Sunday, August 14, 2011

Father's Day, Brazil

Today is Father's Day in Brazil. A big day for some, an absolutely non-event in my family as I was growing up, although I did start calling my dad on the U.S. version a few years back, to his eternal amazement.

All I really wanted for Father's Day was to go out and work on my big wall, and so that's what I did. The weather cooperated and I made painstakingly slow progress across the top of the wall, completing (I think) the part that requires a ladder on top of my car.

I did get a present from my wife - a... what do you call it? Men's beauty kit? Perfume package a-la-Man? It was a box with a bottle of perfume, a scented soap, scented shaving cream, and a little tool kit with a multi-tip screwdriver, a teeny-tiny tape measure, and a bunch of zip ties. Thanks Evani!

The only problem is I'm really not a perfume guy. This runs in the family, like not celebrating Father's day, or watching sports on TV, or any number of other things. My brother told me that he wore deodorant at my wedding for the first and presumably only time in his life. I think it's not just a family thing, but a regional cultural thing as well- a town I lived in made the News of the Weird because of a decision to section off those who wore cologne at Town Meeting so as not to offend the non-wearers. When I attempted to razz some fellow Western Massachusettsers about this, two of them vigorously defended this decision!

Whatever. Brazil, perhaps because it is less enclosed and stuffy due to its more agreeable climate, abounds in artificial scents of all kinds. Unscented products are pretty much unheard of here, at least in Bahia. When I used to take my clothes to the laundromat, I had to specifically request that they not put fabric softener (cheirinho, or little smell as it is called) in my clothing. Now I've gotten used to it and pretty much ignore it. My wife loves perfume and smells and all that, and I've tried to indulge her. I bought myself a bottle of perfume but I used it so little that it has passed the expiration date. Which is why she got me another bottle. And implored me to start using it.

Sigh. I'm sorry, but this present is really for her, not for me. I really could care less if I smell nice, as long as I don't smell badly. I don't want to use perfume every day. I'll put it on to go out somewhere, but we so rarely go out that I basically never use it at all. And that suits me just fine.

However, I'm sure I'll use the little tool kit. And that has no expiration date.

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