Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tip #54: The Scent of a Goth

Now, while it is true that dogs and cats have a far superior sense of olfaction over us humans, the sense of smell, when comes to romance and/or sexual attraction, is an important factor and does play a major role...even without anyone realizing it!

First on the plate: pheromones. You've heard of these, right? For those who don't, let me give you a quick biology lesson. Technically, a pheromone (ˈferəˌmōn) is a "secreted or excreted chemical factor that triggers a social response in members of the same species" (source: Wikipedia). Pheromones can be used for all sorts of reasons, especially in the insect realm -- for example ants lay a scent trail toward a food source to create a direct path for others to follow. In humans, however, pheromones play an integral part in attracting members of the opposite (or same) sex. This is how it works: When one mammal finds itself attracted to another of the same species, said mammal will automatically secrete a specific chemical that might seem odorless, but is aimed at the recipient's keen sense of smell. These chemicals will trigger nerves in the nose that will then, in turn, fire messages to the brain to solidify, or nullify, attraction beyond visual stimulation. Did I lose you? In essence, when building rapport with someone, you must be pleased (and pleasing) on every sensory level; and, whether you know it or not, your nose is to be pleased thirdly, after your eyes and ears!

But pheromones are not the main topic of this Romancing the Goth tip...smell is...and more importantly, one's scent!

Whereas pheromones are subtle, scent and odor is more striking...and especially since it can be crafted and controlled for maximum effect. I am talking, of course, of fragrances: perfumes, cologne, scented oils, Eau de toilettes, scented candles, and the like.

First and foremost, I'd like to "concentrate" on the different types of scents one can apply to one's body (as opposed to their living space) . Let me breakdown the specific classes of stinky water one may wish to spritz upon one's self. These are determined and based on the amount of oils or "juice" the liquid holds. More oils = more scent.
  • Perfume can hold 15% to 40% perfume concentrates, and is considered the purest form of scented products...hence the expensive price tag. Also, perfumes, compared to the rest of the list to follow, has a tendency to linger in the room well after the wearer has left, thus having what is known to be a lingering effect...
  • Eau de Parfume is about 7% to 15% perfume concentrates and is generally the most popular and common form of perfume for women.
  • Eau de Toilette (yes...toilet water...there, I said it!) registers in at about 1% to 6% perfume concentrates. Also known as Eau de Cologne, this is a light enough scent and doesn't linger in the air, making it preferable for men.
  • Lastly, After Shave contains the least amount of perfume concentration and little to no alcohol to eliminate any burning sensation after a freshly shaved...well...a freshly shaved anything, really!

The last category brings up the notion of alcohol being a main ingredient in body scents. So, why have alcohol? Simply because the alcohol helps the oils evaporate from the body for others to smell. If it weren't for the alcohol, only the wearer would be aware of the scent. Also, interestingly enough, the amount of time a fragrance will hold on a person determines on two factors: Skin type and Ph levels. Dry skin tends to have a harder time holding onto fragrances as opposed to people with oilier skin, since oily skin helps keep the scent moisturized. The Ph level, or acidity of one's skin also plays as a strong factor in the fragrance's chemical reaction according to each individual's Ph level...that is why it is very important to test out fragrances on the inside of a wrist or the back of the hand when at a store like Sephora (they are really good about letting you testing out all of there fragrances). What may smell wonderful on you might smell completely different on someone else!

Any fragrance shouldn't be too overbearing, but at the same time should be memorable...for scents do, in fact, trigger memories! It's true!!! Scents have a very funny way of tapping into our brain's memory cortex, and believe it or not, this is due to our natural survival instinct! You see, odors, scents, fragrances, stenches, or stinks, on the whole, are neither good nor bad. It is our brains, hard-wired with eons of evolutionary progress, that deciphers whether a particular odor will trigger a positive response of pleasantries, or a negative response of disgust.

A foul odor, such as a rotten egg, fecal matter, or even a rotting corpse, naturally smell bad to us humans as a means of protection from danger, infection, illness, and desease. After years of trial and error, we humans have come to realize and identify certain bad odors as a clear sign of danger to our health. In this respect, burying a corpse six feet under ground insured that no one would smell the rotting flesh or suffer from any contaminants; that no one would dare eat a putrid and rotten egg and suffer a horrific infection; that no one would roll around in a pile of their own excrement to risk all sorts of maladies. However, for example, on the flip side, shit (pardon my Russian) smells delicious to the common housefly's brain...it's all a matter of perspective!

