Stopped in at LUSH today. Because I didn’t want to run out of my much loved “Honey Trap” lip balm … and just because. I haven’t been in a while, and I was missing the excellent sensory experience that is LUSH. I once described the LUSH store as made for sensualists — a description that really distressed a few people, as if I’d said something kinky or crude. But I hold to my descriptor. Everything in the store is displayed as if it were rich, exotic food, the staff all get into massaging the various cocoabutter bars into your hands and arms, there are five thousand different delicious, melty, bubbly things to add to your bathwater. It’s not exactly prim. It’s all about touch and scent.
So I grabbed some Honey Traps and a bar of body glitter (my old one is a little worse for wear, got crushed in the move), had amusing conversations with the sales staff … and let myself be talked into buying something I hadn’t planned to buy. Two somethings, actually. The first was a nice little fair trade tote bag made by a women’s collective in India (and, while I appreciate the “What’s your carbon footprint?” emblazoned on one side of the bag, come on: the thing got shipped to New York from India). The second was a new lip balm, “Whip Stick,” a chocolate-scented, lightly tinted, slightly glossy one. The spiky-haired girl who recommended it said she’d forsaken Honey Trap after trying Whip Stick. “If I have a chocolate craving,” she said, “I put this on, and it really kills the craving.”
Ok, so she’s nuts. Killed her chocolate craving? Come on. If scented lip balm was the secret to killing cravings, I’d look like Kate Moss. (… And from that you must rightly deduce that I soooo do not look like Kate Moss!) Nuts. But she was funny and nice, and it smelled good, so I decided to go for it.
Mistake. Upon further sniffing (because it was, literally, right under my nose the whole subway ride back to Brooklyn), I realized that it didn’t really have a pure chocolate smell. It had a Tootsie Roll smell. Now, I love Tootsie Rolls. Always have. They are yummy, and are one of the few candies from my childhood that I still like. I don’t, however, want to be wearing them on my lips. Really not. I tried the Whip Stick a few more times during the afternoon, gave it every chance to succeed, but it was really a no-go. I offered it to my boss who I recently introduced to Honey Trap … she took a sniff and made a face.
So I gave it to Valerie. Just because. In class tonight, we had more testing. I left everyone on their honor and went to my office. When she finished her test, Valerie came in and sat with me a while, talking. We talked about the test — how she thought she’d done, how and what the test measures about her reading, how she got turned off to reading when she was a kid (mostly late-diagnosed learning disabilities). And I was thinking how sorry I would be to not have her in my class next term … and how much more manageable my class will be if she’s not in it. As the serious part of our conversation wound down, I asked her if she liked the smell of Tootsie Rolls. Yes, she looked at me as if I’d sprouted a few new heads. I explained, offered her the Whip Stick. She liked it, she accepted it, done. She was putting it on Reina and Jeovany as they all tumbled down to Jeovany’s car after class.