Perched on the top of the highest local mountain, overlooking the city lights was an elegant home with panoramic views, modern architecture, and multilevel living rooms.  It was wrapped by a deck, nestled amongst the tree tops, growing up from the steep incline, below.

The party was underway when the host asked me to welcome guests as they arrived.  Lingering near the heavy double entry doors, attentive to my post, I watched the growing diverse crowd that had migrated to the level below, open to view.  Beautiful women of all ages mingled with each other and the men. Intelligent and lively conversations blurred together as the guests engrossed themselves in socializing.

When the doorbell rang, I opened one door. With the in-rushing air came a gust of exquisite Bulgarian rose perfume!  Taken by surprise by the overwhelming beauty, I fought to regain my senses to see a man standing there.  Through rose colored vision, I realized it was a mutual friend.

I bid him a heady hello as he passed into the home, radiant and smiling.  “You smell divine!”, I said.

“Oh thanks, Suzii!”, he said, unabashed and distracted as he surveyed the crowd from the landing.

“You surprise me…  I, I think it’s awesome that you are wearing rose.”

“Oh yeah, that’s right!  I was in prayer and meditation before I came.”

“Mmm”, I said, “Well it’s really beautiful”.

With that, he headed for the crowd, leaving a trail of the fragrance in the air.

Still mesmerized, I studied him from above as he threaded his way through the crowd.  Much to my curious amazement, as he passed by, every female broke focus from their conversation, their heads craning and twisting in the general direction of the scent.  Conversations momentarily halted as women of all ages reacted and then with a bit of effort regained their conversations, once they had targeted “the fragrant gentleman”.

Though he appeared oblivious of the trail of turned heads (and the clear effect he was having on the women), I stood wondering if this intelligent guy had concocted a master-strategy for male success or if he was as clueless as he seemed.

A few months later, when I saw him again, I asked him if he was aware of the effect that rose oil had on feminine hormones.  He acted convincingly surprised and told me no.  I asked him if he happened to know how the custom of gifting women with roses came about.  Did he know that roses did more than decorate their homes?

He laughed and told me he did not know but would definitely be giving that some thought.

I was almost convinced that his grand public appearance in rose perfume was simply accidental and due to the fact that he was an independent thinker or that he had plenty of confidence in his masculinity.  But I still closely watched for signs of clever intent.

Then, many years later I once again found him in a perfume that was something that either gender could wear but leaned feminine.  The jury was in.  My friend simply had a heady taste for all things beautiful.  He had no issues about wearing what he loved.

The day came somewhat recently where I couldn’t resist probing a little more. He kindly shared with me several insights about his fragrant world:

He uses perfume in ways that underscore his own inner beauty:  He consciously orchestrates his personal enjoyment and the effect on his well-being from a perfume.  Before purchasing, he rates the pleasure he gets, assigns a value, and then calculates the number of hours the scent lasts and how many applications he expects to enjoy per bottle.  With that equation he decides what he is willing to pay for a bottle of fragrance.  He wears natural perfumes indoors and synthetic perfumes outdoors, with the full intent of courtesy and discretion.

I was astonished at his consciousness in living.  As it turns out, he is quite strategic, but his motives were far different than I had imagined.

From that experience at the door, long ago, I have often reflected on the layers of meaning in the scene I saw.  I cannot help but wonder why more of us do not wear perfume for what we know the other person will love.  Or wear what we love as a gift to ourselves.  Period.  Concepts worth reflecting on, at the least.

Today, I wear “masculine” perfumes on occasion, partly because I like the feeling when I need it.  But also because of the night my mind opened, and my options expanded, thanks to the gentleman in the rose perfume.