You'll have to tell us who it was and what he was wearing
Thread: Fragrance & Men?
(Did that title get anyone's attention?)
I met with a fellow BNer yesterday and, not surprisingly, he smelled GREAT. His scent was subtle and obviously of good quality. I have to admit, however, that most of the men in my life do not know how to wear fragrance, or they don't wear it at all. Over-application is a common mistake, as is wearing fragrance that does not suit one's skin or temperament. And many don't wear any fragrance at all, which is a pity. I'm starting to think our friends on the men's forum are a striking minority in their love of and sophistication regarding fragrance. Any thoughts about this? Explanations? Or do the men in your life usually smell great (lucky you!)?
Honestly you can turn this around from my point of view and reverse the pronouns and genders in lizzie_j's OP and it would still mostly hold true.
Style and the ability to carry it off in one's life is a rare trait no matter the gender. I think that BNers in general probably have a higher percentage of people who can do that just because of the subject matter that draws all of us here.
From personal experience I can tell you I don't run into many women who smell as good or interesting as sakecat22, ComDiva ,and Chaya. A big part of that is through trial and error we have all identified what works on us and actually care about this. I think there are people out there who wear what is popular even if it doesn't smell that great on them.
Lastly I can speak for myself when I have the opportunity to meet a fellow BNer I actually spend more time picking out my scent trying to think if they've commented on an SotD or if it contains a note or accord that I know they like. Honestly, these opportunities to really connect in real life are few and far between and I want to make an effort to rollout the scented red carpet,as it were.
More writing on fragrance by me to be found at http://www.cafleurebon.com/
That's amazing, I was just thinking about that very same thing! Perfume wearers are rare around here, and those that wear them well are like gold!
I've noticed that the lack of fragrance has made me hypersensitive to it. This doesn't mean I pick up on it from farther away or that I pick out notes or other delicate subtleties. It means that when I am in the presence of someone who knows what they're doing, I forget everything and become obsessed with the smell. I'm incredibly aware of it, and want to bury my nose in them! This is never the appropriate response, and its almost always complete strangers. (Happened once in a poker game and I lost a lot of chips!!)
The biggest shock of joining BN was seeing how many guys were on here, and how enthusiastic they are about fragrance!! I've never met a single guy with that kind of sensitivity. Most men around here are indifferent, not taking passionate interest in much of anything, and aren't the least bit sensual. Women here are about the same, but they'll be passionate about things like their pets and their favorite tv shows. Been having trouble making real friends ever since I moved here.
I wish we all weren't so far apart... must be the big irony of BN that we can't smell each other. But that would make us all the more driven to seeing each other in person. SMM, I loved your post!
I'm always a bit amused when I look at the community index and see 4 times as many viewers in the Male Fragrance sub-forum than the female one. What do you suppose that implies?
Anyhow, I don't think it's so unusual that men should be vehemently interested in fragrance. Try to make a list of other indulgences which can be carried out with as much discretion.
Cuff links? Okay
Watch? Borderline, depending on how flashy it is
Ruffled shirt? That's not so discrete... unless you're one pirate among 99 others
For those in the population who are more "concerned" about showing too much of their personality, the great news is that fragrances are exempt from that classification. The wonderful thing about fragrance is your ability to make it personal and discrete. Not only that, it's also lacking in stigma. What's the worst that can happen if someone discovers you like perfume? Be accused of being too sophisticated?
Granted, there's a bit of learning curve to get someone started. But after a proper introduction, I doubt many people would turn back.
Last edited by gaiger; 6th February 2009 at 11:21 PM.
I was all ready to say here here! , but I realize SMM and EM are right! It is that NO ONE I know is wearing perfume!
Though most of the women I know at least own a bottle or two.
A friend recently asked if it didn't concern me that perfume is politically incorrect. I asked her what was incorrect? Te ones with animal products? The allergy thing
She said no, her yoga teacher just says it isn't natural.. There' something unhealthy, un-centered, unnatural about wanting to wear scent,
A lot of women I know have perfume but they can't think of the name....Oh something nice....I think it's Bulgari.
Recently I asked a male friend if he wears fragrance. He says sometimes What? Dunno. Wife bought it. Wife? Dunno--oh wait, something by Burberry.
Around me it's mixed, some guys wear perfume, some don't wear anything (including deo). Some overspray some barely use the perfume.
