Got distracted by a dippy

The other night I got a text as I was on my way home. It was Matt, warning me that our apartment smelled like a “tart’s boudoir.” I wasn’t really sure what he meant, until I started to climb the last flight of stairs leading to our apartment, and then I knew exactly what he meant. The air was thick with scent, heavy, floral, oily, rose. I opened the door and it was even thicker, my nose scrunched, my eyes watered. Matt was sitting on the couch and looked up at me. “It’s a very effective candle,” he said. 

He’d bought the candle the day before to solve a problem. The problem was that the very nice and talented man who cleans our apartment once a month had used a new strong-smelling bleach that had left our apartment smelling strongly of … bleach. A full day of open windows had no noticeable effect. Our eyes were burning. Our nostrils were burning. I was convinced we were doing real harm to ourselves and kept googling solutions. (“Wait a few days, it’ll go away,” was the most common advice, but that of course wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I did find someone who suggested putting dishes of baking soda around the house, so I tried that. Results were negligible.) 

So Matt bought the candle. He first went to the drugstore downstairs but they all smelled like chemicals, he said. So he ventured instead to Diptyque, the expensive Parisian candle shop down the road and came home with a $65 candle in the scent “Roses.” He said he smelled all the candles in the shop and picked the nicest one. I love to picture him doing this, taking such care. Here’s how the website describes “Roses”: “Rose bushes brimming with flowers one day in May. Some are just opening, others are in full bloom, their petals beaded with dew. Their fragrance fills the air with fresh, floral notes.” I agree with this. It doesn’t smell like it’s supposed to smell like roses, it smells like actual roses, garden roses, the ones you might have in your yard or that you can buy in a specialty flower store and they’ll wilt by the next day. When I worked in a flower shop, we’d get garden roses when they were in season — fragile, fragrant roses wholly different than the tall, hardy long-stems we got from South America. These garden roses had delicate stems, usually bent with the weight of their flowers, and they smelled like heaven. They smelled like this candle. 

Matt was delighted with the ridiculousness of a $65 candle but I was familiar with the phenomenon. I’ve had one other Diptyque candle, a $32 votive that I bought several years ago from the shop’s outpost in Grand Central Station. Their holiday special edition candles had such beautiful packaging, I lusted after them just for the design. But then the candles kept showing up in the homes of the members of the boy band that I enjoyed keeping up with in my spare time, in the backgrounds of their social media posts. A beloved adjacent, a Radio 1 DJ, had them all over his house, and I read that his slang for lighting one was to “whack a dippy on.” And so finally I had a reason to buy one: a winking gift for my friends with the same hobby, a small luxury with a double meaning. (“Baies (Berries)” was the scent for them, based on Instagram forensics.) For myself, while I was at it, I bought one of the small holiday dippys I’d loved from the other side of the glass.  I bought it for the leaves and golden oranges painted on, but I liked the scent, too — “‘Sapin (Pine Tree)’ The base of which provides shelter for a childhood, the beauty of winter and the memories of a Christmas gone by. The fragrant resin crystals are infused with a hint of mandarin: a familiar yet unprecedented meeting of citrusy and woody notes.” I burned the candle completely, then cleaned it out and now use it as a little bud vase. The scent is gone, but there is some residue at the bottom, and if I scratch it, then put my nose it, I get a whiff of it. 

There’s an extremely good meme that resurfaces in various incarnations on Twitter from time to time that deals with this topic.  Here’s the original, by @dril, a beloved Twitter user: 

Food $200

Data $150

Rent $800

Candles $3,600

Utility $150 

someone who is good at the economy please help me budget this. my family is dying

I love this little joke, and have thought of it each day since the “Roses” dippy showed up in our house. While do like the rosy scent, I keep thinking how nice it would be to have a warming scent for the season, and think another trip to the candle shop may be in order. It is nearly time to whack a holiday dippy on, after all.

Watercolor by Matt Davis


Diptyque “Roses” candle

Diptyque “Baies” candle

Instagram forensics

@dril tweet