My essence: Eau de self doubt

By Kevin Wilson: FNM columnist

I had no essence.

This wasn’t something I was concerned about. I was more concerned with having no girlfriend, no vacation house, no HBO subscription, no basketball ability and no reasonable hopes to retire before age 79. Oh, and no ability to stop making self-depricating comments.

No train of thought — where were we? Oh, that’s right, the essence. A coworker asked me what fragrance I wore. My answer usually veers between three areas:

• I guess I wear Old Spice, but only when I put on too much underarm deodorant. (No chance of my armpits landing a girl.)

• Whatever body spray I decided to waste $3 on, based on a commercial where women of all ages tackle wearer of said spray. This has never happened to me, and coworker Gabriel Monte said the worst thing about body sprays is you need a long shower to wash the scent of (expletive deleted) off the body. (No chance of washing away the feeling).

• Last but not least, no essence. Sometimes, I’m at my best when I smell only of soap and shampoo doing their jobs in harmony. (No evidence I’m right.)

Not that I had never thought about an essence. From time to time, my apartment and/or car will smell like a combination of the cologne sample ads in whatever magazine arrived in the mail. (No ability to throw magazines away, even the GQ with Sascha Baren Cohen naked on the front.)

I’ll thumb through such a magazine and I’ll get ideas. (No ability to separate good ideas from bad ideas.) What if I was to mix all of the colognes, like the son did on “Married With Children,” and call it “Essence of Kevin” whenever such info is requested? (No reason to believe this would work.)

I waited until I had some free time and money, and took a trip to a local department store. And I figured it was time to be honest and say no.

“Can I help you?” she inquired.

“I want a new cologne,” I said. “No clue what I specifically want. No colognes that make me smell feminine. No fragrances endorsed by a rap artist.”

Spray after spray on the sample cards. No. No. No chance. Maybe. No.

I settled on the maybe. Throughout the friendly but somewhat impersonal conversation, I admitted no clue of proper usage. Cologne is stronger than body spray, and to use it the same way would be like using a blowtorch to light a pack of Black Cat firecrackers. The right amount, and I’m still in her mind 30 minutes after I leave. Too much, and I’m still in her nose 30 seconds after I leave. (No ability to stop hyperbole.)

I bought the larger size (no fear of commitment), and I’ve been applying a small amount every day since. It’s already made an impact, as a girl I randomly met couldn’t help but tell me I smelled good (no accounting for intoxication).

I’ve got the essence knocked out. Maybe I can take care of some of those other things on the list. Know any single girls with HBO?