One of my memories from the 70’s is the powerful impression of colognes. Here are a few of the 15 flowery perfumes women of this era donned on their persons. Rive Gauche, Aliage, Diorella, Charlie, Ciara, Tatiana, Cinnabar, and Enjoli. I always wondered about the intrigue of each scent and what drew a woman to one or another of these fragrances. For me, and this is just a personal preference you understand, I found some of them odious either from scent, or quantity used in the heavy handed applications. Don’t get me wrong, I never complained at the time, I was in my late teens and twenties, and just being close enough to smell them was heaven for me.
For all the women out there reading this article, I realize men were just as offensive in both categories. Here are a few of the top men’s colognes from the same time period. Brut, Jaguar, Jovan’s, Sean, Ginseng, Old Spice Musk, Aramis, Hi Karate, and Musk by English Leather, were the most popular where I lived. I knew guys from those days who thought putting on a splash of Brut was the equivalent of taking a shower. Guess again. The application of the liquid, in a generous and enthusiastic manner, did not otherwise hide something that should have been taken care of previously.
In a general sense, the consensus seems to be that we should blame the Egyptians for all this nonsense. They used these concoctions in everything from religious ceremonies and burial preparations, to every day wear. Some say certain scents demarcated social status, which is evident in Persian history. One perfume factory was unearthed by archaeologists in Cyprus, dating back to 2,000 BC, which produced coriander, laurel, myrtle, rosemary, and lavender.
It’s fascinating to me to see how this word “perfume” applies across cultures and time. Perfumes and the use of them are clearing seen in both Old and New Testaments in The Bible. Here are a few words of wisdom about perfumes from the wisest man who ever lived.
Oil and perfume make the heart glad, so a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend.
A good name is better than a good ointment, and the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth.
Did you read that one and say, “How strange!”? Was Solomon just off his game when he came up with this one? Why would God inspire Solomon to say such a thing?
There is a great story in the New Testament which can make sense out of Solomon’s words if we allow. It’s two days before Passover, so that makes it Tuesday the week of this Feast and celebration. Jesus was in Bethany because his best friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus lived there. (For context read John 11, about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.) He is actually staying in the home of Simon the leper, when a woman came with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume. Watch what happens…
… and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table…
His disciples were appalled, perhaps Judas (John 26:14-15) cried out the loudest, that this was such an extravagant waste of money. Even then, perfume was a valuable commodity. Image as the sweet smell of perfume wafted through the house. It began on His hair, but there was so much perfume that it ran down and into his beard, further down His throat onto his chest, and soaked the clothes Jesus was wearing. All this just days before His body would stink from sweat, and blood, and death.
What an extravagant show of love! From a believer to the Savior… from the Savior to us. Now back to Solomon and his wack-a-doodle statement in Ecclesiastes 7:1.
A good name is better than a good ointment… ointments can act as a balm or salve, easing pain, but seldom act as a cure. In the NAME of Jesus we are not just eased from the pain of sin and death, but we are cured.
… the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth … For Jesus His death accomplished what His birth began, salvation for humanity, He said “It is finished!” For us, upon our death we see the Master, if indeed we are IN HIM by faith. It makes Solomon’s words true, for Jesus, and for us.
Eau de Extravagance… the blood of Christ, shed for me.
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