Alex is using perfume every day now, he wacthed his application and bought HIMSELF third man after going through several samples. And he was offended I had packed away his perfume bottles today because we are moving. Those were HIS bottles etc etc. I'm very happy with this development..if a little worried. It's a big place were moving into but not big enough to support 2 ever increasing collections.
But once you get locked into a serious perfume collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.
Thanks for the enlightening, and spot-on comment!
Last edited by lizzie_j; 7th February 2009 at 12:17 AM.
To the OP: I've never gone out with a man who has considered scents an essential part of life (but on the plus side, I've also avoided the deodorant/cologne over-users). My husband tolerates my perfume obsession and has started to appreciate some elements of fragrance he probably didn't before. I've bought him some scents as presents, but he's mostly interested in whether I'll like how he smells in them. To me that's somehow a bit disappointing, but I shouldn't expect more - after all I may have learned the odd bit about Arsenal football club over the last couple of years, but that still doesn't make me a football fanatic.
Most of the men I am around do not wear scents. Many of my male students do, though, and they wear some truly heinous concoctions -- very cheap, metallic, body-wash-from-the-dollar-store stuff. Come to think of it, my female students also flaunt nasty stuff.
I like smelling great. That is its own reward. The fact that my female friends and potential dates notice is of little importance to me.
I don't judge women who aren't into packaging. Why do they judge people like me?
And men who wear scents tastefully that are well-chosen are like magical, elegance beings. It seems to go along with good taste in general and obvious refinement. I run across men like that occasionally and think, "Thank you, God." But they are few and far between. But I guess their female counterparts are just as rare.
I've only smelled one man who wore something that drew my attention ( 90% of men around here smell of nothing, the remaining 9% of generic aquatic deodorant type fragrances ). He smelled of something spicy; in the general area of CdG EdP but not it ( got a big hit of cinnamon and clove ). He looked Middle Eastern though, so this exception to the rule might be from another culture.
I must say my own interest in fragrance is unrelated to any interest in fashion ( my token nod towards looking good this year has been buying a shirt that wasn't black ), and came out an interest in incense and essential oils. I'm sure wearing Carnal Flower in combat boots is a fashion faux pas of some sort, but I don't care; it's very me.
I don't want to bring up controversial subjects ( and stereotypes are one ), but... am I the only gay man who's noticed how much fragrance tends to be despised by most gay men?
It may be my social circle, but while I've noticed women who complain about men who over-apply cologne or aftershave, the amount of gay men who cannot stand fragrance of any kind seem much, much higher. I've heard or read "I could never be attracted to a man who wore cologne" at least a hundred times, and only met one man who was the opposite ( who - and I won't read into anything into this coincidence - liked effeminate guys ).
As strange as it sounds, my fragrance hobby has a good chance of being something I can only enjoy while single.
Speaking of natural and yoga, I've given it some more thought and I don't know of any animals who contort themselves in different ridiculous positions together as a group in order to relax and for health reasons.
Back to the subject. I confess that I never cared much for appearance/frags for most of my life. It's not until the past year that I've noticed I've turned a few more women's heads than before. I look only average by any standards, but I think the ladies around here notice when a guy who walks confidently dressed in a well-cut, tastefully chosen clothes and always smells good for the occasion. And I know personal development is not about stylish clothes or the good choice in perfume themselves - but still, putting on those things on me in the morning make me feel: "Fuck Yeah!" (translated: "Wunderbar!" in Deutsch)
Galamb: After hearing what you say about gay men's reactions to fragrance, I'm glad I'm not gay.
And if the chick I'm prospecting as a date is one of those super-paranoid anti-scents types, it doesn't matter on how many other levels we're compatible, I'd just tell her sorry but it's just not going to work out.
My DH wears Tom Ford and Clarins for men but he doesn't use much . I did know one good soul of 70 who wore only Christian Dior fragrances- he's dead now but he spent 500 dollars a month on fragrance alone at the CD counter - no kidding. He'd spray himself morning ,noon and night. He had boxes of unopened fragrances at home when he died last year.
For sale. Carnal Flower and Vero Profumo Onda.
I have some positive and encouraging experiences to share here.
I'm a woman,38. My best friend is a man,34. He didn't use any cologne before I seriously got into perfumes 1½ years ago. I took him sniffing with me, introduced him the world of colognes and grooming products.
