A New Perfume for the Old

Older people tend to be noticed only when people want to hear a story about them or make some money out of them. We get on with our lives, have a moan every so often, regret our declining powers, try not to be envious of the young, keep in touch with the real world and make what contribution we can to its betterment, and mostly -except when there’s some issue that really gets us going – we keep a low profile.

Michele Hanson writes regularly for The Guardian and does so from the perspective of an older person. Today she is fulminating about a new perfume called ‘Ageless Fantasy’. Apparently it smells of various fruits, cherry blossom, musk and vanilla, ‘and if you douse yourself in it’, says Hanson, ‘men will come sniffing around and think you are at least eight years younger?’ Should you want to buy it, it costs £59.

I am rather upset by this, she writes, not only are we meant to look unsightly: grey- haired, swathed in veins and wrinkles, ankles flopping over our shoes, widows’ humps and no waistlines to speak of, but now apparently we stink as well.

We don’t, she says. Thank you for this latest demolition job, she adds sarcastically. It is one more thing for women over 40 to feel wretched about, as if we didn’t have enough already. Body odour is indiscriminate. No age is immune. Even young people can smell repugnant, although they tend to drown themselves in violent perfumes that zoom up your nose like a dagger. Not the tiniest hint of body smell is allowed. Sometimes on my walks, a perfumed jogger whirls past, she says, blasting us with their smell.

Apparently the label on the bottle claims that this new fragrance ‘defies your skin’s natural age-revealing scent’. M-m-m. Here we are with the world in the middle of a financial crises, and yet people who make money out of the credulous continue to go on marketing strange commodities to meet non-existent needs.

That amazes me. More alarming is the thought that some people will believe what they are told and spend their latter years in a haze of musk and vanilla. At £59 a time.