Americans whose knowledge of the Arab world – and particularly the Gulf – comes solely from television and other media miss out on one crucial aspect of life in the region: the delightful way that women smell. This is a perfume-friendly region, and while walking past a man has often left me choking in a plume cloud of the local version of Drakkar Noir, walking past a woman has more often left me just plain envious.
The perfumes I smell aren’t ones I associate with Americans – and certainly far from the ones I wear (Opium, Narcisse, Liberté). They’re full of baby powder and light florals, which should smell nauseatingly sweet but instead smells delightful. And they instantly make me feel that my perfumes smell heavy and overdone.
So when I found myself at the Four Seasons spa in Doha, cleaning up after spending an afternoon on its beach, I clustered around the grooming table with several abaya’ed women. We dried our hair, fussed with face creams, and … tried on the spa’s suggested perfume.
It wasn’t anything like my usual perfumes. It was full of baby powder and light florals, and it had a name that suggested both a spa experience and an ESL moment: Pure Treat Blossom. I loved it.
I smell like an abaya! I told my aunt happily when I returned home. She smiled – she knew exactly what I meant. And I was even happier later that evening, when a short Amazon search told me that I could smell like an abaya for some time to come, for only $12.99 plus shipping:
Pure treat, indeed .