There’s an ART in USING PERFUME (Aug, 1930)
There’s an ART in USING PERFUME
The Final Touch of Charm —Jane Learns the Secret of Feminine Glamour, Internal and External Cleanliness Exercises for Functional Activity
By Lucy Ellen Cummings
DEAR HELEN: Thrilled is too mild a word to express my amazement when I heard of your engagement to Kenneth.
Of course I will be your maid of honor. My dear, I am terribly flattered at such an invitation. Who is going to be best man?
Can I bring up anything from New York by way of helping things along? It is all so sudden that I am sure you must be in a dreadful flurry.
Just wire me if I can do anything at all to help. I am sorry I must miss all the parties. I suppose you will be showered with them. But depend upon my being there the night of rehearsal.
My dearest love and don’t hesitate to wire me if there’s anything you want that New York has to offer.
I am so glad you’ve finally decided on Kenn— he is a dear and he’s sure to make you awfully happy.
Jane hurriedly sealed the letter, scrawled ‘ air mail” on it to explain the bevy of stamps clustered at one end of the envelope and then paused to tilt on her chair legs and to stare unseeingly out of her window.
“So Helen’s gone now. Well, I always thought she would marry Kenn—even if she did declare she couldn’t do anything but count the freckles on his nose when he got close-up.
“After a few months down here in the city, I’m inclined to favor freckles and to prefer to hear crops rather than cocktails discussed. Heigh-ho—say what you please, we women still like them rough and ready.
“Gee, I’ll be glad to get back to Middlebury. Curious to see all of them. Wonder what they’ll think of me? Who do you suppose will be best man? Kenn’s brother has gone to South America; that leaves—gosh—”
And the chair she was balancing on came to the floor with a crash.
Suppose it would be Jim—Kenn and Jim had always been inseparable pals. What more natural than that Jim should be best man?
The blushes flew into Jane’s cheeks, her heart beat fast and furiously. As if to pacify her thoughts and hopes she began at once to look over her new clothes and plan the packing of them.
There before her on the dressing-table was the booklet she had picked up in a shop the other day.
“Perfume—the final touch of charm,” she read.
And, leaving everything as was, she grabbed her hat and was on her way to the shop where she had collected the booklet.
Though Jane had studiously and seriously visited the many beauty salons of Fifth Avenue in her carefully planned quest of personal loveliness, perfume was the one beauty aid that, up to this time, she had foresworn.
“I will get myself fit first,” she had counseled herself, “then go in for the trimmings.”
Now she was ready, and with Middlebury in view— well, certainly she must go the limit. She couldn’t afford to miss the “final touch.”
Hut she hadn’t the slightest idea what to buy.
Standing before the glittering, fascinating array of perfume bottles, she was intrigued, bewildered, delighted with their shapes and sizes. And their names. Whatever did they mean? Whoever could pronounce them? And just then the saleslady came forward. She smiled inquiringly at Jane.
“I want—I want—some perfume—” stammered Jane. She had to say something.
“Yes, Madam,” replied the girl helpfully. “For yourself? For your mother?”
“Yes, for me,” answered Jane, wondering what difference that could make. Perfumes didn’t come in sizes, as dresses and coats did.
“Do you like Oriental or flower blends, Madam?” queried the girl.
/\\I) then Jane knew she might just as well face the situation. One of the big discoveries she had made since she left Middle-bury and came to New York was that pretense was silly. Folks thought a great deal more of you when you admitted ignorance than when you blundered along in a know-it-all fashion, when you really were a know-nothing.
“I’ve never used perfume in my life and I don’t know one from the other,” Jane confessed frankly and right away felt at ease.
True to that slumbering sense of chivalry which exists in most human hearts, the girl instantly became more interested and responded smilingly, “What fun! ‘ Let’s smell them all and then pick out the ones you like until we get the ones.”
“Now here”—and she drew out of a case a nest of little vials—”here are a group of perfumes which duplicate the scents of various flowers or of a single flower. Here”—and she pointed to some exotic bottles— “are heavier Oriental odeurs.
“As a rule.
blondes prefer the flower odeurs and brunettes like the heavier scents, but do you know”— and now she got quite confidential—”I don’t think hair has anything to do with it. Why select perfume as if it were a hair tonic?”
