Elizabeth Gomez: An Open Letter to Scented Candles

Dear Scented Candles:

Cranberry, Lemon Lime, Pumpkin Spice, Spring Breeze, Clean Linen, Mango Strawberry Mojito, Holiday Forest, Gingerbread Picnic on a Warm Fucking Summer Day Where Unicorns Come to Dance….I hate you.

Apple Crisp, Butterscotch Pudding, Fireside, and Sweater Weather, whatever that means, makes me want to gag and then punch someone in the face. Where did my hate for scented candles begin? I have no idea, but I admit punching someone in the face is not the way to handle my dislike of any product made of wax and wicks.

My abhorrence may have begun when I was invited to a candle party, back in the 90’s. Where a friend of a friend sat me and 10 other women down to discuss the offerings of the PartyLite line. Where I had been a woman who had once only viewed candles as candles, I sat through the descriptions of tapered vs. pillar vs. votives vs. LED candles, which by the way, are automatically not candles because they are powered electronically.

Sitting through that party, which was just a meeting with lots of cheese, I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of person I had become. I never even used candles except when I needed… I NEVER NEEDED TO USE A GODDAMN CANDLE EVER! I have flashlights and electricity. In cases of romance, I would just close my eyes and imagine Mark Wahlberg without his shirt and with a brain; candles unnecessary. Now, I wondered if I was going to start caring about things like tupperware, Amway, and the latest Vera Bradley bags.

Here’s another thing I don’t understand. Why do intelligent ladies think it’s a good use of their time to listen to another intelligent woman give a peroration about cutting a wick before lighting a candle so that it has a cleaner burn? I am convinced that within those 10 minutes of intensive listening, we all drop 10 IQ points and deserve it. At least when we were discussing lifehack cleaning products, I was able to use the advice to deal with all the wine stains on my shirt from the 10 glasses of Malbec I needed to get through the party.

Also, ladies, can we stop trying to sell each other things from our homes, e.g. candles, dishes, dildos? I am convinced this is another form of females oppressing other females because only females are supportive enough to each other to endure this painful activity. Not once EVER has a man been forced to sit through his male counterpart’s presentation of the benefits of a ScentGlow Warmer. If there is a man that has, I would like to invite him to reach out to me so I can hold him while he cries in my arms.

Maybe someone can argue that the smell of these candles make for a lovely atmosphere. The sugary smell of cupcakes baking in the oven are always a pleasant smell, unless you’re me. If someone’s house smells like cupcakes, there better be motherfuckin cupcakes. When I find out that there aren’t any, I immediately assume that the homeowner must be on some weird LA diet where you smell your food and spend $150 a month on hand delivered scents like Big Mac.

My biggest problem with scented candles are the scents. When I smell them, they make my head hurt or they smell so sweet that my teeth grind. Maybe I’m crazy, I like the smells of people’s body and the ethnically diverse foods in their homes. When will candle manufactures consider making aromas that lift the nose to reflect our real surroundings? They already make ones called patchouli, even though everyone hates hippies, why not Kimchi and Rice Bowl or Old Cat?

If I were to search deeply into my heart for a good reason for scented candles, I think that only place I may like it is around a rotting corpse. Even then, I think a simple unscented candles would be much more appropriate than Madagascar Vanilla, especially, if you snip the wick before burning.




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