Now, onto fragrances for your dwellings. These can come in all sorts of varieties: incense, scented candles, oils, essences, sprays, Glade Plug-ins, etc. The choice is really up to you...it is as personal to your living space as body fragrances are to your person. A quick tip if you explore the whole fragrant essences that come in tiny bottles, is that if you are planning a romantic evening with a certain love interest, swab a couple of drops of this on a bare incandescent light bulb (never on a napkin over a bulb, that's an instant fire hazard. And not on one of those energy-saver fluorescent thingies). The point behind this is that the heat from the (ol' fashioned) light bulb will evaporate the essence and dissipate it throughout the room. It is quite effective, and depending on the fragrance type, will really set the mood!

The rule, again, here is to never have a scent that is too over-the-top and distracting. It should be subtle, even hinted at, and most importantly...memorable. In this regard the particular scents that surround your daily life will come to define you in others' minds, and when they run across that particular scent somewhere else, they can't help but think of you...maybe a good thing...maybe a bad thing...that is up to you.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tip #53: Buy Locally

If you must buy gifts for this Xmas, please do our economy a favor and buy from local "mom-n-pop" shops or local artists. Don't succumb to the lure of massive corporations like Target, Walmart, Best Buy, The Gap, etc. I know that these companies employ thousands of people, but they overwork them and pay them pittance! BUY LOCALLY!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tip #52: Dwellings

This tip is a quick one and directed mainly toward single Gothlings.

Always keep your dwelling, no matter how large or small, tidy and neat as if to expect a visitor, or especially a romantic rendez-vous, at any given time. Every night when you step out that door, you will never know whether or not you may re-enter with someone special. No one wants to see your Hot Topics boxers dangling from a lamp. Make this a habit.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Tip #51: Collections

For some strange reason, we humans, Day-Crawlers and Goths alike, enjoy collecting stuff. Some do it for financial gain -- as with pieces of art or baseball cards -- and some do it for a certain predilection toward something symbolic and/or meaningful to the individual -- such as the love of anything relating to bats, spiders, skulls, or Hello Kitty! Whatever the case may be, collections of objects and trinkets is an extension of one's form of expression. We like to put our collections out on display for our friends and family to discover and admire...or, at the very least, be completely creeped out by the twisted obsession...

This tip is to simply suggest that you and your fortunate loved one start a mutual and personal collection of knick-knacks or doo-dads that mean something significant to the both of you. Find a common symbol, item, or object, and build a collection together! It can be based on anything: First edition Gothic/Horror novels; swords; action figures; post-mortem Victorian photography; clocks & timepieces; taxidermy; skulls & bones; insects; creepy looking porcelain dolls...anything!!! Just make sure that it is something very personable, shared, and special to the both of you.

This brings gift-giving to a whole new level in which when one of you should happen across an item that will be a very welcomed addition to your collection, you can can surprise each other with said procured item and ritualistically induct it into the rest of the brood. How spe-chul!!!

Just do me one favor...
don't turn this this tip into an episode of Hoarders: Buried Alive! 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Poem: The Love of a Mirage

The dream
is always the same.
I wander a smooth,
flat, and unforgiving desert.
The sadistic sun
as my only companion.
White hot sand,
under my feet.
Air, heavy with heat,
pressed hard against my skin.
Desire before me.
Loneliness behind me.

The destination
is always the same.
The love of a mirage.
She is distant,
She is far,
But I see her...
I know that she is there,
somehow out of reach.
She is fragile,
thinner than air.
She floats and flits,
seductive and alluring,
content to allude me.

The chase
is always the same.
I run,
I walk,
I crawl,
Always three hundred and
twenty-three steps behind,
while she cruelly bathes
within my devoted attention.
I should turn back,
maybe turn away...
She will be there too.

The vision
is always the same.
Bright, vivid blue.
Deep, dark black,
all swirl about her
in calculated unison,
like the Universe,
revolving around one
centrifugal point.
Her peculiar beauty,
has words fighting each other,
in ill-fated battles,
trying to describe it...
as I travel, transfixed.

The strife
is always the same.
Some have warned me.
Most call me a fool,
to love this mirage
that is repulsed
by being touched,
by my hands,
by my lips,
by my heart.
My goal: impossible.
However, automated legs
continue their task
toward this certain failure.

The pain
is always the same.
At first, a thick weight
takes residence upon my chest,
like a resisting hand,
pushing hard against my heart.
Dull, throbbing pain
moves downward causing my
coils to tie in knots.
Butterflies in my stomach,
transforming into dragons!
Swollen with tangled emotions,
my brain suffocates itself
against the walls of my skull.
Imprisoned, for it's crimes.

