Roses aren’t cliche they’re honest. You don’t need me to tell you all that they can represent: beauty, passion, youth, and of course love. They are the stars of poems, songs, plays, and many perfumes (one of the first perfume-like concoctions was a commingling of just rose petals and water). I love leaning in and giving the large pink and white roses that grow in my mom’s garden a whiff before they become food for the deer. The rose is beautiful, I cannot deny that. But what about this fat sometimes red, sometimes white, yellow, pink or even orange blossom has caused the universe to be enthralled with it for centuries?
The roses we see today are actually hybrids bred for our many and demanding ornamental desires. So, the rose we see in gardens or in bouquets are not the ones of which Romeo speaks. Makes me wonder how differently roses a few centuries ago smelled. That could explain the infamous lyric in André 3000 wails in OutKast’s song “Roses.” But you know, 3000 may be onto something. Roses do not smell like poop, not literally anyway (and thank God), but they do smell differently than the infamous ones from the Middle Ages and Persian empire due to the mass hybridization and creation of species.
To put it simply, because of our poets painters, and past kings and queens we’ve been led to believe in the cult of the rose. We associate them with love because they’re red like our beating passionate hearts, or they’re pink like our fingertips, our they’re yellow like the sun as it glints off skin. Basically roses represent our expectations. We want the complexity of the way rose petals wrap around one another. We want the unrivaled beauty of the rich red or light amber. We want the purest smell. We want our love to be like roses.
When you put it that way it’s popularity in perfume becomes rather easy. Who wouldn’t want to smell like their greatest love affair?
*Thanks for reading,