Jo Malone Black Vetyver Cafe

I used to have a lot of complexes. Like, a lot. I made Woody Allen look well-adjusted. Miraculously, over the last year and a half, I have successfully reduced the number of things about which I have a complex to just one: my intellect.

I was always a reasonably bright girl. My grades were never particularly good, thanks to a monster case of undiagnosed ADHD, but I did very well on standardized tests. When I somehow managed to get into the Johns Hopkins University chemical engineering program, I felt confident that I would do well.

And I was so bad, you guys. Study-more-than-anyone-you-kn0w-and-still-fail-every-test levels of bad. I was just the worst chemical engineer. When I begged the director of the Student Disabilities center for help, he suggested that I might be better suited to a community college. It only took a semester before I became convinced that I was the dumbest kid at Hopkins. (Never mind that all but one of my chemical engineering friends either dropped out of the major or dropped out of the school entirely.)

I started making self-deprecating jokes about my ineptitude, figuring that it was so obvious that I needed to beat other people to the punch. I began to empathize with Legally Blonde to an unnatural degree.

Ammonium thiglycolate, bitches!

Things have gotten a little better since I switched to a non-engineering major (and since our Student Disabilities center got a new director), but most days I still walk to class fearing that today will be the day that everyone discovers how stupid I really am and throws pig blood at me.

They’re all gonna laugh at you, Carrie! THEY’RE ALL GONNA LAUGH AT YOU!!!

But not on the days when I wear Black Vetyver Cafe.

Most of my perfumes are soft, warm, sweet. Not Black Vetyver Cafe. BVC is cool-toned and razor-sharp. It smells like a cold cup of black coffee set to a background of woody vetiver. The vetiver note was an inspired choice; it brings out the inherent woodiness of the coffee bean. This is the perfume that I wear when I need to feel smart. It’s the one I reach for on days when there is no room for self-doubt. I spray it on and begin to remember that easy confidence that I once had. Black Vetyver Cafe makes me tough. Makes me brave. It helps me to walk into class with my head held defiantly high, unafraid of pig blood.

5 thoughts on “Jo Malone Black Vetyver Cafe

  1. ARI….THIS PERFUME DID THE EXACT SAME THING FOR ME,YEARS AGO…i WENT THROUGH A HUGH BOTTLE,AND LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!….ahhhh,but thanks to the wonderful Sharon,I am dipping into,a wonderful vintage Fauve from Neiman’s,that my mother wore for years,and beautiful Fragonards,that I had forgotten,AND Safari,one I never fully appreciated,until now….I am SO happy!!!….Thank you,ladies,for the fun….Annie

  2. Aw Ari, that post brought a tear to my eye & made me want to give you a big squeeze 🙂 Well done for persevering, some of the most brilliant people fail miserably in tests, which I think says more about the tests than the people. I believe education should empower people to feel smart, not stupid.
    It’s amazing what a perfume can do to make us feel ok in moments of doubt though & I think every perfume lover has a “brave” fragrance or at least one that cocoons them from the harshness of the world from time to time.

  3. This brings back memories…University was relatively effortless for me, but when I started working for real, as an intern (I think it’s called). I tended to be a bit shy and diffident, and looked like I was still 16. All at once I was supposed to take care of an ER full of sick people, and above all at all times project an image of being bold, desicive, confident, not asking for help and order around people more than twice my age. And all that simply wasn’t ME.
    I really could have used a confidence-boosting perfume at that point!
    Since then I’ve learned it’s stupid to try to emulate someone elses idea of how you should be, it works much better when you’re true to your own personality (Legally Blonde is a great film!). I learned that although I’m somewhat diffident I’m very good at making nurses, patients, colleges WANT to do what I tell them, I don’t need to yell like some male surgeons I know 🙂
    And when you’ve earned you’re confidence again the hard way, it’s very difficult for someone else to take away.

  4. Ari, you do know that intellect and an ability to master one subject or the other are only partially connected, right?

    You are not smarter than everybody. You aren’t the most stupid person – not even in the world, – in your University. And you’ll be happy or unhappy in your life (personally, professionally, whatever) regardless of all that.

    Enjoy your life, enjoy your perfumes and don’t let that complex ruin even a moment of it for you.

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