“…The Fitzgeralds madly swapped letters that carefully articulated all the particular strains of their charmed lives. And in these letters, they contemplated their tonics: for Zelda, it was beauty and perfume; for Scott, writing and gin (but never at the same time: “My work is done on coffee, coffee, and more coffee, never on alcohol,” he wrote in a letter in 1930).
With Scott in California, Zelda nudged him toward the border for bottles of Babani or Rosine: “either is cheap in Mexico.” When he sent her a bottle of contraband Salut, she proclaimed it “such amazingly adequate, and so sensorily gratifying a perfume that I wanted more of it.”
Zelda once told a newspaper that “having things, objects make a woman happy. The right kind of perfume, the smart pair of shoes. They are great comforts to the feminine soul.”
But in her fiction, perfume is less comfort and soul than it is a signal of social climbing. In her novel, Save Me the Waltz, her characters sit in a porch swing and attempt to delineate the fragrances of the garden … honeysuckle, star jasmine, cut hay… “‘It’s my perfume,’ said Alabama impatiently, ‘and it cost six dollars an ounce.’” In her short story, “Poor Working Girl,” the title character considers “all the refinement to be bought with seventy-five dollars: twenty-five dollar dresses and the ten-dollar perfume.” In another, “The Original Follies Girl,” a character “reeked of a lemony perfume and Bacardi cocktails.”…excerpt from : A Brief Survey of Famous Authors and Their Favorite Cocktails (and Colognes!)
Timothy Schaffert Considers the Fitzgeralds, Truman Capote, Josephine Baker, and More
VIA DOUBLEDAY BOOKS
By Timothy Schaffert
August 3, 2021