E: I know how much you enjoy our chats about fragrance, M.
M: Oh no. Miss M, she no here. She go away. Long time.
E:, M, I know you’re there, hiding behind your hair. Come out.
M: LOOK! OVER THERE! A FLYING GUINEA PIG!
E: Nope, that’s still just your hair. Now sit down and let’s get this over with. I have been testing a sample of a new fragrance, by a “niche” perfumer called Parfumerie Générale.
M: That doesn’t sound very niche to me. It’s not, like, a range of two perfumes for goats.
E: I think by “niche” here, they are using the perfume code word for “very expensive”.
M: Ah. I like the vaguely utilitarian name, though. Carry on.
E: The consolation is Mr Parfumerie Générale himself, Pierre Guillaume.
M: Awww, he looks about 12! Did you lick him? His face, I mean. Like that sort of edible wallpaper they have in the Chocolate Factory.
E: I would not have dared. I dropped a canape on the foot of one of his entourage though, which passes for foreplay in my native Yorkshire.
M: I’m disappointed, but not surprised.
E: Despite his boyish good looks, Pierre is very good at this fragrance business. All those fragrance weirdos say so (sorry, fragrance weirdos). He makes strong, offbeat, interesting smells.
M: So he is the Pierre Hermé of the fragrance world. CONTINUE.
E: Yes! And guess what, not only is the new one called ISPARTA, which is uncannily like Ispahan, our favourite Pierre Hermé cake, but it is also ROSE scented, like the Ispahan. Uncanny.
M: Cut to the chase, E. HOW DOES IT SMELL? (acceptable answers: “good”. “not bad”. “perky”.)
E: It’s a big, blowsy true rose, with a dark caramelised, complex heart.
M: Sigh. I’ll file that under “not bad”.
E: It’s a bit like my beloved Portrait of a Lady, but with sweeter, headier notes.
M: Fine, fine. So it’s a wearable rose scent with a dark heart. In a nice heavy bottle. I like the bottle. It looks like it can double as a paperweight.
E: I think that covers all the salient points. Pierre says you should pschitt it in your hair.
M: Pschitt in your hair? Pierre is a dirty devil of a Frenchman. Did you do it?
E: No. Should I? You’re French, tell me.
M: I think the idea is to get a whiff of dark rose when someone sniffs your hair. The crazy accordion man on the tram, say.
E: I think he likes my usual hair fragrance, Eau de Old El Paso Taco Seasoning, but in the spirit of niche parfumerie, M, I SHALL TRY IT.
M: Are we done here?
E: Yes, yes we are.
M: Excellent. I can return to my feignasserie* générale.