I’m not a Candle Guy

There is an e-mail exchange which takes place after I’ve reviewed a perfume which has a companion candle. I am asked how the candle compares to the perfume. My answer is always the same, “Sorry, I’m not a candle guy.” My fellow editor when I was writing at CaFleureBon, Tama Blough, found candles as compelling as the liquid she wore. We had many e-mail exchanges and because I respected her so much I burned way more than I would have on my own.

It seems like every winter I decide that maybe this one will open my eyes. Then it doesn’t move me to light it again. There is a shelf of many candles with burnt wick and hardly any of the candle burned down. I’ve sent a lot of them away without a thought. I get much more Gollum-like when it comes to mailing away a bottle. They are beautifully displayed and they contain a scent I generally like enough to have my whole house smell like it. So why am I unmoved?


I think it took a discussion with an artist friend who passed on some insight into my appreciation of art I hadn’t considered. We were at a recent opening and I was mesmerized by these motion sculptures the artist had displayed in the center of the gallery. The artist had also done some paintings which hung on the wall. I gave them a quick walkthrough and then I was back with the motion sculptures. When we were out getting something to eat afterward my friend asked me about the paintings and I admitted I gave them a cursory examination. He chuckled in that knowing way of a good friend and said, “Of course you did.” When I asked for clarification he related to me that it was his observation that I am always drawn to art which has some kind of aspect which allows me to walk around it in a state of constant analysis. It was his opinion that things in motion are more appealing to me than things which are fixed.

I think that is the reason I’m not a candle guy. When I wear perfume it is in constant development on my skin changing, challenging me as it develops to follow along with it. Candles are static they ask me to enjoy the same experience but as something concentrated into a consistent continuous experience. Based on the recent observation by my friend I think I might be incapable of truly appreciating that.

I am still open to the opportunity for some candle to change my opinion. But I suspect my answer will continue to be, “I’m not a candle guy.”

Mark Behnke

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