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  1. #1

    Default "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    This has happened to me more than once. Once, I asked if Lacome's Hypnose at Macy's was unisex. I'm not saying that it is unisex but she said in the most forceful tone possible "No. No. No! This is for WOMEN!". She was never that emphatic before. Another occasion, I was smelling Hermes Jardin de Mediterrane and the SA at Sephora said "This is for women". I said "No, Hermes lists it as Unisex" and she gave some condescending reply.

    Most recently I asked the SA at Neiman Marcus to smell Jardin d' Amalfi and she said it's for women. I replied that it's unisex and she rolled her eyes in disgust. The man next to her said "well.. maybe it is" in a salesman tone.

    There's often a disconnect between the manufacturer markets as and what the sellers pitch.

    What's with the attitude? And this attitude only happens when we talk about gender. Like if I were to say there's a mandarin note in a fragrance when there isn't, it's not a big deal. But gender is where you see the emotion come out.

    The little feminist inside my head has a lot to say about this but I don't want to talk about gender equality as a whole. I moreso want to talk about the significance of gender in fragrances.

    These experiences are a bit embarassing. I know that I'm right and I know more about fragrances than they do (AND THEY SELL THESE FOR A LIVING). But I just suck up my pride instead of argue.

    Do you think exclusionary marketing is essential to the industry? Aka "This is YOUR fragrance because you are a woman. No man could ever wear this.". Because I really don't see Jardin d'Amalfi and Millesime Imperial as barbie dolls and monster trucks, respectively.
    Last edited by SereneGreen; 16th February 2014 at 12:11 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    I think it depends on where you are shopping. Macy's and Sephora--yes, I expect their SAs might not know much about the scents and would consider a fragrance placed in the "female" section to be female and vice versa for men. However, most niche perfumers either mark their scents "unisex" or suggest that something might be more appropriate for a particular gender without making a big deal about it. Can't you just ignore what the SAs say and test what you like?

    It doesn't matter to me what sex the scent is marketed toward--I wear what I want no matter what the designation. Today I'm wearing Knize Ten and I smell really good.

  3. #3

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Quote Originally Posted by foxbins View Post
    Can't you just ignore what the SAs say and test what you like?
    Yes, I can and I do. I just don't like the weird looks. Not that I change my behavior due to what other people think, but it was quite unfortunate that it becomes a scene whenever I ask to try a Jardin fragrance.

  4. #4
    Basenotes Junkie Trilby Lark's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    I recently purchased Tuscan Leather for myself in the men's department at Nordstrom and the male SA didn't bat an eye. In response to my question about female customers, he responded that 30 percent of his customers are women. So I think where you shop (Nordstrom) and what you are interested in (Tom Ford) makes a difference.

  5. #5

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    A quite similar experience happened to me with Mugler Colgne sometime ago, including the fact that the SA insisted it's a female fragrance and not really unisex.

  6. #6
    Dependent Akahina's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Just tell them you cross dress at night and ask for help with size 16 pumps. That will shut them up.
    Some Favorites
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    2. Dior Leather Oud
    3. Perris Monte Carlo Oud Imperial Black
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    6. Byredo Bullion
    7. Norma Kamali Incense


    Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.

  7. #7

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    If you like a particular fragrance, don't pay the SA's any attention. Just purchase what you like.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    i have found that the SA experience in terms of their overall knowledge and understanding of how fragrance can blur gender boundaries is much better at certain high level stores than at others.
    Remember that while it is perfectly acceptable to criticize the content of a post - criticizing the poster is not.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    The thing to keep in mind about SAs is that they aren't perfume experts. They haven't studied perfumery. They're people who are working retail to pay the bills, often for low wages. Few stores can afford to hire the sort of talent and expertise we'd like to expect, and this is true for perfume, or audio gear, or clothing, or whatever else. Higher end stores tend to be able to pay their SAs at least a little better, so they tend to get better people and they tend to hang on to them longer - but "better" is often more a matter of having better people-skills rather than having better knowledge. I went to Nordstrom once when it was obvious the woman at the Bond counter didn't have a clue about Bonds. In that sort of scenario, it makes sense to just be friendly. Well, you should always be friendly, in my opinion. That day, it really worked out for me though. At one point, she came right out and said "I've never worked this counter before, so let's go through as many as you want. It's helping me too." That was great.

    Macy's is not somewhere to go if you're looking for expertise. I would expect someone at Neiman's to at least have a clue about the department he or she is working in... but even there, you need to remember that SAs are just people working retail to pay the bills. They're not experts.

