I was leafing through an US Weekly magazine, in between chapters of “Satanic Verses” and some light Dostoyevsky reading, when I stumbled upon a snippet that gave me pause. Captioned beside a photo of pop singer Fergie and husband Josh Duhamel was the confession that Josh uses her La Mer facial creme on the sly.
All the asymmetry in the universe suddenly aligned, and I understood why she resembles a Fraggle while he looks nary a day older than a high school quarterback. He’s raiding her bathroom cabinet of luxury cosmetics. I gasped at the horror!
I restored my respiration to a normal rate with reassurances that I had married a man who would prefer to smear buffalo wing grease on his face rather than my lotions and potions.
One evening after I had put the kids to sleep and started fighting back against the daily siege of laundry, I carried a clean load of clothes into our room to fold. As I opened the door, I inhaled a scent so arresting that I immediately dropped the laundry basket to the floor.
Filling our bedroom and wafting into my nostrils was the aroma of my most prized and previously most protected fragrance, Bulgari — Something In a Romance Language That I Can Neither Spell Nor Say And That’s How You Know It’s Good.
Before I describe the scene that unfolded before me, I must tell you of how I came to own this perfume.
Greg and I had taken a trip to Puerto Rico with our newborn child as a way to celebrate our burgeoning family. We hadn’t planned to take a vacation since Greg is no modern man who believes in things like push presents. He was perfectly content to swipe an extra bowl of banana pudding from the hospital cart as my postbirth treat.
When our son made his entrance into the world head first, and I mean with the largest cranium you’ve ever seen on an infant or a rhinoceros, even my OB expressed regret that he had not performed a C-section.
At that moment, Greg realized he might want to up the ante on the pudding.
He booked us on a summer flight to Puerto Rico, complete with hotel stay at the Ritz Carlton. The luxe underworld opens right up to you if you’re willing to explore it with a 98 percent chance of death by hurricane or heat exhaustion.
I never had been to a Ritz before so visions of celebrities and turn-down service danced in my head. The biggest surprise was not $45 hamburgers or that the Ritz is located directly across the street from a cockfighting ring, but that its complimentary toiletries were Bulgari, an Italian luxury goods brand so upscale that its name is written in Ancient Roman script.
The second I spied those wondrous vials on the granite counter, I lost all control. Like a junkie who had discovered her favorite drug out in the open, just sitting there for the taking, I did one of those arm-swipes-across-the-counter movements, dumping containers into my purse.
I turned frantically and screamed, “We must find more!” With that declaration we began our Bulgari heist. Every time we passed a housekeeping cart, Greg would wave our cute baby in front of the housekeeper while I would heap more loot into my purse.
“You didn’t see anything,” I would whisper to the maid while backing slowly down the hall. “No estamos aqui.”
By the end of our stay, I had outfitted a bunch of cockfighters in Greg’s resort wear so I could make room for all the Bulgari contraband. The airport proved another hardship as I taxed the airport security to allow me through the security check with all of my bottles of liquid. I will check the baby with the luggage, but these Bulgari puppies are going in the Bjorn, I solemnly vowed. They let me pass when I swore that they were filled with breast milk.
Now stateside and kept behind a retinal security screen only I can authorize, I use them on special occasions. I like to open them partially and inhale their intoxicating aroma before quickly capping the bottles and placing them back in the cabinet.
I treat them like The Indian in the Cupboard. No one but me can know of their presence, their magic.
So you can imagine my surprise when I encountered the scent circulating through my bedroom like a very expensive call girl had just been there. As I searched the closet and under the bed for her, I noticed Greg was rubbing his hands together in a methodical motion while watching ESPN. I made a noise that only Nell or other feral humans found deep within the Smoky Mountains can issue. He looked up with alarm and said innocently, “What’s wrong?”
“What’s wrong? You’re using the lotion. My lotion. Do you know what is in that lotion? No? Well, I don’t either because it’s a trade secret, but it’s a combination of all the most expensive things in the world, like whale blubber, Suri Cruise brain matter, chinchilla fur, gold bullion cubes, America’s National Debt, and the blood of Elizabeth Taylor! It’s not to be used on your hands. It’s not like I can go out and buy more of this stuff. I had to overturn a cleaning cart on a housekeeper to procure these. She might have died, for all I know!”
He looked at me with complete disinterest and said, “I rubbed it on my feet, too.”
Time of Death: 10:06 p.m.
Instructions to the Coroner: Please embalm me in Bulgari Scent That Shall Remain Unnamed Because I Cannot Say It.
Erin Donovan moved with her family to the midcoast where she constantly is told she says the word “scallops” incorrectly. She performs live and produces Web sketches derived from her popular humor blog I’m Gonna Kill Him. Follow her misadventures at imgonnakillhim.bangordailynews.com and on Twitter @gonnakillhim.