Originally Posted by Al Gae
Actually, I wouldn't dismiss the possibility of environmental changes affecting the hormonal development of unborn children. The post-industrial levels of all things chemical in the environment have changed drastically over the past 100 years, and at birth, we are all a product of what our mothers have taken in (among other things, of course)... All I'm trying to say here is that I wouldn't be surprised if our tastes for sensory inputs (such as scent) are somewhat formed in the womb, partially determined by the environ of our incubator (mom). Throughout the developing world, different regions have differing levels of chemical invasions, which could easily account for differing cultural tastes.
It's possible, if not entirely plausible - I just really, honestly don't believe that women in the Western world today buy more floral perfumes than men because they are somehow hormonally, biologically more inclined to want to smell like flowers. I don't. I think the entire notion is silly.
However, that says nothing about gender preferences, which is what this thread is really about. I don't think I have any thoughts on the subject that someone hasn't already mentioned. Although personally, growing up in a masculine environment (think rodeos and snowplows), I certainly feel uncomfortable wearing overly floral scents (including those in the men's department). I definitely feel this is due to the fact that I'm socially adjusted to expect natural smells. Where I grew up, a man, in the course of a normal day, may smell like leather, or wood, or even spices, but seldom flowers. This has definitely influenced the notes I prefer in my fragrances. Fortunately, I've lived in LA long enough now that I could feel comfortable in a feminine-marketed fragrance, as long as I enjoy the notes, just not a floral one!
So do I. I'm not comfortable wearing sweet girly florals at all, and I'm a woman, rather a traditionally feminine one in some ways at that, if not gender politics! I grew up in a household dominated by women, and I've been gardening since I was a kid (among many other activities, far from all of them girly or traditionally feminine), but I still don't want to smell like flowers. I like swimming too, and was the kind of kid who doesn't come out of the water until someone puts their foot down, but I don't like aquatics. I have always had a sweet tooth, still do, but I don't much care for gourmands. I never rode or came in contact with large animals much, but I love Dzing! and other leathery, animalic fragrances. Neither did I have a mother or grandmother who smelled of old-fashioned powder, but I still love powdery notes.
I did have a grandfather and mother who did some forestry work and took me out in the woods a lot, and I love woody notes. Fancy that!
Bottom line; you are not necessarily the perfumes you like, and it's possible, even plausible, that we just like the somewhat random things we like, complex individuals as we are.