    In my experience, the more friendly I am with a sales person, the better of an experience I tend to have.
    "Follow your nose. It always knows." -- Toucan Sam

  10. #10
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    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Akahina View Post
    Just tell them you cross dress at night and ask for help with size 16 pumps. That will shut them up.

    Ha ha ha

    May be we should criss dressing in long girly dress to shop 'unisex' or 'feminine' perfumes.


    Do not pay attention to the SA, wear what you like.


    I wear vintage Mitsouko, all Hermes Jardin Line, and some borderline feminine scents.



    Most Department Store SA are not perfume expert, they just selling fragrance for living.
    ***My favourite from my collection***

    -------- Amouage Tribute Attar
    ------ Serge Lutens: Ambre Sultan
    -------- Les Exclusifs de Chanel: Sycamore
    ------ Amouage: Fate Man
    -------- Amouage: Epic Man
    ------ Tom Ford Private Blend: Noir de Noir
    -------- Terre D'Hermès Pure Parfum
    ------ EDP FM: Carnal Flower
    -------- Neela Vermire Creations: Trayee
    ------ Dior: Leather Oud
    ------- Hermèssence: Ambre Narguilé

  11. #11

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Quote Originally Posted by SereneGreen View Post
    Do you think exclusionary marketing is essential to the industry? Aka "This is YOUR fragrance because you are a woman. No man could ever wear this.". Because I really don't see Jardin d'Amalfi and Millesime Imperial as barbie dolls and monster trucks, respectively.
    Well, some men collect Barbie dolls. And some women drive trucks. So it seems that you, like all of us, have internalized some harmful male-female stereotypes without knowing it. It seems to be a distressing fact of our culture. Perhaps the sales assistant was just being practical. Perhaps she's seen a lot of men purchase on impulse and then want to return a fragrance they thought was, after all, too feminine for men.

    Why is there a Male Fragrance Discussion board and a Female Fragrance Discussion board? Why do stores separate male and female fragrances? Why do online stores classify fragrances as male, female or unisex? Why do bloggers talk about male fragrances? Why do reviews refer to fragrances that way? I assume because that's how people think. Again, I blame our culture, and certain unconscious stereotypes we pick up as we grow. Because I assure you that toddler boys will play with the "girl toys" and toddler girls will play with the "boy toys."

    If you want to wear a fragrance, do it. I am a woman and I wear Guerlain Vetiver and Knize Ten. I love it when a man wears a flowery or rosy fragrance. Be yourself. It almost seems from your post that you might feel the need to have someone in authority -- the manufacturer or the store -- tell you something can be worn by a man to wear it. You don't need that. Be yourself. Don't let anyone tell you what a man does or wears. There are all different kinds of masculinity. (And of femininity.)

  12. #12
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    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    I have always said that if I were an SA I would say everything is unisex and sell you whatever you were interested in. I just had a thought though- Maybe they have been yelled at by dumb guys who liked something and bought it then found out it was "pour elle" and came back to return it.

    I might be overthinking it though. Lots of SAs just seem to be the type of people that want to act like they know something that you dont know. They seem to love to inform you of made up stuff.
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  13. #13
    Dependent Akahina's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Quote Originally Posted by heperd View Post
    I might be overthinking it though. Lots of SAs just seem to be the type of people that want to act like they know something that you dont know. They seem to love to inform you of made up stuff.
    Long ago I worked in an Indian Art gallery (native American) and one of the girls there told a customer that the Navajo invented weaving. Really? SAs will say almost anything stupid. They work for peanuts and most are not that smart or just don't care. Then again the general public can be pretty gullable too.
    Some Favorites
    1. Amouage Epic man
    2. Dior Leather Oud
    3. Perris Monte Carlo Oud Imperial Black
    4. Le Labo Patchouli 24
    5. Amouage Opus VII
    6. Byredo Bullion
    7. Norma Kamali Incense


    Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.

  14. #14

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Yep, I've had a SA nearly rip a bottle out of my hand - I think it was M7 - and tell me it's a man's fragrance. The thing to do is not freak out and become terribly offended. It's only perfume. Just smile, look her in the eye, and say "Yes, but I might like to wear it anyway." If enough people do that, maybe the SAs will lighten up.