And the two girls giggled with youthful insouciance. The laugh welded their interests even more closely together.
“How do you think perfume should be picked?” asked Jane.
“For the occasion,” replied her counsellor. “Aren’t there times when you want to feel fresh and gay and you’re going to be out-of-doors; aren’t there times when you’re going to a party and you’re dolled up in your Sunday-go-to-meeting-best and you want to stun somebody; aren’t there times when you want to be languid and lovable: and times when you’re tailored and trim; and times when you want to slip right into somebody’s heart and have them love the very memory of you?”
“Yes,” said Jane, softly, solemnly, and she wasn’t thinking of perfume. She was thinking of Middlebury and “Somebody” there.
“Then that’s the way every woman should select her perfume wardrobe. Don’t you think I am right?” and the salesgirl eagerly sought Jane’s approval of her ideas.
“You certainly are, but I’d never have thought of it,” replied Jane. “Now help me get my perfume wardrobe, only I’m afraid I won’t be able to afford a great many of them.”
“You don’t have to buy the big bottles; that would be dreadfully expensive. Why, that dark one with the stopper like a plume is $150.00.”
JANE gazed at the bottle wide-eyed, and echoed, “$1.50.00.”
“Yes,” but it comes in a dear little half-ounce bottle, and if I were you,” suggested her mentor, “I would buy the small bottles until I found something I just adored; but even then you will want a change. Now, let’s see— first, we will choose a daytime perfume for you, something that’s fresh and sweet and crisp and out-doorsy. How’s that—now smell this one; now wait a moment, how’s this?” and slowly through the air she drew the stoppers past Jane’s nose with a slow, graceful waving movement of her arm. And Jane smelled thoughtfully, critically, as the stoppers passed her nose, Violets tender and elusive, lilacs restful and sweet, jasmine poignant and amorous, rose heavy, sensuous, dewdrenched, gardenia, sweet peas, all paraded past Jane’s inquisitive nose in an enticing, intoxicating parade of fragrance.
“There, I love this one. Let me smell it again,” exclaimed Jane, though she really couldn’t tell why she liked it. It was just hers.
“That is a lovely odeur,” the salesgirl agreed. “We will put that aside. Now let’s select an evening perfume; that can be richer, a bit heavier, more deliberately seductive.”
And once again the parade of scents passed before Jane’s critical little nose. But this time it was different. They smoldered, they flashed deep scent-tones like dull vari-colored jewels under candlelight, and once again Jane interrupted with a delighted “Ah-h-h.”
“That’s settled,” said the salesgirl, pleased at the interest and enthusiasm of her pupil.
“And now,” she said, “I am going to ask you to select one more. These two perfumes which you have chosen are lovely. They are fine, exclusive. You won’t meet them often. And that’s as it should be. Better buy a little of a good perfume than a lot of an ordinary one. These two perfumes you have chosen for yourself. Now I want you to choose one for an entirely different reason.”
“What reason?” questioned Jane, sensing the importance of this strange request.
“I am going to ask you to choose one perfume for the effect it will have on those about you. Not that it isn’t important to feel perfumed. Perfume—the knowledge of her fragrance—does amazing things to a woman. It makes her more aware of herself, more conscious of the value of her charm, and this very consciousness brings a smile to her lips, a kindly attitude toward life, a feeling of gracious friendliness to those about her. This, of course, results in making her happy and more loved. But that isn’t all that perfume does. Perfume weaves a spell on those about you! That is one point few people consider when they select their perfume. Too many buy it because they read about it, or because they like the name or the bottle or because some important somebody uses it. But now that you are going to become a perfumist. I want you to realize its power to affect others as well as yourself and select a perfume just because it is glamourous—glamour is the prime charm men require of women.”
“Is it really?” Jane was fascinated.
“Believe me, it is,” solemnly replied her counselor. “For years we’ve been going about in this frank, post-war, careless flapper fashion, being just-myself-and-if-he-don’t-like-me-he-don’t-have-to. You know many’s the woman that’s waking up to the foolishness of this attitude. Being independent isn’t so wonderful, we’ve discovered. The big thing in every woman’s life, rich or poor, queen or peasant, is to get her man. And if it’s illusion and femininity and glamour they want, it’s up to each one of us to adopt that kind of a spotlight.”
