I was never wild about roses. I find them to be, simultaneously, dowdy and vulgar. A rose is the fat lady at the circus, her rouge slapped on with a garden trowel, clashing with her sloppy loud lipstick. As you might expect from such a one, her perfume is too heavy; cloying, even nauseating up too close or in an enclosed space. Roses evoke sagging jowls, gelatinous chins, absurdly ponderous breasts. They seem anachronistic, like they belong to the century before last. Just like the circus fat lady.

I was never wild about roses.

The flowers I like are, simultaneously, athletic and dainty. My flowers are the trapeze artists. Slim, light on their feet, with good posture, firm skin. Gerberas, California poppies and plumeria. My top three in varying order depending on my mood. Only one perfumed. A gerbera was there when I had a life-changing epiphany. Poppies are Oz and home and childhood and heat and sunlight. I tripped, in more ways than one, through a world carpeted in plumeria in my tropical youth. I used them to stop my migraines before anyone ever thought of the word aromatherapy.

But after a long, cold and particularly dreary Paris winter, I was glad for the refuge of the fat lady’s arms when I went to Marie Antoinette’s famous rose garden at Bagatelle in the Bois de Boulogne yesterday, the first day I’ve felt that spring was in full force. I got too much sun.

There were hundreds of the usual plump and puffy matrons there, as you can imagine, but I enjoyed their company immensely. I soaked them up with every sense, my California soul being so blossom deprived…

There was one other time when I spent hours and hours communing with roses. There was a time when flowers were my salvation. But I won’t get all weird on you.

I was with a good friend yesterday, and we joked about how roses are old lady flowers, but she is a rose lady, has grown to love them over time. I guess I could end up being a rose lady too, if my roses looked like this one, the only one I saw that I could relate to and with which I fell madly in love. I couldn’t find its name.

But it’s my kind of rose.