Some things are better enjoyed alone. My family already considers me eccentric at best and raving crazy at worst.
since i've been in this hobby for so long, i have been blind to this fact, but it generally feels, like (at least with the many people i talk to) that cologne has a sort of negative connotation with it. and it often misrepresents us as a community, and it really upsets me, especially since its a hobby that i care about (just like when other people may like collecting wine or upgrading cars).
negative connotations with the word cologne
- it is strong, musky, woody, and has an old-man smell
- it is mainly worn to pick up women
- it is overapplied and bathed in
there is a difference between male fragrance and cologne just as there is a difference between wine connoisseur and alcoholic.
it's perfectly palatable for a woman to have 40 perfumes (as well as 40 pairs of shoes), but it is less acceptable for men to do so.
question for men:
have you been met with this kind of clueless wonder from people who have no idea why you would want more than 2 fragrances, whether they be your friends, family, s.o.? did they eventually come to accept it as a respectable hobby?
Some things are better enjoyed alone. My family already considers me eccentric at best and raving crazy at worst.
People definitely think I'm strange for my obsession. My wife is finally coming around.
It does not have any negative connotations where I'm from. It's a word that people just use in general for whatever you may be wearing just like they do with the word "aftershave".
It's something I would enjoy sharing if someone shared the same interest but, ultimately I enjoy it by myself for the most part.
Imagine there were no hypothetical situations.
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I've gotten weird looks from people over at my apartment who saw a bottle of Acqua di Gio lying around. So if one bottle = weird looks, I'd hate to see what'd happen if they saw my entire collection.
I agree that there's some sort of negative connotation associated with "cologne". I've tried saying that I like "fragrances" instead, but I get weird looks with that too. I've pretty much given up trying to explain this hobby to friends or family. The only people who don't treat me like some oddball are the sales guys at Holt Renfrew (the most upscale place we have in town), so I end up going there and talking shop as often as possible.
I wonder how we could go about changing perceptions of this hobby. Is it as easy as using a new word (i.e., not "cologne")?
I agree most with your second bullet point. People tend to think that just because a man wears cologne, he is trying to get laid. But of course when a woman wears it, she is just trying to better her overall appearance. That's why I try to stick colognes that smell more office friendly and use the stronger, darker colognes to clubs because it's the norm.
My friends know me as "that guy", but it's always in a good way. Last year, I was a high schooler who rocked Creed, Bond, and Kilian (among others) and all of my female friends would compliment me, and all of my male friends envied me. My friends borrowed fragrances from me for prom night. Now I'm in college, and no one has thought of me as weird for it. I get praise, never anything negative.
Although... my parents thought I was crazy until I helped my dad pick out Noir Epices, and now they realize that I know what I'm talking about. And I owe most of it to Basenotes, so thanks to all of you that post on this forum.
nobody understands i try an explain but they just see it as weird and useless. i just stay quiet now about it now. i got you guys
noirdrakkar is quickly becoming my favorite poster. When you combine his trolling + awesome topics and reviews and stories (arrested but smelling so damn good the lady detective asked what he was wearing! LOLOL) it's the most entertaining stuff on here.
Back to the thread topic:
Yes I agree if has a negative connotation. A lot of people on here have this (possibly fake) bravado "I don't care what others think", "I wear perfume for me, I don't care if others like it" "I wear 40 sprays because I can", but remember base notes is the most militant fragheads in the world (just like some republican or liberal website will likely have the preach to the choir fans, for example) and not representative of the real world.
Men don't usually brag about "I own 50 colognes" just as they would brag about "I have 50 pro wrestling WWF dolls", but would easily brag about "I own 50 watches" or "I own 50 guns". I know the base notes stereotype reply "I don't care", but noirdrakkar touches on what the average person and society deals with regarding fragrances. It has become associated with either an effeminate quality (a "beauty product" similar to makeup and lipstick and unlike watches and tattoos, to many in society) or a over-the-top Wild-and-Crazy-Guys SNL imagery (dated reference, I know!).
Such is life. I enjoy my frags but don't go out of my way bragging to my co-workers or buddies about it since they don't share the passion.
Cologne seems to be the generic term for mens fragrances in the U.S. and this leads to some confusion here.
I drop into threads where people are talking about a 'cologne' when in fact it isn't an Eau de Cologne at all, it may be Eau de Toilette, Eau de Parfum or a Parfum / Extrait.
With respect, I think if you want to be taken even remotely seriously when talking about your hobby or collection or however you define it, it may be helpful to familiarize yourself with the basic terms involved. I have found that there are a lot of people who would like to know more about fragrance but don't know how or where to ask - and make no mistake, there is a major push on fragrances and toiletries aimed at the masculine market from the big companies, so there are a lot of confused people out there. Being able to explain things with some degree of knowledge can help people overcome ignorance or prejudice and open their world up a little.
