Boomtown Boudoir

Soiled Doves Smell Sweeter
April 11, 2007, 3:12 am
Filed under: Hyperbole, Perfume, strippers

While searching for a properly wanton graphic to substitute for actual content until I get my butt into gear, I was drawn into the bawdy world of the “soiled doves,” who were basically wild west hookers. “Soiled doves?” I yelled. “Neat! These are exactly the principles this blog stands for! Maverick promiscuity! Survival by feminine wiles! A powderpuff in a tumbleweed!” Something about the name “soiled dove” struck me as sort of charmingly quaint and a little gross at the same time, a combination I almost always approve of. Upon reading further on the soiled doves of the American West, I learned that the moniker was actually meant to be affectionate. Those were not the most politically correct of times, and “soiled dove” stood as sort of a hat-over-the-heart tribute to the women who dropped everything and followed the gold rush right along with the men, populating the boomtowns and making their fortunes the good old-fashioned way. Since there wasn’t an overabundance of wives around, everyone else was naturally very fond of

the local working girls. While I’m no historian, it strikes me that the wild west was a bit of a free-for-all. The usual moral standards probably weren’t worth their weight in gold dust, especially with everyone so busy mining and gambling and conning and drinking and shooting each other. It’s possible that the soiled doves were the most genteel, wholesome pasttime available at the time. I liked the idea that there was a good time in history to be a hooker.

But this is all just a big, long digression with interesting pictures. My primary interests lie not with the practice of being a wild west hooker itself, but in all the accoutrements that must have been on the cathouse dressing tables. Perfume, powder, lipstick, fake beauty marks; that kind of thing. Having retired from my own stint as a shameless hussy (stripper, not hooker, but who’s keeping tabs?) last year in order to pursue more serious, clothed… pursuits… I find myself not only wistful for all the fake eyelashes and gold highlighting dust and nipple rouge, but in the slightly ludicrous position of wanting it all to mean something. Not even the hours I’ve clocked in prancing around with my shirt off, writhing around under hypnotic blinking lights, and waking up in the mornings to find a dollar bill still firmly adhered to the buttcheek where it had been pasted by a sweaty hand the night prior. I mean the part where I got pretty.

I’ve spent too much time messing around with all the various products designed to raise a woman from her ordinary life into a heightened state of glamour not to have accumulated notions of the critical variety on the topic. Particularly of interest to me is perfume. I first started dabbling with intent during my strip club days. It was interesting to note the responses from various men as well as the women I worked with, but mostly I liked the added aura of subjective personality perfume seemed to project. It wasn’t long before I had a wardrobe of perfume as extensive as my wardrobe of slinky little schmattes that were easy to take off. There were bitchy, incense-heavy perfumes for when I was in no mood to take any shit, sweet florals for my lighthearted party-girl nights, sultry gourmands for the week before my rent was due, and cool, mercenary greens that reminded me to keep my eyes on the prize. It was the best psych-up trick imaginable. Only it wasn’t a trick. It was just perfume. Unlike false eyelashes or glue-on rhinestones, I could use it all the time. When I packed up my boobs and retired from the comfortably seedy fishbowl of the strip club, I kept the perfume obsession. Now it has become something of an olfactory talisman that bridges the gap between the smooth-talking, glitter-encrusted, sore-muscled dervish I once was (or at least pretended to be), and the somewhat tomboyish, rebellious nerd I have been delighted to rediscover.

This blog is about perfume, pioneering, and the call of the wild. Hope you enjoy.

Painting by by Shelley Schoneberg, All other images courtesy of


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