The next time I take a bath, I might be smelling like something Bath & Body Works calls “Moonlight Path.” Whether the name implies that lunar radiation has a scent or that the fragrance recalls a garden path at dusk, I don’t know. If I get to feeling experimental, I could mix it up and see what lavender-vanilla, eucalyptus-spearmint, and Moonlight Path smell like—or what kind of explosion they trigger—when put together in a bubble bath. Should the act of bathing in my own dirt require a subsequent shower, I might scrub away the filmy filth with a dollop of cucumber-melon body wash. To keep my skin from drying out after toweling, I might want to rub on some Japanese-cherry-blossom lotion or eucalyptus-spearmint body cream. Or maybe the lavender-vanilla lotion would be better for helping me get to sleep.

My friends and family have sent a clear message with this year’s birthday gifts: I need to smell better. Prior to my birthday, which was Sunday, I had treated myself to a new bottle of scented bubble bath and thought my toiletry collection was complete.  Then I got a package from my brother: bubble bath and lotion scented with lemongrass-cardamom, for stress relief. After that, an array of skincare products from Jenny with relaxing lavender, stress-relieving eucalyptus, and sensualizing cherry blossom. Imagine what would happen if all those substances were used in precisely the right combination–I could get a good night’s rest, wake up energized, remain even-keeled throughout a stressful workday, and be found attractive by every man riding the evening bus.

Seriously, I don’t know if aromatherapy really works. I moisturized myself with lemongrass-cardamom today and still got pretty stressed. Maybe the trick is to re-apply it every couple of hours, like sunblock. But I’ll settle for the nice placebo effect I get when applying scented lotion, or soaking in a flowery bubble bath, and thinking, This will make everything okay for a little while.

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