    Also, in my experience, this has only ever happened with female SAs - has that been others' experience too?
    Last edited by Kagey; 16th February 2014 at 08:29 AM. Reason: forgot to add

  15. #15

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    I'm not a fan of the Mugler scents at all, but I'd read nothing but good (good to me at least) things about Womanity. I'd seen it referenced as smelling of sweat, salt, brine, lady-garden, rust, plastic, and blood among other things. Furthermore, I'd seen it described as a "trip to hell," "stinking to high heaven," "a wet dog, decomposing"; in short, it sounded wonderful. So I wandered into my local department store to check it out.

    It wasn't on the counter — it turns out that they keep this one locked away out of reach from customers (exciting!). So when I asked the female SA if they had it, she gave me a funny look and said, "it's a fragrance for women only." I swear she instantly pegged me as some weirdo creeper (I'm really not). Anyhow, I mentioned that I knew it was called "Womanity," but that I was absolutely interested in trying it. She said she'd be right back and instead of grabbing the scent, she went and got two other SAs to back her up. She then unlocked the case where they kept the bottle, placed it on the counter in front of me, and the three of them stepped back and stood there, watching as I tested it with a look of absolute horror on their faces.

    To me it was hilarious, but I pointed out that Womanity was considered to be an unusual and challenging fragrance—one that stood out from virtually everything else Mugler has produced. Once I started chatting with them about it, it broke the ice and they were intrigued by my interest. To me, their behaviour wasn't intentionally malicious — they simply didn't have many guys coming in asking for Womanity. So it doesn't really bother me whenever this kind of thing happens — nor do I take it personally. There's a good chance that if another man were to ever ask any of those SAs about Womanity again, they'd be able to talk about it in the same way they'd talk to a woman about it.

    So yes, gender issues certainly exist — and ideally a man should be able to shop the women's fragrance section of Sephora without being asked if they're looking for something for their wives (and vice verse etc.) — but if an SA is perhaps surprised or taken aback by a scenario such as the one above, there's a very good chance that it's just because they don't run into on a regular basis.
    Last edited by deadidol; 16th February 2014 at 08:57 AM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Mocha View Post
    Why is there a Male Fragrance Discussion board and a Female Fragrance Discussion board?
    A(wo)men! And this is why I've been pushing more and more posts to appear under "general" rather than one of the gendered boards. Not so long ago, that section of the forum was a ghost town -- largely because it had the word "industry" upfront. I (and others) were huge advocates if that word's demotion so that we could have a place that would allow for a more integrated discussion. Besides, there are few threads that appear in the FFD or the MFD that wouldn't work just as well under "general," so it's been nice to see that space pick up over the last few months.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mocha View Post
    If you want to wear a fragrance, do it. I am a woman and I wear Guerlain Vetiver and Knize Ten. I love it when a man wears a flowery or rosy fragrance. Be yourself. It almost seems from your post that you might feel the need to have someone in authority -- the manufacturer or the store -- tell you something can be worn by a man to wear it. You don't need that. Be yourself. Don't let anyone tell you what a man does or wears. There are all different kinds of masculinity. (And of femininity.)
    Totally agree, and Knize Ten smells fantastic on anyone -- both men and women!
    Last edited by deadidol; 16th February 2014 at 09:18 AM.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Kagey View Post
    Also, in my experience, this has only ever happened with female SAs - has that been others' experience too?
    I hadn't really thought about this but on reflection I would probably agree. Coincidentally this reared it's head only yesterday - the Mrs and I were in Debenhams on Oxford St and I was casually looking at Tom Ford's White Patchouli. An SA wandered over and informed me " that's really for her - these are the men's ones" (Tom Ford for Men and Extreme). This scenario has generally been a rare occurrence but from what I recall it has usually been female SAs who have tried to steer me elsewhere. I also agree with foxbins that it is store dependent - fast forward yesterday to Fortnum and Mason. Had a long chat with a male SA who was delighted to talk fragrance, gender and marketing never becoming an issue at all. His general viewpoint was basically "if you like it, then it's unisex" (he actually owned and wore the aforementioned White Patchouli himself). I walked away with Tiziana Terenzi's White Fire - a white floral, I'll wear proudly .
    Last edited by JON RODGERS; 16th February 2014 at 11:47 AM.

  18. #18
    Dependent Navyy8's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Don't find the SAs are ignorant of the unisex label department stores. Find they will push whatever you're leaning toward with one exception: SAs seem fanatical to label fragrances as "Kiddy" ones (ie AdG, BdC), which annoys me. As a customer whose worked in sales before I find this unacceptable.
    Always have a great experience at the Creed counter at Nieman Marcus. The male/ female thing is never an issue. Turns out she wears Silver Mountain Water as her signature (regarded as a mens fragrance), and I happen to like that one also.
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  19. #19

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Mocha View Post
    Well, some men collect Barbie dolls. And some women drive trucks. So it seems that you, like all of us, have internalized some harmful male-female stereotypes without knowing it.

