Meet Kevin. He works the nightshift at the deli across the street from my building in Alphabet City, a neighborhood in downtown New York know mainly for its teen junkie-filled parks, unneutered dogs, and enduring ethnic flair (remember those bootleg piña coladas I gorged on all summer?).
There are all sorts of fascinating characters in my neighborhood: Well, Padma Lakshimi, who lives across the street from me, to start. With her vaguely scandalous baby! Love that Padma.
And then there are the firemen of E. 2nd Street, whom I know I am supposed to revere and everything, but whom in fact I totally loathe. Bitches stand outside the station all day just LEERING at women! I hate them! They could at least get a cute dalmation or something. Because they refuse to treat me like a human being instead of an object, I in turn refuse to regard them as heroes: it’s your job to jump into the fires, dudes. Sorry.
Another fascinating character from my neighborhood is The Thinker, a man who shuffles around the block in relentless, crabby circles with his chin resting on his balled-up fist, a la the famous bronze and marble statue in Paris somewhere by what's-his-name. Rodin:
I used to have a photo of The Thinker, which my friend Chrissy snapped, paparazzo-like, and sent me long ago, but we can’t find it again to show you. (Chrissy would have you know, however, that “he was once a very respectable lawyer, and he CHOOSES to be homeless.” Uh-huh.)
And finally, there's my creepy corner store guy, Kevin – a lisping, drunken Korean who makes up the prices on everything, tries to get me to kiss his cheek every time he rings up a purchase (which is literally every night), and strokes my hand when he is handing me my change (which is sometimes short – I’ve caught him).
Why do I tolerate this nonsense? Well, Kevin lends me a ton of money! No (YES), but mainly because despite his creepy try-too-hard-to-be-hetero come-ons, I believe him to be totally non-threatening and possibly a kooky homosexual who's just bizarrely pretending to want me.
(The proof is in the overpriced pudding: Kevin likes to stand outside and cruise! Plus, there's always this guy there that Chrissy says is his boyfriend. And every time I bring in my big black friend Remo -- a.k.a. DREMO -- Kevin gets totally flustered. Sorry, Kevin, if you're reading this -- and I hope very much that you are not -- but it's true.)
And also, scroll back up to his picture: He's pretty loveable. I mean, The Thinker will tell you to get away from his corner and throw a juice box at your ankles, but Kevin just wants a hug.
So I tolerate the hand stroking, and even the occasional embrace. Also the "I love you"s, to my back, every time I exit the store. And sometimes over and over when he is ringing up my stuff: "Cat, I love you, I love you."
OK, so it's a little maddening.
But I also am totally dependent on my deli for survival, having not mastered the fine adult art of grocery shopping for myself yet. Am I the only one who finds supermarkets completely daunting? I mean, if I bought bags of groceries I would just gorge on them all anyway and eat a week's worth of food in 24 hours. Instead, I buy deli "meals" like this:
...once approximately every six hours. Which equals a lot of Kevin.
In my dreams -- though this will never happen -- I would like to spray something at Kevin whenever he gets too creepy. Not mace or pepper spray, because I don't want to HURT him (well, not most of the time), but something just to get him to back off. Such as ... three fabulous new fall perfumes! Look, Kevin would probably love it. I can just imagine him giggling as I spritzed the girly sh*t all over him right now!
Three excellent new scents, in no particular order:
I LOVE this one! Love it! First of all, there's the bottle: possibly one of the most completely fantastically covetable ones to come along in a few years, the kind of bottle you want to just have sitting in your home somewhere, to thrill you every time you walked into your apartment and remembered "OH, I own you! Hello! There you are!" Delightful, non?
Then there's the fragrance itself: It smells like a teenage dream dipped in bubble bath, which is really how you want to smell even if you don't know it. Fine, maybe not everyone wants to smell like that, but I do! I adore this stuff. It's my favorite of the season.
A more mature person, however, might prefer this hot bitch:
It's sort of like Oh, Lola!'s more grown-up sister, right? I love both bottles; Lord! Good work, Coty.
It's super-feminine, of course -- and yet not overtly girly-girl, or cloying as so many "romantic" perfumes are. I think this is because it has gorgeous undertones of musk (the best thing to have in perfume ever) and really darkly beautiful floral notes: lotus blossom and tuberose, most notably.
Yup, this is the kind of perfume that you'll wanna keep by your bed so that you can surreptitiously spritz all over your sheets before your deli guy comes over to bone you. NO, I meant your boyfriend! I was joking! God knows, I was joking.
If all this pink stuff and floral perfumey-ness is a little much for you, may I recommend...
This was one of the most hotly anticipated launches of the season, since everyone lives and dies for Bottega (well, at least in certain glamorously shallow circles -- the only kind that I care to frequent, truthfully) and it's the brand's first-ever fragrance.
And it so does not disappoint! First there's the minimalist bottle, which is elegantly wrapped in a string of BV's signature soft, ultra-luxe leather and is clunky and expensive-feeling, like a pricey paperweight from some chic Italian woman's desk. It's made with something exotic-sounding called Murano glass (actually, the same stuff used to make these glam paperweights, so I was right!). You could bash someone like Kevin in the head with it if so inclined, and if that should ever happen, your victim should feel glamorized and grateful.
Then there's the fragrance itself, which is fantastic. It smells like a rich lady! I was raised by them, so I know. But not, like, a rich old lady -- no offense to my grandma -- but like an urbane person who carries $2,000 woven leather handbags. Sophisticated! And floral and spicy and fresh all at the same time, with notes of Indian sambac jasmine, patchouli, Italian bergamont and oak moss. HOTNESS.
I'll write up some more fall fragrances in a week or two: There are a lot more to cover. Now I want to hear all about the Kevin in YOUR life. Who do you regularly interact with that insists on getting creepy with you and deserves an occasional perfume-y spritz to the face? Let's go!
Follow me on Twitter at @cat_marnell. No, not you, Kevin!