Here’s Something I Like (Not that Anyone Asked): Commodity Eau De Parfum In Gold

Hi, I’m Mary, and this is my column no one asked for about things I like!

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Me smelling good JK I’ve been drenched in sweat and reeked of BO for 2 months straight

Like most New Yorkers, I have places scattered around the city that I like to pop into when I have time to kill. Unlike many New Yorkers, most of mine are corporate chains because it’s easier to browse without anyone noticing you aren’t buying anything. While I realize I should spend more time wandering around, say, independent bookstores, I don’t trust myself to leave without spending $50 on books I could have bought for $10 on Amazon (used! Amazon is an evil corporate giant but at least I’m trying! Kind of). I often think about ducking into a coffee shop to read when I have free time, but I’m writing this from a cafe where I managed to spend $8.50 on a 12 oz. bottle of (unflavored) seltzer and a tiny bag of Hippeas, which I love but have a stockpile of at home. What I’m saying is that I can barely afford to be in public. LOL!

The first place I usually go when I have time to kill is Whole Foods. It’s a pleasant place to spend time, especially when it’s hot out because it’s basically a giant walk-in refrigerator. There’s almost always something small I need to buy there, whether it’s soap or probiotics or flaxseed meal (pro grocery shopper tip: fancy stuff, like almond butter, is usually cheapest at Whole Foods). My favorite thing to buy there is corn nuts, a.k.a. quicos, but that’s another story for another time.

If I can’t think of anything I need at Whole Foods — which is happening more frequently since a Whole Foods 365 opened down the street from my apartment and rocked my world — I go to Sephora, that glittering warehouse of performed femininity. I know Sephora, more than perhaps any other company, feeds female insecurity for the sake of capitalism, but I fucking love it.

I first discovered Sephora when I was in high school, during one of my bi-annual trips to the Crossgates Mall in beautiful (JK) Albany, NY. I had just started wearing makeup, which I purchased at my local Rite Aid and applied to my face with the precision of an abstract impressionist with a tremor. The first time I walked into Sephora, I was both overwhelmed and mesmerized. It felt like the store was a giant compact of shimmery eyeshadow which was, at the time, something I loved to smear all over my face. I wanted everything and bought nothing because I couldn’t afford it and wouldn’t have known what to do with it anyway.

In college I began shopping at Sephora — a little eyeliner here, an overpriced nail polish there — and after graduation I started buying all my cosmetics there, which may sound extravagant but wasn’t since I wore almost no makeup. When, a few years after college, I (finally!) moved to New York, my office was located in a mall, which included both a Sephora and a Whole Foods. On the (rare) occasion I had both the time and motivation to leave my desk, I’d go to one of these stores and wander around. On my most depressed days, I’d go to Sephora.

Despite the fact that it’s always crowded and by definition chaotic, stepping into a Sephora brings me great comfort. I think part of it is the promise that all these thousands of products can not only make me look, but feel better. I’m smart enough to know this is a mostly empty promise but vain enough to hold out just a little bit of hope that a new eye cream will change everything. The other reason Sephora brings me peace is that it’s a place where you’re not only allowed, but encouraged to loiter. Going to Sephora isn’t about shopping — it’s about the experience…which will hopefully end in shopping. It’s a place where women are supposed to wander aimlessly so they can discover special little treasures that are absolutely guaranteed to improve the appearance of their skin for the bargain price of $69.99. I like Sephora because when a saleswoman asks if I’m looking for anything in particular and I say no, she nods knowingly and walks away without any further questions. I go there when I have time to kill because it’s a place full of women absolutely slaughtering entire afternoons. Sephora is a great place to waste time because any time spent at Sephora is time wasted.

A few months ago, I had a lot of time to kill. I don’t remember exactly why, but I kept finding myself in Manhattan with an hour or so to spare, so I made lots of visits to Sephora. On one such afternoon, I wandered into the fragrance section. I’ve been wearing the same scent for probably close to a decade: Burberry Brit. When I had a steady job, I put on a little dab every morning, but since I started freelancing (walking dogs), I realized smelling good is a luxury I can’t afford, at least not every day, so I now use my perfume sparingly.

The day I wandered back to the fragrance section was a day I’d decided to save a few pennies and go scentless, so I decided to apply a sample spritz of something fancy. I was immediately drawn to a little section of sleek-looking perfumes by a brand called Commodity. They were all unisex (tres chic!) and I gave several a sniff. I really liked the smell of one, so I sprayed it on my wrists. For the rest of the day, my nose was glued to my wrists, huffing in the sweet (but not too sweet!) scent of my new obsession.

I went back to Sephora shortly thereafter to apply my new favorite scent, but I couldn’t remember which Commodity fragrance I’d put on before. I sprayed a few on scent sticks, but I still couldn’t figure it out. Finally, I decided it must have been Vetiver, so I sprayed it on.

It was not Vetiver. A few days later, after a doomed mammogram appointment (they told me I was too young and that my titties were too dense for them to perform the procedure. It was flattering but mortifying), I slunk into the very same Sephora I used to hide in on breaks from my office job and once again tried to find the scent I’d fallen in love with. This time, I decided it was Bergamot.

It was not Bergamot. Then I thought maybe it was Wool and sprayed that all over me too.

It was not Wool. It took a few more trips for me to finally decide the fragrance which had so enthralled me was Gold. I was thrown off because one of the keynotes listed was vanilla, which is normally so overpowering. The hint of vanilla in this particular eau de parfum, however, is subtle. The scent is warm and comforting and completely intoxicating and, not to brag, totally works with my body chemistry.

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I can’t afford it, of course. As far as perfume goes, it’s not absurdly expensive (at $105, it’s certainly not cheap either), but I can barely afford the seltzer I’m drinking right now, so my beloved Commodity fragrance remains a fantasy, a memory of a scent I’ve had the pleasure of inhaling a few times, and which I’ll have the pleasure of smelling once again, the next time I find myself in Manhattan with time to kill.

Actually, there’s a Sephora across the street from my therapist’s office, so once a week, I have the opportunity to smell like the woman I aspire to be. I’m relatively new to therapy, however, and spending an hour in the middle of the day talking about myself still feels a little self-indulgent, so the idea of going across the street to treat myself afterward seems downright extravagant. One of these days I might though. As a cosmetics company (not sold at Sephora!) once said, I should do it “because I’m worth it.”

As always, I’d like to clarify that this is NOT a sponsored post. I received nothing for it and am pretty sure no one cares that I fucking love Sephora. Still, if anyone is reading and ever wants to give me literally anything for free, Commodity Eau de Parfum in Gold or not, I WILL TAKE IT!!!!!!

Anyway, I hope this was helpful. I’ll be back with more unsolicited recommendations soon!

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