Playing it tough.

Do you know that peculiar lack of regret with which certain talismans invest you? When the time comes to harden your heart, what do you reach for?

Yesterday was no good; the night, worse still. This morning, only Cabochard would do.

In certain situations, the last (and least helpful) thing you want encumbering you is manners. I cannot imagine, for instance, Ramón Monegal's oversweetened Mon Cuir getting my back in a tight spot. Sure, it's nice, in that namby-pamby, work-safe sense that is of no use whatsoever when the planet's falling down. Courtesy? I'm sure it has its time and place. But not now. And not here.

When my day traipsing through hell was over, I came home and renewed my Cabochard-- one generous spritz to the back of the neck, another to share between my wrists. Almost instantly, my husband looked over at me, an expression of palpable discomfort spreading over his face. And though I love him, I was not sorry.

I, not he, must wear this heavy armor.