I love candles. Specifically, I love a fancy, scented candle. Who doesn't?
I consider Diptyque candles as the gateway expensive candle. You start with a or , basically any of the scents that you'd try to avoid saying out loud because you have no idea how to pronounce them, so your voice just goes up at the end like an invisible question marké?? They cost $64. I know. I'm also a big fan of Nest―the scent is a delight and the smells just like Christmas. They are $40.
One of my favorites, however, is a candle from Coqui Coqui () that I bought in Tulum when I was on vacation with some girlfriends. "Whenever I smell this, I'll think of Tulum and my friends and wine and sitting on the sand eating all the things, feeling happy," I thought to myself sentimentally as I sniffed the glass dome covering the tobacco-scented candle (Surprise! That's what you're supposed to do with those candle covers! It's not just decoration!), pre-nostalgia helping to rationalize the purchase. You can't put a price on memories, amirite? Except, you know, they did. But I bought it, and when I returned home, I took the precious thing out of its canvas cocoon and placed it on the mantle in my apartment: chic, glorious, deep feelings, good smells, scented memories that would last forever, etc.
Sixteen months later, I returned home from work on what I thought was a normal, regular ole day, to find my apartment smelling faintly fantastic. Suspiciously fantastic. Wine-and-friends-and-sitting-on-the-sand-eating-all-the-things-feeling-happy fantastic.
Someone had lit my candle.
"But Sally, aren't candles supposed to be lit?" You might ask, head tilted. No, not SIXTY-FIVE DOLLAR CANDLES, FRIEND. Sixty-five dollar candles are meant to be admired, sniffed, dreamt about, saved for special occasions that would never actually come because what occasion could possibly be special enough for a $65 candle?
I had fantasies of burning this thing on an epic Me Night where I listened to Natalie Imbruglia and took a bubble bath and opened a bottle of that wine drank on their wedding day on the QE2 in The Parent Trap. Or for when JK Rowling released her secret Harry Potter sequel (no, ). The point is, I was saving it for something special/forever, and it was burning.
The culprit: My boyfriend, whom I live with, who had taken the candle from the mantle and lit it while he was taking a nonspecial shower and had kept it burning while he was doing nonspecial work at his nonspecial desk.
Because I didn't want to seem completely crazy, I had merely a mini meltdown and swiftly blew out the candle, replaced it with a not-so-fancy stand-in, and returned the Coqui Coqui, hot and wonderfully fragrant, to its home. Tragic. I tried to explain that it was not a candle that was meant to be lit, and while he understood that this candle was somehow special and maybe had secret powers and it's probably best in some situations to just smile and nod, I don't think he got it.
I love these candles, but I am not buying them for myself on the reg. They are cherished gifts or mad splurges. They are special. When I go to a friend's house and she casually has a Diptyque burning unchecked in the bathroom, I think, My God, I have fancy friends...because who has $65 to burn?
But I'm not the only Candle Prude. Two weeks ago I was at a friend's house for a group dinner and game night (#thisis30) and there, sitting on the table elegantly placed between the guac and cards (PSA: The Amazon description of this game sounds really lame, but it's actually A+) was a fragrant candle in pretty yellow glass. "Is that a Nest?" One of the male gamer guests asked our host. "No, it's actually ," she replied. "Oh, I was like, man, that's nice, those things are expensive," he said, moving to examine the candle. The coolest thing about the Jonathan Adler candle, she explained, is that when the wax is done burning, you're left with a fancy drinking glass. "WHAT?!?!" the group SHOUTED (okay, they didn't shout, but we were all excited...#thisis30). She went to the kitchen and retrieved a pretty yellow glass that we all passed around. The candle is .
It was gratifying to know that I was not alone―that others marvel at people who throw caution/matches/candle wax to the wind and burn with abandon. I recognize that candles are meant to be enjoyed―what's the point if you don't use them, right? And trust me, I want to use them―if I was told we only had 60 hours left on this planet, I'd light 'em up, but like fancy soap in the shape of flowers or Cinderella slippers, they just feel too special to use.
The good news is that I'm still with my boyfriend and he hasn't gone rogue on the Sacred Coqui Coqui since. Plus, thanks to the wonderful smells at my favorite breakfast place in Williamsburg, the name of which I cannot reveal because I hate lines, I have discovered Mrs. Meyers candles, which cost . These will now live in my bathroom (highly recommend the lavender scent), and I will burn them swiftly and unrepentantly, while my sweet, expensive Diptyques can remain untouched, lightly scenting a room sans burn.
So now, if you ever come over and I'm burning a Baies, you'll know I'm feeling really fancy―or the world is ending in a few hours. (And, please feel free to get me some expensive candles for my birthday, but know, I will never, ever burn them.)