March 24, 2014

Blast from the Past: Sunflowers Perfume, or Why Scarlett O'Hara was a Terrible Role Model

I was clipping coupons from the CVS circular in the Sunday paper when I stumbled upon an advertisement for Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers perfume. Do you remember it? The cheery yellow and white logo, the sweetly pleasant scent.

I didn't even know it still existed. 

My first memories of perfume involve my mom's Liz Claiborne fragrance in the 1980s. The bottle was a yellow plastic triangle with a little section of the liquid showing through a clear window in the center. There was also a red version and a blue one. Very eighties. 

My first bottle of perfume was a tiny vial of Elizabeth Arden Red Door, a Christmas gift when I was about 10. I felt so fancy and I tried to ration it out so it would last a long time. Then Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers hit the market and I became a fan overnight (along with nearly every other girl my age who lived in my small hometown).

Once, during high school, my bff and I were driving around town in her car, smoking Marlboro Lights and pretending to be much cooler than we actually were. All of a sudden I realized I was supposed to meet up with my family soon and I DID NOT want them to know I had been smoking. My friend happened to have a bottle of Sunflowers perfume in her console so we sprayed it all over ourselves in an attempt to mask the lingering smoke smell.  

Then I started to worry that someone might smell cigarettes on my breath. In a moment of sheer genius, I remembered the scene from Gone with the Wind when Scarlett, in mourning over Frank Kennedy, has been imbibing Brandy a bit too much and Rhett shows up at her house unannounced. If you've seen the film, you know where this is going. She gargles cologne to mask the brandy smell. 

If it worked to mask alcohol, I thought, why couldn't the same thing work to cover cigarette smoke? Before any sort of common sense I might have had kicked in, I opened my mouth and pumped a couple of squirts of Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers into it. 

Sweet lord Jesus it was the nastiest tasting thing ever. As good as Sunflowers smells, it tastes equally as bad...maybe worse. Not one of my finest moments. 

But seeing that ad in the paper yesterday reminded me of that memory and gave me a chuckle. I was never much of a smoker, but I guess we all do things as teenagers trying to be cool or appear grown up. 

Did you have a signature fragrance during your coming of age years?