“Perfume” by Patrick Suskind is a book about a serial killer who is motivated by his acute sense of smell to try to create the ultimate perfume that will make everyone fall in love with him. All serial killers are incels – yes, we know this – but why perfume? Why does Grenouille, the main character, and by extension Patrick Suskind himself, believe that perfume is so complex, so powerful, like a magnet for the most ignored of the five senses?
I can’t answer this. Perfume is useless.
There are an infinite number of designer brands that have created perfumes. In beauty-focused stores like Sephora, targeted towards the middle-class, perfumes range from a travel size of KVD Beauty’s “Saint Eau de Parfum” for $22 to a bottle of Tom Ford’s “Rose Prick” for a whopping $940.
Is scent really so precious that we can justify nearly $1000 for approximately half a bottle of water worth of product? If someone walks by us in the street, will their scent waft on the air, and we’ll think “ah, now that is someone who is worth at least $1000”.
Obviously, there are some outliers. If someone smells like setting fire to a dumpster, or, God forbid, Axe body spray, you are probably going to think less of them.
Deodorant is almost always a good idea, but how likely are you to cover up your onion-scented breath with an overpriced bottle of liquid cash that you could spend on your rent instead?
Why don’t you go home and brush your teeth instead, you fool, you animal, you heathen?
Has civilization really come to this, that we must conceal our own natural odors with sterile chemicals and echoes of long-gone nature disguised as “light floral notes”?
Jump from this mortal coil, my friends. Throw off your chains of fancy glass bottles and incomprehensible commercials. Roll in the dirt and revel in your own nasty, nasty smell.
— Milo Openshaw, winter ‘22 campus life editor
Milo Openshaw (he/him) is the campus life editor for The Front winter '22. He's a junior majoring in creative writing with a teaching endorsement. This year he will read 60 books and write at least one.
You can reach him at email@example.com or you can find him on Instagram @miloohno if you want to see him. Or don't. (I wouldn't recommend it.)