If your city were a perfume, what would it smell like? I don’t mean what does your city actually smell like, I mean what comes to mind when you think of your city’s name?
Let’s start with Paris, London, or San Francisco-- all exciting, sensational, cities. You can inhale deeply on those, right? Honolulu or Miami might be exotic, gingery fragrances, or have the scent of plumeria, which always makes me swoon. You think of coconuts, orchids and vanilla in tropical locations as well.
Dolce&Gabbanna has one called Sicily, and there are other Italian-themed perfumes hinting at Tuscany and Venice. You think of Italy as a place of bold adventure and passionate romance.
Manhattan would have some sophisticated notes, definitely not a heady floral. Las Vegas and Hollywood have fragrances named for them as well, and ads that promise the scent of glamor, risk and seduction. Then there are places that bring to mind woodsy forests of thick pines, like Aspen or Tahoe.
And fresh ocean breezes seem the promise of names like Newport or of my birthplace, San Diego.
But let’s face it. Some cities will never make it to the perfume label stage. My current residence is Rocklin, and I guess it could be a men’s fragrance for that rugged, outdoorsy guy. But be honest-- it’s hard to imagine a perfume named Scrabster, Lynchberg, Billings, or Dead Horse.
Let’s just look at a few locations here in the United States. They may be lovely places to live, but they will never become fragrance brands. Alabama has Burnt Corn and Muck City.
Arkansas brings us Greasy Corner and Toad Suck. Roachtown is in Illinois, and Belcher is in Louisiana. There’s Tightwad, Missouri, Square Butt, Montana, and Winnemucca, Nevada. North Carolina has a town called Tick Bite,
and there’s a Bowlegs, Okahoma. Tennessee gives us Bucksnort, and Wyoming offers Muddy Gap.
Like I say, these may be the perfect place to raise a good family. But their founders were definitely not marketing a brand of fragrance. So tell me where you live, and what bouquet it conjures when you say it. And please don’t tell me you live in SquatRotter.
See where my characters live, in my latest three novels here. Could be your hometown!