Sweat, or, as it is known in some circles, perspiration, has no lobby and no patrons. Nobody ever has a nice word to say about sweat. In fact, the closest thing to a nice word about sweat is perspiration. Nonetheless, there is nothing more manly or athletic than the substance in question, and we should have known what the ladies would do with it as soon as sports became fashionable. They have co-opted sweat.
First, sweat shirts became fashionable, and now they are so chic one can expect women soon to be wearing them to the opera and First Communions. Still, I was hardly prepared to learn that Estée Lauder had created a new perfume named Aliage, which she has had the nerve to bill as "the world's first sport fragrance." This is obviously too much, and I went to see the parfumeuse to check out this putdown of sweat.
Estée Lauder wants everyone to smell nice, having gone so far as to touch up strangers in elevators. She puts fragrance on herself even before she arises. That is, the alarm goes off, she sprays up and only then does she put on her robe and get cracking.
"Everything is sports today," she said. "Our fragrances must keep up. Sports is not flowery, so why wear a perfume of jasmine or roses?" She got the inspiration for Aliage while engaged in sport herself, the moment breathlessly recorded by the Palm Beach Daily News: ESTEE SCORES AGAIN!
October 14, 1973
"Estée Lauder smashed a serve just inside the line to win the set in her daily tennis game.
"Walking off her private court...perspiration dampened both her hair and her triumph. It set her to wondering about preserving a woman's femininity during strenuous physical exercise.
"Thus a new perfume was born."
Mrs. Lauder said that she then went back to her company's laboratories on Long Island and cried, "Bring me leaves! Bring me herbs! Bring me ferns!" And they did. "Not all men like flowers in a fragrance, but everyone loves leaves," she says.
The smell itself has so much greenery in it that one user reports that since she began using Aliage no man has assaulted her or even whispered sweet nothings in her ear, but that she has been "mowed three times and pruned twice." Mrs. Lauder says, "In one word, it's clean, fresh and vital."
The company's official description of the world's first sport fragrance is that it is a "tingling greenness...of fern fronds, the dry-cool of mountain air, the clear-white of flowers that grow in high places, the rush and sparkle of deep streams...the remembrances of a beautiful day, the scent and loveliness of a forest of evergreens...."
What they mean is, no sweat.