A Woman Who Wears No Perfume Has No Future



“A woman who wears no perfume has no future.” Coco Chanel

I’m in Portland, about to meet someone at Irving Street Kitchen. I walk up to the, SW Park and Mill streetcar station and step aside to wait. A man stands several feet up and to the left, doing what everyone else is doing here, waiting for the streetcar.

It’s a beautiful day, sunny with an occasional light breeze blowing strands of hair into my face. Luckily, I’m not late and have nothing more important to do than to enjoy the moment. I relish the soft bursts of wind.

The man to the side of me slightly turns his head. He doesn’t turn enough to look at me, just turns it my direction. A few moments later he does the same thing. The wind blows, and his head turns, yet again.

I take a few steps back hoping to get out of his peripheral vision. But then again, a slight puff of wind, and his head turns, this time further back in an odd neck cramping manner.

He doesn’t make any effort to make eye contact or to say anything. His head just turns every now-and-then while he keeps waiting for his streetcar. He’s well dressed, clutching a distressed, brown leather messenger bag with one hand, and looks like a person who has places to go, and people to meet.

I hear the rumble of the streetcar coming our way. It’s the green line; I’m waiting for the red.

The streetcar stops, the door slides open, the rest of the passengers rush on, but instead of walking towards the door, this man turns back and steps in my direction.

By now, I’m beyond curious to see what this one’s all about; I watch him as he approaches me.

“I don’t know what perfume you’re wearing, but it smells amazing!” he says.

Not waiting for a response, he swings around, walks towards the streetcar, moves up the steps, the door shuts— he whizzes off.

I should have known what this was all about.  The breeze kept blowing my fragrance his way. I was wearing Chance by Coco Chanel (the green one). Not even my best scent, but still, a fragrance is a fragrance and Chanel knew what she meant when she said, “a woman who wears no perfume— has no future.”