The demise
is always the same.
Secretly, my body abandons
the fruitless pursuit.
I succumb to the merciless sand.
My last steps, futile.
Here is where I am
destined to perish.
Three hundred and
twenty-three steps shy
from that playful mirage.
One last plea
for simple requited love,

The end
is always the same.
A wicked wind swoops in
to steal my final breath.
The sound of distant laughter
from the jubilant mirage,
barely reaches my ears.
Skin, muscle, bone,
all bleached by the sun,
suddenly reduced to sand.
With a whisper,
I am no more.
As I awake,
what I learn is that,
without my gaze,
without my heed,
My beloved mirage
is now lonelier than I.

~Sir William Welles

Friday, November 4, 2011

Tip #50: Quests!

The concept of quests is naturally steeped within Medieval lore whereas chivalrous knights (according to Wikipedia, the etymology of the word chivalry is: In English, the word is first attested in 1292, as a loan from Old French chevalerie "", an abstract noun formed in the 11th century based on chevalier "knight", ultimately from Medieval Latin caballārius "horseman"; cavalry is from the Italian form of the same word, loaned via Middle French into English around 1540.) would embark on often times perilous adventures to prove their love and devotion to a particular damsel -- a sort of grand romantic gesture by acquiring the impossible as a test of love and romance. Although true, especially due to the iconic (yet fictional) quest of Sir Lancelot's epic quest in search of the holy grail in the effort to win Lady Guinevere's heart away from King Arthur, the notion of the quest dates as far back as the prehistoric era of man, and holds strong today among us romantics!

In so-called caveman days, males had to prove their mettle like any other animal...by proving that they were worthy of providing and protecting -- two very important evolutionary factors (sounds a bit misogynistic, huh? It is....but that's human biology for you!). However, throughout all of this, women, being the beautiful, clever, and cunning creatures that they are, have learned to use their desirability and the art of seduction to bend masculinity's will to their every whim...hence quests.

A quest can be very large or very small...it can be ordered or implied...it can be necessary or frivolous...it can be a task or a favor...but above all, it is a test of wills!!! Now, to some, the constant requests of "Get me this!" and "I deserve that!" might technically fall under the category of quests...they don't. These are petty needs and capricious yearnings for something materialistic. A true quest is not only about obtaining a hard-to-find or ultra expensive gift to appease your lover's hunger for said item, but rather it is a way to better yourself by way of facing a challenge and accomplishing it by being resourceful, tactful, and knowledgeable; but most importantly, it has to come from the heart! In essence, quests aren't truly about what you achieve, but rather how you achieve it, and especially why you've achieved it.

So...what constitutes a quest by today's standard? Well...it could pretty much be anything, really. But foremost it may very well be something that puts the male ego out of its comfort zone. Let me give you the most mundane "manly-man"/"eww" factor scenario: "Honey, can you please run to the store and grab me [insert any feminine hygiene product here]?" For the record, I never understood the male mind's aversion to this simple quest! Is the embarrassment factor that is set so high that one would be paranoid enough to believe that the person at the drug store would think that a man use something like a tampon or a special cleanser on himself?!? Quite the contrary! A man should be proud to procure such items (although, ladies, it does break down the feminine illusion a bit...just sayin') if only to prove he has a loving woman to share his life with! But regardless of the banter or issue in this particular case, it is a quest non-the-less. Can you not overcome and rise above your male ego in order to provide for your love's interest and needs..no matter how embarrassing???

Next case in point: The Chores...
Chores can be perceived as one of two things: actual laborious tasks, or mini quests!!! Mow the lawn; do the laundry; clean out the garage; blah, blah, blah...yawn!!! Chores suck, granted...and no one wants to turn into a nagging old housefrau! To get beyond this, treat chores as mini-quests! Not really significant, yet necessary for the health of the relationship!

The important note to add here, or on the flip side, is that accomplished quests do need to be rewarded or at least acknowledged (I know I beat this concept to death on this blog...but it is soooooo important!!!). It is an "all too important" factor of the pursuit and accomplishment of the quest...if there were no reward, why embark on the quest? Am I right? Or, if you embark on several quests (let's say about 4 or 5) and receive absolutely no acknowledgement, be skeptical. 

once again, I must stress this point even more often than none...proper romance is, and has to be, a give-and-take/push-and-pull scenario! If it is unrequited on any side, the romance will very quickly fall apart. No matter on which side of the quest (coin) you fall upon (the one challenging the quest, or the one accepting it) be sure to take into consideration any and all reactions, complaints, or indifference...for these will be the testaments of the true levels of romance!!!