Every industry has their own language, often using normal words in a new and unexpected way. And language is flexible enough to accommodate all these new uses. This is a cool book about the flexibility of language that my old, old company pubbed [aha a new use right there!] And I read it on the job. Ah, halcyon days.

In the fragrance industry, i.e. my new free lance job, when a client comes in for a “smelling session” [already a funny combination of words] the question around the office is "can you be skin?"

To wit: can you be a tester for multiple variants of a fragrance which will be placed on your outstretched arm, land of the zombies style, to be smelled by at least four discerning noses all sniffing and judging, judging and sniffing. As you might have guessed, it’s a funny sight: grown, well-dressed people smelling the outstretched arms of other grown people and making sounds of assent or dissent.

Alas I choose not be “skin”. I am sensitive to smells generally speaking and I don’t wear perfume because I don’t like smelling like something else other than myself [and all of the lotion, soaps and detergents that are part of one’s daily routine, but of course.] So, at least twice a week I must turn down a frantic account executive looking for skin. And yes I find it amusingly ironic that Allergic Girl is working for a fine fragrance company and gets asked to try on perfumes!


Bo said…
Your musings about language are interesting. Not only in that language can be so easily morphed into something else but that language can be used to transform you into something that is no longer entirely human. "Can you be skin?" can be interepreted as "Can you, for the time being, stop being human and become a non-thinking appendage covered in flesh?" "Can we forget that you are an adult and that we, as fellow adults, are sniffing your arm? Oh how easily we learn to diminish and objectify. I suppose sometimes doing this makes our jobs a little more palatable.
Allergic Girl® said…
that is totally right! i forgot to mention that part, glad you highlighted it.

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