    Why is there a Male Fragrance Discussion board and a Female Fragrance Discussion board? "
    I was being sarcastic with the "barbie doll/monster truck" thing. I totally agree that they're social constructs purely fabricated.

    As for the Male/Female boards. I don't think the divide is absolutely vital, nor is it an objective separation. I guess it's divided by the members interest as men come here to wear traditionally masculine fragrances and women wear traditionally feminine fragrances. This separation is purely artificial and can vanish in a heartbeat, but people on here like it so it will stay.

    Quote Originally Posted by heperd View Post
    I have always said that if I were an SA I would say everything is unisex and sell you whatever you were interested in. I just had a thought though- Maybe they have been yelled at by dumb guys who liked something and bought it then found out it was "pour elle" and came back to return it.

    I might be overthinking it though. Lots of SAs just seem to be the type of people that want to act like they know something that you dont know. They seem to love to inform you of made up stuff.
    Actually you may be onto something. It's like this with teachers too. Middle school history teachers for example will act like they know everything and put their full weight behind the shallowest of answers. Yet I've heard a lot more "I don't know's" from history professors with doctorates who gave thorough answers. It's kinda like this in the sense that the more you know about fragrances the less dogmatic you are.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kagey View Post
    Yep, I've had a SA nearly rip a bottle out of my hand - I think it was M7 - and tell me it's a man's fragrance. The thing to do is not freak out and become terribly offended. It's only perfume. Just smile, look her in the eye, and say "Yes, but I might like to wear it anyway." If enough people do that, maybe the SAs will lighten up.

    Also, in my experience, this has only ever happened with female SAs - has that been others' experience too?
    To be honest, in all three occasions, it's been female SA's that have done this. Whereas the male ones are like "whatever you like. so long as i make a sale." I don't want to generalize women. I'm only saying this is my experience and someone else's could be entirely be different.


    Quote Originally Posted by Navyy8 View Post

    SAs seem fanatical to label fragrances as "Kiddy" ones (ie AdG, BdC), which annoys me. As a customer whose worked in sales before I find this unacceptable.
    I agree.

  20. #20

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Quote Originally Posted by deadidol View Post
    she instantly pegged me as some weirdo creeper (I'm really not).
    Hmmm, how can we be sure of this?

  21. #21

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    I wear or at least test out what smells good to my nose...if I like it enough then go back and buy it...

    The SA's here are mostly men and sometimes a lady for counters such as Channel but not always true...met a really smart lady once at the YSL counter who knew her stuff

    Mostly what I like is somebody who is a bit friendly, lets me try what I want even after letting me know its a "women's fragrance sir", chats a bit about his products and is able to help if am looking for a frag not immediately available and chances are I will end up buying a bottle of something even if it was not what I was looking for...yeah am a sucker for sweet and polite talk :-) and yeah lets not forget the free samples hehe

    Only thing is quite often I see them suggesting ultra safe fragrances to customers who just walk by the perfume counter.

    I do understand that safe sells more easily but hey they could gently try to steer people to interesting frags...

    Considering that in my country India a $100 and up can be nearly half a months rent or so for some and most people are not even novices when to comes to branded frags its a luxury for the well heeled :-)

    But thankfully I do see a lot more varities in brands and smaller sizes its somewhat more affordable now...so don't know how or where but people are buying I guess :-)

    Sent from my GT-P1000 using Tapatalk 2

  22. #22

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    If you do not know the customer, the safest recommendation would be safe smelling sport fragrances. You can only recommend better fragrances when customer knows what he or she is looking for.

    Posting fragrances on a different forum, I found out a lot of posters there are not perfume users. Almost scared of using perfume! They use 1 perfume, at most two perfumes and only for special occasion. What I did is post different perfumes brands and maybe generate some interest and knowledge about perfumes :P

  23. #23

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Ugh, you just have learn to ignore the ignorance. A while back at Holt's I asked to try NR Essence, of course I got the looks, but it was when I sprayed it on my wrist that the SA's eyes almost rolled out of her head LOL she gasped saying it's it for women! I said I knew, and she seemed baffled.... I said it was nice, and she added "yes for a woman" ok, now I got a wee bit p..sed and said my boss wears Terre, and she's a woman, it smells great on her. The SA looked appaled and actually said "I can't believe any woman would want to smell like that" !! I said really? I can't believe you make any sales with an attitude like yours, I'll take my money elsewhere.

