Summary: Marlen recalls a visit to Coty’s offices in New York only to find that his fragrance isn’t the only thing emitting an odor.
True story: It’s my big meeting with the people at Coty. I’m sitting in one of those chairs that one couldn’t possibly be comfortable in. Too close to the floor; back inclined too far. I shift, and then shift again, trying to look cool. I’ve got on the slim-fit Levis, black leather army boots, stainless steel chain and Buddhist beads. My head is freshly shaved and I’m wearing Euphoria for Men. A woman sits across the lobby from me, sensibly on a flat cushioned bench. She must be more comfortable than I am. She’s busy on her cell phone, but our eyes meet.
I shift again. What the…?
An aroma catches my attention. I showered. I used deodorant. That couldn’t possibly be me. Could it be the woman over there? She looks at me and smiles…still carrying on, chatting away on her cell phone.
I’m surrounded by small nooks built into the walls with bottles of Davidoff and Nina Ricci thoughtfully displayed. There’s a cocktail table with magazines, and a staircase ascends just a few feet away to a second level. Behind me is a conference room. A number of people are beginning to gather and I imagine them meeting to discuss the name of the next Sarah Jessica Parker fragrance:
“We have to be tougher this time,” demands the husky man in the Banana Republic chinos.
“But SJP is demanding that we give her more autonomy,” offers the tall blonde in the Dress Barn ensemble.
“Screw autonomy,” interrupts the Indian woman, “this is a branding issue!”
Ok, so I didn’t actually hear anything other than a comment from a disturbingly plain looking gentleman about grabbing a cup of coffee. I dismiss the gathering altogether as I shift in my torture-chair and catch a whiff of that odor again. I casually try to cover the movement of my nose towards my pits, hoping no one will notice. If this odor persists, I may have to abscond to the restroom again because in 5 mintues I’ll be meeting with the people from Calvin, Kenneth, Nina, J Lo, and Sarah…I can’t go in there if this stench is coming from me.
The woman on the cell phone exits the lobby and I’m alone again. I lean forward, trying to look relaxed. I rest my left foot across my right leg and look down for a moment. The stench is more pronounced.
Where is that…?
It’s my shoe!!!
I look around to make sure no one is watching me before more closely examining my left boot. There’s something white stuck to my shoe. It looks like, dear Lord…
…a humongous booger!
“No, no, no, the Perfume Critic doesn’t have a giant piece of mucus on his shoe!” I think. And furthermore, even New York snot couldn’t be that foul!
It smells like, well, it smells like…Swiss cheese.
“This IS Manhattan,” I ponder. I had just had lunch with the Karens from Sniffapalooza and had walked through the Village, past a thousand restaurants and it’s totally possible-
“Marlen?” a voice asks.
“Yes?” I look up from my shoe as if I had just gotten caught picking my nose.
“Sara will be with you in a few minutes.”
It’s the receptionist, and I think I dodged that one. I don’t think she saw me inspecting the alien on my shoe. I’ve gotta get this….guck…off me. There’s no way I can talk about the second coming of Puig with swiss cheese-smelling, skanky, booger-looking goop on my shoe.
I reach into my bag, grab one of the handywipes a friend from Athens sent me (Greece, not Georgia) and casually wipe my hands. I look around to make sure no one can see me before reaching towards my toes. Safe! I remove the nastiness and wrap it in the handywipe as if it were a piece of toxic waste, a smushed spider, a…
Suddenly, the conference room empties. I’m seated in an odd position with a wet-nap in hand, leaning over my shoe. What must this look like?
I try to resume a dignified position, hoping that I’ve been discrete. My first introduction to one of the world’s major fragrance companies and I’m spending my lobby-time wiping ripe New York street residue off my shoe.
I look around for a trash bin, deposit the used handywipe, and return to the….uncomfortable…
“Not this time,” I think, “I’m sitting on the cushioned bench this time.”
An attractive brunette walks down the stairs above me and upon reaching the last step, swings round the banister and calls out, “Marlen?”
It’s Sara. We introduce ourselves as Sara explains who we’ll be meeting.
“Do you smell that?” she asks.
“It smells like…like”
Here it comes, “I’m so sorry, I-
Oh no! She can smell it!
“…Euphoria for Men,” blurts out Sara.
“WHAT?” I shout silently. I’m stunned and relieved at the same time. “I, umm, I sprayed on some Euphoria just a few minutes ago,” I
“Thanks,” I say, with gratitude to all that is holy for her not saying “Swiss”.
Moral of the story: When heading to an important meeting in “the city”, always make sure to check your shoes upon exiting the elevator and before stepping into the office. You never know just WHAT will cling to your left foot on the way from the taxi to the front door!Views: 33240