perfume collection which normally resides in the beer chiller is so ram-packed in there that in order to get to the ones near the back a degree of "scrabbling" is required, some "concerted rummaging" and possibly a fair bit of "inadverent dislodging" and "accidental toppling", but not real, outstretched arm stuff such as I understand by "reaching", and which seems to be broadly confirmed by an online dictionary.

1. To stretch out or put forth (a body part); extend: reached out an arm.
2. To touch or grasp by stretching out or extending: can't reach the shelf.

Now if anyone wishes to place their perfumes deliberately out of comfortable reach, so that the daily act of picking one out is tantamount to a bingo wing-whittling routine with a Bullworker, that sounds like a pretty nifty example of multi-tasking for which I have only admiration. But as a pseudo-portentous way of saying "pick up", I don't buy it!

And if anyone's perfumes are unintentionally out of range, here is some helpful advice from a site giving ergonomical tips to electrical contractors:

"Arrange most materials and supplies that must be accessed repetitively so they are in front of the body and can be easily reached with the elbows in close to the torso. These items should be within the 'windshield wiper area' created when you sweep your arms in front of the body and at your side. Materials that are accessed only occasionally can be placed further out."

Right, I am now going to walk right up to a packet of nuts, place them in my windshield wiper area and grasp them with ease...


  1. Hee. :) I like your linguistic analysis.

    I'd say that I "extract" my perfumes. They're carefully and tightly packed in rows in tilt-top bread boxes, to eliminate light and minimize airflow, and if I remove a bottle too quickly, others can fall over like dominoes.

  2. :) This was so much fun. And most importantly, you have a point.
    It's fun to read how we approach our perfume collection. What I do, I stand before it and deliberate. I never wake up feeling, oh, today is the day for this or that.

  3. "Extract" is good, CF. Isn't that the word also used for getting people out of war zones? The vertiginous, tottering piles in both our collections certainly constitute a high risk environment, I'd say.

    Oh yes, Ines, I "stand and deliberate" too. : - )

  4. Apropos of less than nothing, Pip got her first "proper" perfume for her 12th birthday last week - Avril Lavigne's "Black Star" - her choice - it's quite nice.

  5. Hey, Falhawk, I am so happy for Pip! Start 'em young, I say... What I wouldn't give to have back the 36 years of perfume sniffing pleasure I missed out on by coming to this hobby so late. : - )

    Here's a snippet from a review on Now Smell This:

    " this case, Black Star embodies its subject pretty well. It’s like a well-crafted pop song: catchy and somehow familiar, packaged with a veneer of rebellion over a core of cute, and very well suited to girls in their early teens. Of course, if you’re older than that target audience (as I definitely am) and you’re looking for an accessible fruity-gourmand, you can still try it out as a guilty pleasure. Just don’t end up humming “Girfriend” in public."

  6. I definitely reach. The way some of my FBs are organized in the bathroom closet, on the shelf, certainly calls for a tricky, serious 'reach'.

  7. Yay! A genuine "reacher". : - ) That explains your toned arms...

  8. Late (again!!) Such a fun post!! "'...concerted rummaging' and possibly a fair bit of 'inadvertent dislodging' and 'accidental toppling'"-- Ha, ha and ha!! Your language is so lively, and you paint such a wonderful picture.

    I'm a rummager. As in: tool box with compartments overflowing with samples, and some half-*ssed taxonomy that's ever-changing to the point of uselessness. ("Is 'Musc Ravaguer' in with the 'Weird-But-Worth-Its' or the 'Difficult Masculines'?")

    Somehow, however, when I started to read this post, I thought that you'd be talking about the act (or process) or "reaching" to understand a perfume. (Or like. Or get. Or however you arrive at peace with a scent.) Different "reach."

  9. A fellow rummager, hello! I don't even have any half-*ssed taxonomy, but rely on my half-*ssed photographic memory, which works up to a point.

    Oh yes, different "reach". Assume literal unless otherwise specified. But if I had meant metaphorical "reach", then Mitsouko and Bandit would be on the top shelf of a bookcase in the attic, accessed by a rickety stepladder.

  10. This will not be elegant but here goes - I have to Bend Down and get a bottle for I put them right back in my ensuite cupboard under the sink in the dark and cool. I guess its good for my back?

    I can "out pip" Pip . Sorry. When my grandson was born nearly 2 years ago on his first visit from me I put a little Jicky on his blanket in the ward. Since then when shopping with daughter and Carlos my grandson, he watches us spray and test perfumes (yes my daughter is addicted too) and so is little Carlos . Out goes his arm or his nose to smell the tester strips or spritz . If he does not get a sniff he plays up! We have never told his father and one day while walking carlos his Dad came home and told my daughter how he HAD to smell the lavender hedge at a neighbours and all the flowers along the way! I think I may have a "nose" in the family. Hey --- free perfume!!!

  11. I applaud your superb child rearing skills! There already is a nose called Carlos Benaim, after all..... : - )