Of course if they don't want to know then so be it, and if you don't want to take a step beyond labeling everything in a bottle as 'cologne' then just ignore all the above
Last edited by mr. reasonable; 10th September 2012 at 06:31 AM.
I'm somewhat of an eccentric decadent so people who know me know that I'm somewhat unusual. Having said that there is still a negative connotation with someone male owning a bunch of scents, so generally I don't even mention it to people. It's OK to people that I have about 20 electric guitars but strange to people that I would own a bunch of scents. I do once in a while use the word cologne (usually to someone who has just one scent and isn't really interested in any others) because calling it a scent might throw him off. The word cologne is often used interchangeably with the word aftershave by such people to the point that it does sound negative to me sometimes. Actually, even posting on a fragrance site would seem weird to those people.
20 electric guitars, but yeah that's the point.
i'm not going to judge a person with all of those guitars, because just like colognes not all guitars are the same. being in a hobby like this has put me in a position where i could be more open about other hobbies
I associate cologne with stuff like 4711 - light, citrusy stuff.
However, I do have that association with "aftershave", which can be an innocent product on its own, not necessarily cheap-smelling.
I share sugandaradga's understanding of the term cologne. It does not have a negative connotation. But yes, very few people around me appreciate my hightened interest in the subject. That's why this aromatic oasis (BN) is so vital an experience.
I don't hide it at all. If people ask about it I say that I'm into perfume (not "cologne"), that it's a hobby. If they seem curious about it I'll say that I got interested in it after reading about the history and science of perfume in a few books, and tried making my own, etc.
I don't hesitate to tell people how many bottles I have, either. I wear about a dozen of them in public, but the other 90+ bottles and decants are essentially an art collection.
I don't use the term "cologne" because it's inaccurate, but also because a "cologne collection" gives the impression that it's an arsenal of weapons of seduction, to my American ear. A perfume collection suggests a collection of rare, beautiful artifacts, some of which I actually wear (or so I tell myself).
Some older people think it's strange, but are generally too polite to comment. My father-in-law gives me crap about it sometimes, but in a good-natured way. None of my professional or personal acquaintances would ever comment negatively on it - they might see me as eccentric if anything. I'm not at a stage in my life where I am exposed to any peer pressure, so that makes it easy to just do what I want.
It would have been very different when I was in college. I think I would have tried the "open book" approach anyway. In that environment there are more people that are eager to take anyone down a peg or two, so it would have been a bit harder. I don't blame the younger guys that don't talk about it much for that reason.
It's nothing to be ashamed of, though, so you shouldn't have to act that way. The more people talk about it as a normal hobby that anyone, man or woman, may have, the less unheard-of it will be.
BTW ND - 183 thread started in 1000 posts. Damn!
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Not in my world. Men refer to a fragrance as cologne, women refer to a fragrance as perfume. No one around me has ever called a men's fragrance anything other than cologne.
Many people I know and work with are either expats or they know lots of expats, so they tend not to misinterpret, for the most part.
When I meet people that have only ever heard men's fragrances referred to as "cologne", I usually take a moment to explain that it's all called "perfume" in most of the world, and this is a peculiarity of the American market. If they are interested enough to have a conversation about it, they usually get it. After all, most brands have stopped labeling all mens fragrances as "Cologne" in the US and started using "Eau de Toilette/Parfum," so it's not so hard to accept.
Even Aramis is correctly labeled as an Eau de Toilette now - and that's as American as it gets.
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Most of my friends considered me at least slightly eccentric or awkward, if not worse, but at least I made my family and some of my acquaintances accept it. Where I live, not just cologne, also the term fragrance in general is attached to a social stigma and associated with being backward, impractical, overspending etc. and even worse again. Unless of course one wears crowd-pleasers like ADG, Le Male, Cool Water, CK One and more like these, wearing cologne is not so much of an outrage in such cases.
Just makes me think that I'm dealing with a philistine.
There's a negative connotation because too many people misuse scents by wearing too much, meaning they become a nuisance. One reason people misuse scents is that they're desperate for attention. Instead of wanting to smell good, they want everyone to notice they smell good. That seems reasonable enough, but people don't tend to walk around pointing out everything they notice. "Hey, that's a nice jacket!" "Ooh, those are great shoes." "Man, that's a great watch." Sure, people occasionally do this, but in general, not so much. And, so, Cologne Guy wears even more scent in order to make absolutely sure everyone notices and can't help but comment on the smell.
