We've known each other for more than 30 years, and I'm still learning new things about him. This weekend it was all about scented candles.
Most of us enjoy the aroma of a nice scented candle. I do. I guess I didn't realize he did. I never really thought about it. As chief procurement officer of my domicile, I typically choose the scent to which we subject our sniffers.
In an attempt to bring nature inside, I gravitate toward fresh, outdoorsy fragrances. Pine and eucalyptus are two of my favorites. I prefer my kitchen to smell like a forest. I also take into consideration wax color because a scented candle should not only smell good; it should look good too.
Not everyone is a back-to-nature scent-sation seeker. Some want their kitchen to smell like a kitchen — one that bakes homemade cookies, pecan pie or maybe apple cobbler — of the wax variety. There isn't a candle that smells like beef stew or split pea soup — at least not that I know of, but someone is probably inventing such a product right now.
Many people enjoy floral fragrances. It's like having a flaming bouquet of roses or lilacs or gardenias right on your counter — except without any real flowers.
Then there are the dreamers. They prefer candles that create a mood and are labeled with names such as Paris café, crisp morning air or mahogany driftwood.
I have a friend who likes to go on tropical holidays courtesy of her candles. She picks flavors like tiki colada or coconut Malibu dream. The scents transport her to a pristine beach on an island in the sun — all without paying any airfare. She is a smart friend.
There are candles for those who want to imbibe without the imbibing — chocolate martini, cherry merlot and champagne fizz are a few of my favorites. You can even get a candle infused with the aroma of beer, although I'm not sure why — to each their own.
There are practically infinite choices for candle scents. And, although I can tell you the favorites of most of my friends, I'm a bit embarrassed to admit I'd never explored preference from my husband's perspective, until last weekend.
During an innocent errand to the store we ventured by the candle aisle. I suggested getting one.
"Which kind?" he asked.
In a moment of marital selflessness I said, "You pick."
I figured he'd go with something like, forest floor, or juniper or maybe even the one called simply "wood," because that's the kind I would have chosen and the kind we've always burned in our kitchen.
He bypassed all of the above and surprised me.
"Peach," he said, putting the peach-colored candle into the cart.
"Peach?" I asked.
"Yeah," he said. "I like the smell of peaches."
I couldn't argue with his obvious and indisputable logic. I didn't even mention (out loud) that the peach candle was a complete mismatch for our kitchen décor. That made for two acts of marital altruism in one day — nearly a record for me.
We took the candle home and lit the wick. The room filled with a warm fruity scent — fresh, simple, sweet, peachy.
Maybe peach wasn't my first choice, but it wasn't all bad. I kind of liked it. The same way I like learning new things about the guy who goes on errands with me to the store. Besides, it could have been worse. He could have picked one that smelled like beer.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.