SOTE: Agent Provacateur

Agent Provacateur is a scent I’ve known since the early days of my perfumania.

Please don’t think that because I’ve gone in a new direction that my obsession with fragrance has subsided, or ceased to exist. I’m much more picky about what I spend time with, and I don’t go out looking for whatever is new and interesting, but fragrance is still a major part of my life and my experience. I’m writing about AP, which is my SOTE; my SOTD was DK Gold (ebay, <$10, shipped).

I digress.

AP was one of the first fragrances, as a full-bottle, that entered my collection during the early days of perfumista-hood, and it’s one of the few full-bottles to remain from those days. It wasn’t very long ago–only four years–but in my little world, that was my book of Genesis. A lot has happened since then.

AP is a scent that I brought in early, and that I’ve kept. Perfume is like gold, in a way; it retains it’s value. it’s resale value is static, and , as we know,  can rise over time. It’s an unusual stock, but anyone who had a bottle of Chaos before it was re-released understands exactly what I’m talking about. I’ve kept AP over the years because… why? I rarely wear it, and I’ve removed from my collection other early fragrances that, in actuality, I liked better than I do AP.

Yet AP holds it’s position. That pink, egg-shaped ceramic hand-grenade keeps it’s own along side Amouage, L’Artisan, Puredistance, uncle Serge, Ormonde Jayne… and the rest. It holds it’s spot. Why? At this point, everything that’s in my collection maintains it’s spot for a reason. I went John Galliano on my collection, before my move to Texas and after my divorce, and only the strongest survived the brutality of my culling.

What I think of the actual smell of the fragrance is irrelevant. Why I keep and  wear AP (as I am now), is that it reminds me of my ex-husband.

Those of you that have been with me awhile, as many of you have, remember when I announced my divorce. It was only a month before that announcement that I was asking for your help picking out a birthday fragrance for the same man. Today, a little over a year later, I’ll admit that I haven’t spoken to that man since.  Not because I didn’t want to; but because he asked me to remove myself from his life. His fear, as he put it, was that we would become my parents. You see, my mother and father are soul-mates, or so my dad believes, yet they’ve never been able to be together. He’s heart-broken over her still, and has never married. She’s had many partners and even a husband since… well, the main thing to understand is that my ex-husband fears that he’ll never be free from me if we stay in touch; like my parents.

Agent Provacateur is a perfume that reminds me of my ex-husband, and I keep the fragrance because I love my ex-husband. As I have from the beginning, and as I probably always will. We weren’t good together, we didn’t fit. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t love.

AP is the fragrance that I bought while I was exploring rose fragrances, and that I never truly loved. But he loved it, and when I wore it, he took note. So, on this eve of my birthday, a year since I last saw my first-husband, I wear a fragrance that he loved. Because… no matter where I am, what I’m doing, who I’m with, he’s part of me still. And I’m okay with that. I’m loyal to him, still, even in this new context. Perhaps not in the way he would choose for me… Nonetheless.

AP isn’t really my thing. It’s representative. Because, sometimes, I do what isn’t exactly my thing. When you love someone, you do little things for them, as well as big things. AP was one of those little things. In actuality, it kinda makes me nauseous.

Now, there’s a new guy. He always comments positively on Silences. This is good, because I wear it a lot.

10 thoughts on “SOTE: Agent Provacateur

  1. This is perhaps one of the most personal and wonderful posts I have read in a long time about the power of perfume and its hold on memory. Heartbreaking and beautiful, it speaks to me like an old friend.

    1. Wow. Thank you so much Lanier; times of transition cause me to be especially reflective, and this was one of those times!

      I love fragrance for the same reason—it’s so powerful, and the power of the beauty creates ties between members of the community. That’s something truly beautiful indeed!❤

  2. That was a wonderful post. I could feel every word you were saying. I also have an ex my lost soul mate lost to me for a very long time now. Still one day on ebay I came across Aldofo. Had to buy it for the memories it brought back to me. I tried wearing it again but it no longer works for me but it sits on my dresser among my other perfumes and reminds me of that time whenever I look at it.

    1. Beth,

      Thank you so much. I always know if it breaks my heart to say it, even if the words aren’t perfect, that the feeling will come through. Perfume has the power to make us feel, and I love that so much. When we share these stories, it’s telling a tale, one of the multitude tales, of that fragrance. I love that so much.

      Even the memory of a smell is enough, as it seems you understand well. Thank you for sharing your story, too❤

  3. Everything you said here, Dee, is true and understandable. Love isn’t you can turn on and off like a spigot, and even when you’ve moved on, you’re always going to hold a little (or sometimes a lot) of that person under your skin.

    That said, I’m happy to hear of your new man and his appreciation of Silences. And on the eve of your birthday, let me wish you a wondrous and fulfilling year ahead. xo

    1. Suzanne, it’s true. Once you give and receive love, that love mingles in with who you are, and can’t be taken away. We may change the way we relate to another person, change the shape of love, but I don’t think you can ever stop loving someone you’ve truly loved. Some people try, and that’s sad business.

      My new year has only been a day-long, but so far, it’s the best year of my life.

      Silences feels very “me,” so I love that he appreciates it. It was one of those, “I’m going to stop trying to figure out what he likes (I was trying different things), and just wear what I want.” And he liked it🙂

    1. Sometimes beautiful things have thorns, but they’re still beautiful.

      I want to share all the beautiful things❤

  4. My heart stuttered when I read this. It is so powerful. Open. Honest. I couldn’t immediately respond. I *know* that feeling, and you’ve captured it perfectly. I’m sorry the experience soured AP even more for you. (The silly Diamond Dust version of AP is one of my loves, despite the goofy sparkles!)

    May Silences and your new love continue to bring you much joy and growth. I’m blown away to read about your progress. Go, Dee! This is why I love fragrance and the fragrance community. Be well.

    1. AP will always have a special place in my heart, on my shelf, and occasionally, on my skin. It’s important to remember the past, if only for the lessons that apply to the present and the future. I feel lucky to have experienced and come through what I did, and, if nothing else, AP reminds me of that.

      Thank you so much! Silences has been good to me, and so has the guy❤

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