It's kind of like the difference between someone who has a great singing voice and someone who walks around singing along with every song they hear on the radio because they need people to know they have a great singing voice. Hopefully you've never met anyone like this, but if you have, I'm sure you're thinking "Oh, god, I HATE that."
- Wear a little and most who notice will think you smell good. Will enough people notice to make you happy? I guess that depends on how desperate you are for their attention.
- Wear a lot in order to get noticed and you'll smell like cologne instead of smelling like someone who smells good.
It's never hard to spot someone who is desperate for attention. It's a classic case of one bad apple ruining the bunch.
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I've never given it any thought, to be honest. When you stop trying to be what you think others want you to be or what you think you're supposed to be, or what you think it's cool to be, you'll finally learn to enjoy being yourself, and you'll then notice all sorts of things that used to be a big deal which aren't a big deal at all. Part of this comes naturally with growing older. You realize that trying to fit in is just as ridiculous as trying to stand out or trying to be unique. If you have to try to be unique, it means you're not. That's why you have to fake it by trying. Don't try to be anything. Just Be You.have you been met with this kind of clueless wonder from people who have no idea why you would want more than 2 fragrances, whether they be your friends, family, s.o.? did they eventually come to accept it as a respectable hobby?
My collection of fragrances is small by standards here, but it's large compared to what most men have. I also own more jackets than the average man. Do my friends think that's weird? I don't know. What I do know is, they think I smell good and they think I'm well dressed. I know this because those have been two recurring comments from friends and dates. The jackets, by the way, tend to be stylish yet casual and never loud. I like to look good, but I do this for myself rather than to make people stop and notice that I look good. I just enjoy being a well dressed man. As far as scents go, I'm a 2 to 3 spray guy. 4 for me is an absolute max.
Your hobbies are for you. What others think is irrelevant. Enjoy your hobbies. Just be you.
Last edited by L'Homme Blanc Individuel; 10th September 2012 at 08:22 PM.
The replies to the original post have diverged in two directions: those who think the question is about whether they have negative associations with the word, and those who think the question is about other people and their possible negative connotations. It seems to come down to whether one cares what other people may think or not.
I've come to believe that we can't know what other people are thinking unless we ask them, so worrying about it and adapting one's behavior to what one thinks others might be thinking is futile and furthermore, exhausting.
I don't use the word Cologne unless I'm referring to the city in Germany, in English. In German it is Köln. Eau de Cologne (plural Eaux de Cologne) is literally, water of Cologne. "Cologne" as a general term for men's perfume is simply inaccurate. As such, it bothers me. It leads to confusion. EdC refers only to a single, specific style of scent, of which there are many examples, epitomized today by 4711 Echt Kölnisch Wasser ("Real Cologne Water") and Eau de Guerlain ("Guerlain's Water"), namely a refreshing, fleeting citrus scent at high dilution. The OED defines Eau de Cologne thus: a toilet water with a strong scent, originally made in Cologne.
Try telling people about your toilet water collection and see how they react.
Excellent post #26 by L'Homme Blanc Individuel.
Agree 100%. As long as one doesn't obsess over them, dressing well and smelling good reflect a healthy measure of self-respect.
In the area I'm from, "cologne" refers to all fragrance, masculine or feminine, and it has kind of a negative connotation. It refers to something loud and stinky that makes your nose hairs curl and your eyes water and generally offends everyone in the room. Sadly, this is kind of how fragrance is looked upon anyway--it's pretty far down on the list of necessary grooming items and is mainly used by vain people who don't think twice about subjecting the general public to headache-inducing scents. Thinking back, it's kind of easy to understand why a lot of people hold this view because growing up, the only fragrances I ever saw or smelled came from Avon and they were the most hideous concoctions ever. Even now, my family still doesn't really get it, but they're still willing to humor me and buy me gifts of "that stinky stuff" at Christmas, so I'm still holding out hope that one day they'll come around.
Most people, at least here in the U.S., think the words perfume and cologne mean the same thing except perfume means it's for women and cologne means it's for men, kind of like how a button down for men is a shirt but for a woman it's a blouse. I was on a date yesterday and got a compliment. She said "I don't know what cologne you wear, but, yeah. You smell... really good." Do I correct her and say "Actually, it's an EdT." Of course not. People use the word cologne as an overall genre that covers all fragrance for men, even though that's not correct use of the word. It's kind of like how Alternative is often used as an overall genre of music that covers many sub-genres. Right or wrong (very often wrong), it's what people do. I'm ok with that. To me, good music is good regardless of what genre somebody labels it as, and GphII makes me smell great regardless of whether somebody calls it cologne, perfume, or something else entirely.
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...by the way... I think language is a fascinating topic. Culture too.
Even today, walk into Macy's and the SA's still won't call them perfumes for Men.