YOU’RE right,” agreed Jane. “Terribly right! Give me some perfume that’s elusive and glamourous and memorable.”
And one more crystal vial was added to her group of selections. Really the bill wasn’t so high—considering.
“And now.” said the perfume stylist. “I want you to do as all the really smart, really fastidious, really appealing women do.”
“What is that?” queried Jane.
“Use all your toiletry accessories of one scent!”
“That’s wise!” agreed Jane.
“When you buy toilet water, sachet, powder, select them all of one odeur and let it trail its fragrance through every gesture of your toilette. Will you promise to do that?” insisted her adviser.
“Yes, I certainly will, and I do indeed appreciate all the time and trouble you have taken to get me outfitted properly in perfume,” said Jane.
“Oh, I have enjoyed it,” replied the girl as she made out her sales check and sent the bottles to be wrapped. “All the girls really study perfumes and cosmetics and we love to sell just what is right to customers, though not all of them are so agreeable to our suggestions as you are.”
“Oh, I don’t know what I would have done without you,” Jane responded gratefully. “There’s only one thing puzzling me now—how to use it.”
I HE saleslady laughed at her perplexity and Jane smiled, too.
“That is a problem,” she agreed, “but not too difficult a one to solve. I will tell you how before your change arrives. Use cotton!”
“Cotton?” questioned Jane, scarcely able to believe her ears.
“Yes, cotton,” repeated the salesgirl. “The big mistake American women make is to douse perfume on their handkerchief or the front of their dress the last minute before they leave and consider themselves perfumed. You know the result! A strong, overpowering scent for a short time then—nothing.
“Too much perfume is bad taste—we all know that. Perfume should envelop a woman, it should emanate from her as from a flower, delicately, persistently, and such an effect can’t be gained by careless last-minute deluge.”
“How then?” questioned Jane, all curiosity, interest and attention.
“With cotton. Make little balls of it and saturate them with your perfume. Put these little balls in your purse, under the lining of your hat, in the mouth of your fur piece, beneath the sleeve of your coat.
“And always use sachet. That is where the Frenchwoman is so much more clever. She knows the value of sachet. She has it hung in little bags in her closet. It dangles among her dresses from their hangers. She puts her handkerchiefs and lingerie away in chests and drawers which contain a cushion filled with rose leaves and camomile flowers and sachet.
“She uses toilet water. She rubs it on her skin after bathing, especially in the curves of her elbows and on her neck. She drenches her hair with it when it is almost dry from a shampoo.
“Then just before going out she uses her atomizer. An atomizer is essential to the clever use of perfume. You spray it behind your ear, into your hair, into the folds of your dress, on your fur. That is the way to create an aura of fragrance that is never overpowering but always present.”
“Will you add an atomizer to that package?” replied Jane. “I’m going to do this thing right. I can’t afford a fancy one because I’m on my way to the ticket office to buy a ticket to my hometown.”
“Bon voyage,” laughed the salesgirl, “and come again.”
“Oh, I’ll be glad to come again. I’d like to see you again. I owe you so much,” said Jane.
But as she now searched the girl’s face ‘ she became more than ever conscious of a feeling that had been growing on her during their talk, namely, that this generally delightful little saleswoman was vaguely lacking in something or other that would complete her personality and give her that very glamour of femininity of which the two of them had been talking.
The girl’s face was pale, and the fact was evident in spite of her make-up. A healthy face would not need, and would not stand for so much make-up. Her lips were too red. If “getting her man” was really the big thing in a girl’s life, this poor creature was seriously handicapped through some quite evident lack of vitality and magnetism. The girl would need health, energy, better color and that suggestion of vitality that is always so attractive. The art of perfumery alone was clearly not enough.
The girl was smiling back at Jane, but now the smile seemed pathetic. Suddenly there flashed into Jane’s mind a recollection of herself—the mental picture of her own self in the mirror some months before, and on the instant Jane seemed to know what was wrong with the girl. Gently, delicately, and with the idea of repaying a good turn, Jane questioned her. Her conclusion was quickly verified. The girl was indeed suffering from the most common—or most popular—of civilized ailments, now known to be the parent of a host of other evils.
