Eau De Toilette

The smell of Paris in the springtimeor the Brea Mall in December

Photo by Amy Thelig "Buy my fragrance. It's sexy and hot—and so are all of you." This was the eloquent and understated conclusion to Paris Hilton's 30-second address during her appearance at Robinsons-May in the Brea Mall on Dec. 5—words that some fans had waited for since they lined up outside the mall at 1 a.m. to spend the night shivering in a near-freezing winter rainstorm. Never mind that Paris had arrived an hour late to the mall—like, it was raining, okay, and her limo had been, like, stuck in traffic—or that the "sexy and hot" crowd of fans gathered included a significant number of preteen and tween girls. They cheered anyway, as did their mothers. And fathers. And brothers. Even—especially—the straight ones.

"I was so tongue-tied," squeaked one fan after meeting Paris, her signed photograph sticking out from the pages of Paris' Confessions of an Heiress: A Tongue-in-Chic Peek Behind the Pose. "I'm almost done with the book," she said, running a hand through her bleached-blonde hair. "It just makes you wish you were her."

And it seemed everyone in attendance wanted to be like Paris, including one 10-or-so-year-old with a gold tiara, a Miss Hawaiian Tropic sash over her sparkly pink dress and a cell phone clipped to her white boots. Even Paris' father, Rick, was in awe of his daughter, recording the event and fan frenzy on his teensy, hand-held camcorder. But—as most of the country often wonders—why?

"She's like Mary-Kate and Ashley," explained Alicia, an 18-year-old from Chino Hills who had been at the mall since 9 a.m. "They can't act, but they've got . . . something. You know?"

"I think she's really pretty," an eight-year-old fan said, her soft voice trailing off, presumably into daydreams of pink bedrooms and princess beds. "And I like her dog."

And as Paris beauty-queen waved and blew air kisses to the crowd—did you notice her pink bejeweled handbag; large pink-diamond crucifix; and brilliant, sparkly pink pumps?—it felt like she certainly did have something, even if it's an "I'll never wear this dress twice/my pink bling is worth more than your life/I could buy the city of Brea with my Centurion Card if I wanted to"-type something. Which may be why the middle-aged mothers and fathers in the crowd were equally as excited to see Paris as their daughters: Paris may in fact be, as recently depicted on South Park, a "stupid spoiled whore," but she's a stupid, spoiled whore who is really, really, really rich. Forget the air-headed, strung-out girl in the sex tapes—Paris' elegance alone is worth waiting for.

As for her fragrance, which retails between $39.99 and $49.99 and is simply named Paris Hilton—and which contains a "secret" ingredient "guaranteed to enhance the wearer's allure"—it's, well, foul, something like a citrus-scented hand sanitizer you'd find for $7.99 at Bath & Body Works. It's doubtful Paris will ever wear it herself—"She's heading for the Clinique counter, for Christ's sake," we overheard one store employee say as Paris waltzed through the crowd—but then again, that's never the issue with celebrity products. Paris Hilton—the person—already is a star. She knows how she smells. We, fortunately or not, don't. But as the tagline for Paris Hilton—the fragrance—promises, "Now you have the opportunity to share a bit of the magic that is Paris Hilton. Find out what it smells like to a [sic] be a Star."

Only a word of caution to the teens and tweens: Being a stupid, spoiled, who—ahem, Star? It stinks.

 
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