Ladyboy (LUSH)

There is an unknown land full of strange flowers and subtle perfumes, a land of which it is joy of all joys to dream, a land where all things are perfect and poisonous.

--Oscar Wilde, letter to Harry Marillier, 1885
Ladyboy is beautiful, but he won't let me say so. He -- this weirdly, wonderfully uncompromising creature -- flat-out forbids it.

But I'm only trying to compliment you, I protest-- to which he coolly replies, You mean pigeonhole me in a nice safe little box? Honey, you're supposed to bury me after I'm dead.

This is a standoff I'll never win. The criterion of beauty to which I, a mere mortal, must fall back on is too terrestrial for Ladyboy's taste. Clearly he would much rather be called ugly than have to wear so mundane and gentrified a label as beautiful.

Violets? Where? Maybe Ladyboy is sitting on them. He'd love that-- holding court on a bed of petals. Doubtless we'll discover them later, crushed under skin-tight velvet, clinging desperately to the backs of those whippet-thin supermodel thighs. (Do you think His Majesty will ask us to brush them off for him? Oh please say yes.)

Chamomile? Could that be the bitter and prickly element in Ladyboy's personality, or is it something buried deep in his shady past? He's not talking, though the way he smokes a cigarette -- with quick, purse-lipped inhales like a series of angry kisses interspersed with narrow-eyed, smoke-obscured glares -- belies a deep impatience with convention. (Don't ask; it will only get him started.)

Banana? Yes, of course. Fresh? Depends on how you define the word. Let's just say it's been around the farmer's market a few times. A few venomous detractors have gone so far as call Ladyboy's banana note "rotten", but everyone knows that the closer it pushes the envelope toward decay, the sweeter a banana gets. When it interacts with the chamomile, you get this strange, bitter, ghost-of-cuminseed accord that slices through the cloying fruity sweetness like a old-fashioned stiletto letter opener in the hands of a disgruntled personal assistant. (Not that I'm complaining, Ladyboy. I live to serve!)

Seaweed absolute? A trace of odor as saline and funky as-- Hush your mouth!

Look, if speaking the word "beautiful" aloud would mean banishment from the Imperial Presence, I'll keep it safely locked in my head. I'll put up with the sullen looks, the catty comments, all the times I have to fetch and carry and bail him out of jail. I'll sign his name on stacks of 8x10 glossies and never breathe a word of where he disappears to after midnight.

Just let me go on worshiping this lovely space oddity... forked tongue and all.

Scent Elements: Violet, violet leaf, chamomile, banana absolute, seaweed absolute, labdanum, oakmoss

Sample tucked inside a lovely package from a certain Canadian dame who plumes under de nom of JoanElaine. She knew this discontinued treasure had been on my wishlist for eternity... and now I am indubitably hooked.

2012 UPDATE: Ladyboy -- along with the rest of Mark and Simon Constantine's original B Never Too Busy fragrance line -- has been resurrected as the "Exclusives" collection under LUSH's new Gorilla Perfumes label, which boasts its own ample wonders. Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!