by Anura Guruge
This morning watching MSNBC we discovered that ‘Old Spice‘ was back in circulation due to a very cute and clever viral video on YouTube. Deanna just loved it — though nearly all of her experiences is mainly with daughters.
What amused me about this new interest in ‘Old Spice‘ was that of late, and by that I mean the last 3 months (or so), I have been occasionally using ‘Old Spice’ as an aftershave. A few months ago I, with a penchant for collecting old bottles, saw an old, classic ‘Old Spice’ bottle, more than likely at the (ever delightful) Alton dump swap shop, and picked it up. It was not empty. It was nearly full and it smelt authentic and ‘good’. Well aftershave doesn’t spoil plus I have very thick skin. So I put the bottle on my bathroom sink and use it — not every day, but maybe a few times a week. I have used ‘Old Spice’ in the past but I was never into it — much. I wasn’t that enamoured with its smell.
For as long as I can remember ‘Faberge Brut‘ was my goto aftershave, definitely in my 20s, 30s and 40s. The green bottle, with the suspended badge, was very much a part of my life. I, of course, remember the ‘tall’ brown box, just like in this image. I think the Brut had to do with me having been a ‘Diplomatic Brat‘ in the 1970s. There are certain things whose prices are kind of upside down if you can get them ‘duty-free’ at true, diplomats-only prices — ideally from a specialized store (such as in the UNESCO building in Paris) or from a specialized catalog. Brut must have been ‘cheap’ duty-free, as was good caviar. When I was attending University in Swansea in the early 1970s I could get caviar for cheaper than I could buy cans of sardines. So I would have bottles and bottles of caviar sent to me. I think ditto for Brut.
I had really not given much thought at all to my affectation for Brut until I got an e-mail, in 2001, from a lady who wanted to determine whether I, like her, had worked for Wang, at the iconic Wang Towers in Lowell, MA. She had seen me on the Internet and was trying to place me. Her description of me was: ‘were you the guys who always wore a three-piece suit and smelled of Brut. Us secretaries always knew you were around from the Brut …’. To begin with I was mortified. I had not realized that Brut had become a trademark. Then I started laughing. Well, that had to have been me. The three-piece suit reference alone was a dead giveaway. At that time I lived in three-piece or double-breasted suits from London. So, after I got that e-mail I went and checked. I didn’t have any Brut! Next time I was in Manchester I stopped and got a bottle.
I don’t have any Brut right now either — and that is OK. Deanna used to get me men’s fragrance, usually ‘Perry Ellis’. I think I still have three bottles, of light blue stuff, in various stages of use, in the bathroom. Yes, women have told Deanna that her husband smells good. I am glad — though I am also known to take the occasional shower, whether I need it or not.
During the last 5 years or so, old age having crept in, nostalgia played a major role in my life. I used to remember the Bay Rum they used to put on my head, in Ceylon, after a hair cut. I always liked the smell of Bay Rum. Very robust and masculine. I went looking for Bay Rum. Of course, thanks to the magic of the Internet, you can find anything. I have been using this ‘Ogallala‘ (and what a name) ‘Bay Rum‘, from this blue bottle, for the last few years. I can use it on my hair and on my face. Twofer. I really do like the smell. Yes, I also have a bottle of ‘Brylcreem‘! Yep, this nostalgia thing has bit deep. I am the retro man, 1950s all over again.
I have NEVER relied on aftershave as an astringent. As I once heard, famously, slapping your face alone does as well. I am sucker for LOTION. For 40 years, without fail, day-in, day-out, I used ‘Oil of Olay‘ original on my face. I still use some form of lotion on my face everyday, without fail. I can’t face the day without it. So, the lotion takes care of the skin conditioning. So, for me, the aftershave is just for the smell. For now, I am cool with the Ogallala Bay Rum. But, now that I am thinking of it, I will have to get some Brut and start buying some old, iconic Brut bottles on eBay.