When a guy — let’s say me, for the sake of argument — is lacking a romantic partner, every bit of attention I get from any woman, even a complete stranger, takes on heightened significance and pleasure. Because I don’t have a wife, girlfriend or lover, a simple smile from any woman passing me on the street is very likely to be the only, and certainly the most intimate, female contact I can expect all day. You might think that’s sad. You might feel sorry for me. And, yet, I accept it. I more than accept it — I appreciate it, am grateful for it — OK, I even treasure it. Yes, that’s right — I often treasure the smile of a woman I don’t even know. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, she’ll both smile and say “Hi,” “Hello” or “Good morning.” So I get to experience both her smile and her voice — double bonus. Triple bonus if you factor in the visual pleasures of seeing her. And a big quadruple bonus if all the above is combined with what is perhaps my favorite of the four elements — her fragrance as she passes by. That’s right, the scent of a woman.
OK, I know what you’re thinking: “This guy’s creepy. Some unsuspecting, innocent woman passing him on the street smiles, says good morning and had the audacity to apply perfume — and suddenly he thinks he’s in a relationship.”
First, in my defense, I’m not quite that delusional. I realize I mean nothing to these women beyond being a friendly smiling face. And yet … sometimes, as that powerful quadruple bonus kicks in — the visual, the smile, the greeting and the fragrance — I’ll close my eyes, inhale that fragrance deeply as we pass one another on the sidewalk, and allow myself one quick and innocent indulgence — the momentary fantasy of what it might be like to be in a romantic relationship with this particular woman. And I would guess a lot of guys do this. Hey, come on, can you blame us? In ancient Egypt, women used perfumed creams and oils as a prelude to lovemaking. Am I expected to wipe that thought from my mind as a woman’s lingering fragrance envelops me as she walks by? Of course not. In fact, if you were to order a transcript from my brain describing a few of these “encounters,” you might find something of this nature….
Sally Citrus — A refreshing fragrance for an energetic, sporty woman. We bond over tennis, hiking and biking. Over the years, we travel to exotic, little-known locations and thrill to new experiences. Eventually, we tire of one another and each drift into a series of meaningless affairs before bidding one another a deeply saddened farewell forever.
Leslie Lavender — A warm and caring scent of a woman who finds genuine fulfillment in giving to others. Together, we offer our free time to a multitude of charitable organizations, and then come home and offer ourselves freely to one another. Our relationship is founded on such honesty that even after she decides to return to her first husband, I share with her my progress on the anti-depression medication I take daily.
Olivia Oriental — A blend of excitement and mystery. Musks and precious woods are complemented by exotic essences. Our lives are luxurious, dramatic, sexy, sensual. We live fast, eat well and drive expensive sports cars. Unfortunately, one of these sports cars crashes suddenly while taking a mountain curve in Monaco, killing us instantly.
Have you picked up on the pattern? Each one of my romantic fantasies starts out with great promise and excitement, and ends disappointingly, if not tragically — just like my actual romantic relationships! What gives? Aren’t fantasies supposed to be all good? Well, I can’t worry about that right now. I’ll let my shrink sort it out. And I especially don’t want the women I encounter to worry about it. To them I’d just like to say it’s not you; it’s me. I’d also like to thank them. For their appearance, smile, greeting and fragrance. And Sally, Leslie, Olivia — to the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world. Even if it is just for 30 seconds — and even if you don’t even know his name.