Thursday, April 30, 2009


Allright now, seriously. Is anyone taking "the FiFis" seriously? I'm so not taking it seriously that I'm not even going to check the spelling. Is anyone out there aching to watch/read the results of the FiFis? Is anyone liveblogging them, having parties for them, gearing up beer-pipe hats for them? I'm guessing.................... not.

Unless you're a perfumer or a company. Or maybe a tiny town in France that supports one perfumery, and has a scent that's nominated. (Although I've always felt, flipping through the nominees or results, that every release gets nominated.) But if you're a regular person, can you really get excited about them? Even if you love perfume?

Because really, you have to admit that the name is stupid. The FiFis??? Isn't that what clueless, awful rich women in sitcoms named their toy dogs-when-they-weren't-cool? (They're still not cool to me.) At least Oscar is a real name. And Emmy could be the name of a plus-size model. And Grammy is some scifi, spaceage name from the future. Or past! And with none of those names do you have a substantive connotation. FiFi sounds like a froufroulala, frivolous name. And yet we use it for the perfume awards. When most people consider fragrance completely frivolous and unnecessary; and worse: "girly." Could there be a bigger sin than "girly" in American culture? (Hmmm, maybe "poor." "Not always ebullient" could be another, but it's such a long, enervating phrase. ) (I love that word, enervating. I once filled in for someone at some job who had a really long, really clumsy quote tacked up. I don't remember it, because it was so long and ploddy that it wouldn't have stuck in my mind, but I remember the gist: it was trying to sound profound, so instead of short beats of words, it used long, clunky ones. Enervated was one of those. Why say enervated when you can just say tired? ESPECIALLY if you're trying to create an aphorism!) I wish we could call the awards anything different. Anything that maybe conveyed that there's more science behind perfumery, without the art losing some of its sensuousness. Because the whole goal of fragrance is sensual pleasure; technology plays a huge role, but it's all in the service of creating pleasure. Words to build a society by, people!

Of course, it's not just the name. Two other things come to mind: First is the fact that if you read through the nominations (which I'm too lazy to link to), you get the impression that EVERYTHING has been nominated. There are a lot of divisions, but if you think about it, there should really only be two primary ones: Expensive perfume and Cheap perfume. That's like Best Picture and Best Actress. There are subdivisions, but those are pretty much it. With the FiFis, it's hard to know exactly what they mean, so you assume that they just invented categories so everyone could win. Second is that too many nominations seem to have an obvious winner. For example, Chanel's No. 5 Eau Premiere is nominated. Well, that's gonna take that category. People fall head over heels to praise No. 5, so that's in the bag. I'm not such a big fan of No. 5, to be honest, but I don't need to be to say of Eau Premiere: Enough already. How long ago did that scent come out? You already have 5 in eaux de toilette and parfum and in parfum as well; and while it slips my mind right now, I'm thinking there's another offshoot of 5 out there. So why make Eau Premiere? It's like making wet wetter. Or more like making money more moneylike.

So that's what I think of the FiFis. Tell all your friends!


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