Filibuster Fragrances

Wendy Davis during her Texas Senate filibuster

For those of you who are unfamiliar with wacky U.S. politics, a filibuster is “a type of parliamentary procedure where debate is extended, allowing one or more members to delay or entirely prevent a vote on a given proposal.” During a filibuster, one cannot eat, drink, sit, lean, use the bathroom, or stray off-topic. Yesterday, Texas State Senator Wendy Davis completed a thirteen-hour filibuster of SB5 (Senate Bill 5), a bill that would shut down 37 of Texas’ 42 abortion clinics, drastically restricting Texas women’s access to to a safe, legal medical procedure.


The outcome of Senator Davis’ filibuster is still unknown, as SB5 was passed with an illegal vote several minutes after midnight (the entire point of the filibuster was to delay the vote until midnight, after which the bill would expire). The heroism of her efforts, however, is far more certain.

As I was watching the Texas state senate on the Texas Tribute live stream last night (wearing Jour d’Hermes, with its prominent lemon note, to help me stay awake), I thought about what kind of perfume I would choose to make such an important stand. It would have to be something that would keep me alert, something that would give me strength and support, maybe something with “pour Femme” in the name to remind me why I was doing this in the first place. Our own Alyssa Harad, author of Coming to my Senses, wore Frederic Malle Carnal Flower as she stood sat in the balcony of the Texas senate for the entire length of the filibuster for approximately twelve hours.

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What perfumes would you wear to filibuster a bill (not necessarily one with the same content as SB5)?

30 thoughts on “Filibuster Fragrances

  1. I know it’s not your bag, but Bandit. I’d wear it with the reddest lipstick and highest stilettos. And they can’t stray off-topic? I’m curious about this one b/c I know people have resorted to reading Shakespeare and the phonebook to stall for time.

    1. If anyone DID filibuster in stilettos, it would be you! There was a whole lot about the proceedings last night that confused me- I had never even heard the word “germane” before, and now it feels seared onto my brain.

  2. Actually she was wearing tennies! stilettos – Texas politics is enough of a torture! I think Amouage Woman Fate would be quite appropriate!

  3. I would wear a kick-butt chypre like Paloma Picasso or Knowing. Chypres make me feel like a teacher is poking me in the back with a ruler to make me stand up straight.

    1. I can’t remember if my piano teacher ever poked me in the back (repressed memories??), but my mother claims that she is responsible for my good posture!

  4. Great post, Ari!!
    I would wear any of my favorites; at the moment: Hermes Paprika Brasil and Lesnez Turtle Vetiver.

    1. Thank you, svrco! I have not tried either of those two fragrances- I always get a little overwhelmed by the Hermessences and never smell everything that I meant to.

  5. Dear Ari
    I would chose Azuree.
    The ultimate power chypre, but with a sunnier disposition when off duty than many other leather stablemates.
    It has the added bonus of being of a house established and inspirationally led by a woman.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    1. All excellent reasons to wear an excellent fragrance. I wonder what Estee would have thought of yesterday’s proceedings! Would she have dropped a bottle of Youth Dew on the senate floor to prove her point?

      1. Dearest Ari
        Knowing the Lady’s sense of theatre and a shrewd eye for the headlines, she may well have had a petrol tanker flood the place with that most potent of all her perfumes.
        Alternatively she might have scent that devotee of Youth Dew Mae West in bathed in the stuff… that would have sent the Senators running alright!
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

  6. Hmm… Something leathery or chypre would be good. I haven’t tried Bandit yet so I can’t say on that one, but vintage Cabochard would work, I think. Rochas Femme, Bulgari Black or Rossy de Palma would be good for don’t-take-no-BS situations.

    1. I haven’t tried Rossy de Palma, but I know Elisa over at The French Exit loves it. I would absolutely wear Bulgari Black to filibuster, or maybe the closely-related-but-even-fiercer Le Labo Patchouli 24.

  7. Ari, I thought about this for awhile after reading your post. My answer: Angel. It would keep me awake and it would last and last and last. It might offend others. Oh, perish the thought.

  8. I would definitely have4 worn TROUBLE, and then caused it. Or maybe Fracas for the same reason. Maybe Byzance in honour of their Byzantine approach to healthy choice. Or Burberry Body because if it’s my body I should have the choice what happens to it, and my life so I should have choice how to live it.
    Society makes it hard, these politicians are mainly men right?

  9. I am not sure. Something that would make me proud to be a woman.
    Possibly Puredistance I or something that would make me feel relaxed during such a long session (a tuberose perfume quite possibly).

  10. I loved many of the choices Fate, Knowing, Womanity and Trouble – for the name and Angel for the reasons suggested.

    If I needed a perfume to support me in a similar situation (and I didn’t plan on devulging its name later – because if I did the names above would have been a better choice for the cause), I’d go with Chanel No 19 extrait.

  11. I would have chosen Bandit or perhaps Mitsouko as my Filibuster Fragrance- and like Wendy sensible shoes. I’ve seen the results of botched illegal abortions- I wish I could have been there to cheer her on!

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