Signature scents are, traditionally, something you choose for yourself. You make your decision after a great amount of trial and error and spritzing and sampling and otherwise thoughtful consideration. After all, if you’re going to let a signature scent speak for you, you’d damn well better take the time to make sure it says the right things.
In my case, though, my signature scent was chosen for me, and everybody I know apparently chose Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds.
Why White Diamonds? Why not, I suppose. Suddenly Last Summer is one of my favorite movies, I own–and want to cook from–the 1991 mini-memoir/weight-loss guide/diet book Elizabeth Takes Off, and I was so distraught the day Elizabeth Taylor passed away that my coworkers got me a condolences card. I even used to carry around a lime green tote bag I adorned with sparkly pink letters and cheap bejewels to read “White Diamonds”, but to be fair, the bag was actually inspired by this scene from 30 Rock:
I was given my first bottle as a gift from a friend for my 24th birthday. I wore it regularly and without irony, the latter of which was difficult to do since at the time I was a humanities grad student living in Brooklyn. Some years later, another friend gifted me a bottle when I came out as trans. And when I asked for perfume suggestions on Facebook one day, yet another friend gave me this ad:
When I wear it, I get a big fizzy burst of aldehydes and bergamot that pops like orange soda before the creamy drydown transforms that soda into sherbert. It’s got that heavy, almost sour muskiness at the end that reads as vintage and reminds of grandmas. Anointing me with such an allegedly old-lady scent might constitute a read, but I’m 33 going on Ancient, so if the spritz fits!
Besides, I think it’s just my friends knowing me well. When they think of me, they think of Elizabeth Taylor, and that’s fair: we’re both glamorous, elegant, and prone to weight gain. I’m not sure what my friends are trying to tell me or what White Diamonds says about me, but much like a generous spray of Ms. Taylor’s well known nom de parfum, it speaks volumes.