And what a surprise! He got into it and now carefully picks his colognes and EDT:s so they really match his skin. A few days ago he commented:
"You know, I've realized that colognes are meant to be USED, not to be stored and saved. I'll put some on even if I'm home alone because it makes me feel good!"
Also, I've given some carefully picked colognes as presents to the men around me (selfishly, wanting them to smell good for my pleasure, ofcourse) and the feedback's been great. They are mostly happy and say the colognes really work = They get attention from women, and who wouldn't want that...
At Christmas breakfast, I shared with my cousin (a man) about my life here on Basenotes, my fragrance reviews I write, etc. He was intrigued and a bit surprised, I think. I asked him if he 'thinks' about fragrance; is it important to him? He said it wasn't at all. He had to ask his wife what the name of the fragrance he wears every day was - to him, it was more of just another grooming product (shave gel, soap, etc).
Galamb - your story about the man who '...smelled of something spicy; in the general area of CdG EdP but not it ( got a big hit of cinnamon and clove ). He looked Middle Eastern though, so this exception to the rule might be from another culture...' makes me think about a similar story that bront82 told me about his friend who smelled (naturally) animalic. Everytime I wear Eau de Hermes I think of this story.
As to your theory that gay men, for the most part, do NOT like fragrances - I think I understand what you mean, but overall that's a generalization. Most gay men who are trying very hard to appear masculine, butch (whatever you want to call it) avoid colognes because to them fragrances appear 'feminine'. I say, they can SUCK IT. Of course, whenever I am in very close quarters with other men like this, I might not choose to wear my white florals - but, I always scent myself. There are tons of masculine fragrances and I've had opportunities to receive compliments from some of these same 'fragrance haters' on certain fragrances I've worn. Of course, whether they like the way I smell or not is really not important to me, at all.
Don't assume you'll only have to be single to enjoy wearing fragrances around men. Choose wisely: Your fragrances and your men.
Last edited by mikeperez23; 7th February 2009 at 07:58 PM.
Where I live in London UK many men wear frags, a high propotion. In fact quite a few wear good frags. These are mostly straight men, by the way. I am sure they are not frag obsessives like me, but they seem to have made good choices and wear their frags well.
When I have met some of the LA BNers, none of us wear any fragrance so we can save skin space for testing
I have to admit that my daily fragrances are chosen primarily to please myself. If I don't like it I don't wear it. I don't heavily spray anything and adjust the applied amount properly for heavily sillaged frags whenever I am to be with others. At home though I will sometimes be far more adventurous as to volume applied and heavy sillaged picks.
Other then the occasional splash of generic aftershaves I detect on one or two, none of my male friends use colognes or other fragrances. And, not a one has commented on my use of them. Strange..
Last edited by kbe; 7th February 2009 at 11:16 PM.
There are three kinds of people in this world: those who understand math and those who don't (four out of three people surveyed agree with this).
My husband has always worn something (and he's -- at least ostensibly -- straight.) Antaeus, then Sables and as of this year lots of good things that he chooses from the dozens of samples I thoughtfully provide. But he's French, so that might explain it.
I had a gay, masculine friend who'd pour a whole bottle of Jeniffer Lopez GLOW or some sweet Nina Ricci fragrance before going out. He'd go through a bottle a week! He actually destroyed my nose for good when he poured 30 sprays of Lolita Lempicka on me despite my protest, and I still can't smell certain things now :P
I have to say that I now pick more carefully before going out. In fact, I now always think of what I will be doing in the next few hours whenever I apply.
If I am staying at home, then I pour 4 samples I've never tried on 2 spots on 2 arms.
If I am going to work, I wear something unique but I don't hold back and would wear something even if it wasn't too safe, such as some strong incense, oud or leather scent.
Examples: Air du Desert Marocain, Avignon, some Oriscent oud, Royal English Leather, Musc Ravageur, Montale Black aoud.
If I am going to a place where you meet people your age (dance club, university night classes), then I would wear my best man fragrances that aren't likely to be a "love it or hate it" thing for most people.
Examples: Original Vetiver, Ambre Narguile, CDG Soda, Terre d'Hermes, Labo Rose, Dandy
Finally, if I am going to bed, then I unleash my female fragrances and fire a barrage at my bed and myself.
Examples: Jo Malone Nectarine Blossom and Honey, various Avon things a young lady would wear, some Yves Rocher fruit fragrances, CDG Burn Sugar...
