(Posted originally on The Huffington Post, 8/24/15)
As the mother of a daughter entering 7th grade, I’ve learned to pick my battles. When she begged me earlier in the summer to buy her a pair of high-waisted jean shorts, I caved, figuring that while converted mom jeans fashioned into shorts are pretty hideous, they’re the superior alternative to the low-rise models that resemble underwear. To handle the music battle, when we’re in the car, we alternate between my delightfully tasteful singer-songwriter playlist to that tortuous song about the guy who found himself a cheerleader. I even agreed to participate when my daughter urged me to join her in facing a full-length mirror as she offered me lessons on how to do a whip and a nae nae.
Lest you think I’m the kind of parent who can’t say no, I absolutely know where to draw the line. I just choose to draw the line when the request is completely intolerable. For me, that was when my daughter began to relentlessly ask me to buy her a bottle of One Direction’s perfume, “You and I.”
The first time she asked, of course I thought it was a joke.
“What does it smell like, prepubescent boy sweat with a hint of vanilla?” I asked.
“Mom!” she said, groaning. “I’m serious!”
I had to investigate, so I found the One Direction perfume website, where I learned quite a bit about the boy band’s passion for perfume. The mega boy band offers our girls far more than wispy vocals and almost-man buns; “You and I” is the third of their four signature scents. Four unique scents? These guys have been going at the perfume business since Harry Styles discovered his first underarm hair!
As all online research goes, I found myself falling down the rabbit hole of slick One Direction videos devoted to pimping out their perfume lines. The “You and I” video is a highly-produced Mission Impossible spoof where five “men” clad head-to-toe in black suits and masks lower themselves into a bank vault, where a bottle of “You and I” sits luringly on a pedestal, ripe for the stealing. There’s a surprise ending that I dare not spoil. It’s all very cheeky and totes adorbs.
On the “Behind the Scenes” video (which of course I also watched), 1D member Liam breaks the bottle during rehearsal. That clumsy Liam! The video shows the shattered bottle on the ground, and the director’s sincere surprise that they only had one back-up bottle on set. Yet I couldn’t help but notice that they edited out the segment where the boys and crew were hunched over retching from being trapped on set with an entire spilled bottle of “You and I.”
So, because I refuse to take my daughter to Macy’s to sample it, what exactly does the One Direction’s signature scent smell like?
“Bright splashes of mango and refreshing grapefruit are combined with a heart of creamy osmanthus, exotic orchid and soft peony to offer a romantic signature that captures the peak of nature in bloom. Background notes of musk, indulgent praline and sandalwood blend to wrap the fragrance in smooth, seamless harmony.”
Well, that certainly helps justify my decision to say no. I’m sorry, but no daughter of mine is waltzing out of the house smelling like an indulgent praline. And what the hell is creamy osmanthus? That sounds like a something you’d see on a list of symptoms of a STD.
I ventured over to the social media page to let one of One Direction’s super fans give me the real deal:
“I love 1D fragrances because they smell literally like HEAVEN and that basically sums it up.”
There’s nothing like a user review from a tween who has like, literally been to heaven, returned, and compares that smell to a One Direction perfume. That kid has a mighty celestial olfactory system. Can you imagine what is going to happen to that girl when she finally smells Chanel?
For now, I’m just hoping my daughter’s urgent pleas to literally smell like heaven will phase out as quickly as her acid washed high-waisted shorts (a mom can dream). Perhaps I should be glad she’s not asking for the Luke Bryan Yankee Candle, or that Donald Trump hasn’t come up with a presidential frontrunner perfume. Until this phase passes, I’ll compromise by letting One Direction into my car, where the only thing they can stink up is 3 minutes of airtime, every other song.