FOR years this young woman had been the victim of intestinal stasis. Yes, she suffered a lot from headaches, sometimes from indigestion, always with bad skin, which she tried to cover up artificially. Jane explained the evils of this functional stagnation, and the resulting autointoxication.
“You overcome that,” said Jane eagerly, “and build up your health, and you’ll be perfectly gorgeous. You have a beautiful foundation of lovely bones, and you must fill them out with firm, healthy flesh. You’ve got to be clean internally, as well as externally. I’ve found that that’s the real secret of beauty. Put, that first, and then your perfume will supply the final touch of charm.” Jane realized, as she said it, that she was quoting from the book.
“Well, but how?” questioned the girl.
“I’ll tell you. Give me your name and I’ll send you a list of special exercises given me for the very same purpose last winter. I’ve used them ever since, along with others. But also watch your food. I’ll bet that you eat white bread, and crackers, and pastries—”
“Yes, I do. I love them.”
“I knew it. Now I’ll tell you. You stop eating white bread and eat wholewheat bread altogether. You’ll like it better when you get used to it. Just that alone will probably fix you up. It often does. But eat plenty of fruit and green salads and vegetables. Use milk instead of coffee or tea. And drink water whenever you can. Drink one or two glasses when you get out of bed. But don’t forget the exercises.”
“I promise you,” replied the girl gratefully, “and thank you so much.”
The first thing that Jane did on reaching her room was to make a copy of the list of exercises for functional activity, virtually guaranteed to correct any ordinary case of constipation provided a reasonable diet were observed at the same time. Here is the list of exercises she mailed to her new friend at the perfumery shop: The Angry Cat—Position on hands and knees. Raise the back until it forms an arch like an angry cat. Lower it until it scoops in. Repeat ten times.
The Laughing Dog—Position on hands and knees. Twist the hips to right and left as a dog does when it wags its tail. Right to left. Repeat at least twenty times.
The Tadpole—Lie with abdomen on cushion placed on chair. J Mace closed fists under stomach. Raise head and legs so body is horizontal. Move legs backward and forward like a swimming frog. Continue at least three minutes.
The Kicking Voit—Stand with arms stretched out sideways at the height of the shoulders. Kick the left hand with the right foot. Position again. Kick right hand with left foot. Repeat three times.
The Hungry Buzzard—Stand straight, legs far apart, arms horizontal with shoulders. Wheel the trunk of the body around to the right as far as possible. At the final point the arms should form a straight line across the shoulders from finger-tip to finger-tip.
The Swooping Bat—Stand with legs far apart. Swoop the left hand way down until it touches toe of right foot. Position. Do same with right hand to left foot. In the swing the backward arm will fly into the air like the wings of a bat reeling in circles.
The Scissors—Lie on mat or floor, with head on right arm and one finger of left hand bracing body so that legs can be raised from hips so that they clear floor. Swing legs backward and forward for one minute. Turn over so that left arm raises head and body is balanced with one finger of right hand. Swing legs backward and forward for one minute. Increase to two minutes.
The Jack-knife—Lie on your back in bed. Raise the right knee until it touches the chest, grasp it with interlocked hands and press it into body. Stretch the leg into position again. Repeat exercise with other leg. Continue ten times. This exercise should be done slowly.
The “L” Exercise—Lie on bed or floor. Cross right leg over left leg until body forms an L. Swing back into position. Repeat with other leg. Continue five times.
The Bicycle—Lie on your back on floor or mat. Put feet up into air so that they form right angles with the body. Pedal, toes first, just as if you were running a bicycle.
The Pummeling—Stand up straight, double fists, pound buttocks for several minutes.
But right in the midst of her preparation to return home, Jane meets some one who gives her valuable pointers on the psychology of charm—and what a fascinating adventure that proves to be. It will be recounted in the next issue which every girl interested in the art of attracting men should read. This article will include, also, some adventures in relaxation, with exquisite photographs of relaxation exercises.