Oh, and if I met a BNer, I would avoid anything on their OWN list and I'd probably wear something rare they might like or that is at least unique. Probably Ambre Narguilé, Air du Desert Marocain or Labo Rose.
Last edited by beltz; 10th February 2009 at 04:08 AM.
My other half is a soap only man, sadly. But the partners of two of my girlfriends are much more rewarding and we have now got a little ritual when we meet up whereby they proffer their necks for me to sniff. Husband A rotates Dior Homme, Chanel pour Monsieur and Antaeus, Boyfriend B owns Safari, BY by D & G and L'Instant de Guerlain, which I am pleased to say I gave him a decant of and which he has taken to wearing exclusively of late.
My brother is a born again perfumista ever since I sent him 40 samples of men's colognes, but beyond this small circle, the men I know are either non-wearers or occasional wearers of Allure Homme Sport and boring Gillette-man scents of that ilk.
"So many scents, so little skin"...
My husband (the anosmic) wears what I choose for him.
My two sons seem to have learned to scent themselves
with wonderful smelling edt's (and the ones I purchase for them have
given them expensive tastes!)
I have a theory (probably misguided) that young men scent themselves
when they are "on the pull" or still trying to impress a woman. After
that I think they kind of get lazy and only wear after-shaveif they are
going somewhere special. Please prove me wrong!!
But no, even before I became a basenoter, and am not on the prowl for girls, I knew that I wear perfumes for my own pleasure that it is the second thing I put on when I wake up in the morning.
And congrats on giving and teaching your sons excellence in taste in perfumes.
Do young men think of anything else, besides eating? I don't think I did...
But you may take comfort in the fact that you have 'laid the foundations' (no pun intended) for a life-long love of scent in your sons.
Speaking of yoga, as this thread was earlier, one of Ireland's most famous politicians happens to be a gay rights pioneer - and rather hirsute. He is also into yoga and likes to practice it in the nude. (He told this story against himself in an after-dinner speech.) One afternoon he was in his sitting room, bent into a rather extreme yoga position, in his pelt, when his elderly housekeeper walked into the room. She backed out quickly, apologising that she didn't realise the Senator 'had a guest.'
Speaking of men and scents, you will probably find that many men will be more aware of them than you realise, but simply wouldn't admit it in a million years. (Much too girly!) In fact, if men do talk actually about fragrances, it's usually with a woman, and not with another man. That is why BaseNotes is such a great place, because it offers us the anonymity of the internet coupled with communing with like-minded souls.
But men will certainly know what they DON'T like in a scent, and there will be no way to ever coax them into wearing a scent like that. For instance, my late wife loved Armani for Men. Much as I loved her, there was no way in Hell that I would ever have worn that fragrance, as her previous boyfriends had worn it, and I didn't want to remind her of past loves. (I think this was quite a primal response to the power of smell on memory.)
It could also be the fact that I would no more let a woman choose my scent than I would let her choose a tie for me. My tastes are much too specific and particular.
I have always been interested in scents myself, since buying all four of the Numero Uno scents when I was around 14, when all of my pals would have been dabbing Old Spice or Afta. Until recently I only ever owned one or two bottles at a time, which I would use up before buying a replacement. I was very fussy about the scents I wore and went to great trouble testing scents before choosing my next one. But I certainly would never have discussed them with anyone else, even my wife. In the two years since I discovered BN, I suddenly find myself with a whole collection.
How did that happen?
But I still won't talk about it with anyone outside these pages...
"I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered." - George Best
Thanks for sharing the above thoughts JanAlways and GourmandHomme.
I was being slightly controversial (on purpose) just to get some responses
from you boys. It's good to hear that some of you enjoy perfume for its
own sake as much as we ladies do! Keep up the good work.
Most men who have been in my life have excellent taste in fragrances, they just don't change around a whole lot like perfumistas do.
I think there are a lot of people with low self-esteem who attempt to use yoga to elevate themselves psychologically merely by appearing to be different from others, completely aside from any physical or mental benefits that might accrue from the yoga itself. I've also noticed that people who do yoga often waste no time in telling you that they are doing it, sort of like the office jerk who walks around exaggerating his muscle pain because he wants everyone to know that he lifts weights.
Here in West Los Angeles, men who wear fragrances appear to be mostly in two categories. One is the under-25 crowd, who bathe in Axe Body Spray hoping they won't have to leave the clubs alone. The other is the over-60 Old Spice crowd. The middle category seems to be a bit of a fragrance wasteland.