    Was it a scene? Perhaps, but I hope if anything was noticed, it was her poor service skills and lack of intelligence. Interstingly, I haven't seen the same SA at the fragrance counter since, maybe someone noticed?

  24. #24

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Quote Originally Posted by aphexacid View Post
    Hmmm, how can we be sure of this?

  25. #25

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    I wonder why they wouldn't even consider the possibility that you were buying for a female significant other?

  26. #26
    Super Member Bulakenyo's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    maybe the SAs are trying to be nice and keeping guys from embarrassing yourself when you unwittingly wear a female fragrance.

    Maybe their conscience could not take not speaking out and warning a potentially less experienced customer that they're about to select a female fragrance. Any embarrassment the buyer gets will be partly their fault if they did not warn the customer.

    Nothing malicious or totally condescending, I think.
    LOWBROW TO THE CORE

  27. #27

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Overall, I think it comes down to the individual SA. I have observed, however, that the higher-end stores have more trained SAs and they are more open to people buying and wearing what they like regardless of the marketing.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Our nearest store just organises their fragrances by House.

  29. #29

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Akahina View Post
    Just tell them you cross dress at night and ask for help with size 16 pumps. That will shut them up.
    Hilarious!!! LOL!!! There are some that I will wear and some that I won't wear... I purchase most of my fragrances from the men's department... I also agree with the thought about the store... It's too bad that so many SA's have no knowledge about fragrance!!!

  30. #30

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    I'd like to follow up on the issue of the Male/Female fragrance boards on Basenotes, which I find increasingly passé and annoying. Other sites don't do this. Most new niche offerings are marketed as unisex. And while there are still many "pour homme," "pour femme" fragrances the majority of Basenoters I know really don't pay attention to the gender marketing. It would be nice to have just one main board...

    As for the Male/Female boards. I don't think the divide is absolutely vital, nor is it an objective separation. I guess it's divided by the members interest as men come here to wear traditionally masculine fragrances and women wear traditionally feminine fragrances. This separation is purely artificial and can vanish in a heartbeat, but people on here like it so it will stay.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    I wish this question had been posted in the "General Discussion Board". It's an interesting one.

    I find it hilarious and short-sighted that an SA would try to talk you OUT of buying a scent based on gender. They might mention the gender, just to see if it matters to you, but what a stupid mistaken sales technique to talk you out of buying something you want. It takes all kinds.

  32. #32

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Next time, be prepared. Create a Word document. Find the store's logo and place it in the document. Make a big title in big black letters "MYSTERYSHOPPER". And beneath the title in red medium letters "REJECTED". Print the paper, fold it and put it in your pocket, and a pen as well.

    Now when the SA is giving false information again, slowly take the piece of paper from your pocket and unfold it. Look at his name-tag and write his name under "REJECTED". Then very slowly walk away from him and say nothing at all. Would love to see the look in his face... :-)

  33. #33

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    I have had that response from SA's a few times when you just curious and want to smell a classic like Mitsouko. I even had to give them some BS that I am buying my girlfriend a scent and want to try it out.

    It's only a scent but they make you feel like you are breaking a major taboo, god forbid if you picked up Shalimar and sprayed yourself a few times in front of them. lol

  34. #34
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    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Quote Originally Posted by granola357 View Post
    I'd like to follow up on the issue of the Male/Female fragrance boards on Basenotes, which I find increasingly passé and annoying. Other sites don't do this. Most new niche offerings are marketed as unisex. And while there are still many "pour homme," "pour femme" fragrances the majority of Basenoters I know really don't pay attention to the gender marketing. It would be nice to have just one main board...
    We've been trying to encourage more use of the 'General' board but it's ultimately up to members whether they choose to use it more.
    'Just Starting Out' is another mixed board and many members do participate in threads wherever they're situated.
    Last edited by lpp; 20th February 2014 at 10:23 AM.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Quote Originally Posted by kumquat View Post
    I wish this question had been posted in the "General Discussion Board". It's an interesting one.
    That's where it seems to be right now - I didn't move it

  36. #36

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Hunter View Post
    I have had that response from SA's a few times when you just curious and want to smell a classic like Mitsouko. I even had to give them some BS that I am buying my girlfriend a scent and want to try it out.

    It's only a scent but they make you feel like you are breaking a major taboo, god forbid if you picked up Shalimar and sprayed yourself a few times in front of them. lol
    Might be a good one to try that in a store. See how many SA's we can annoy

  37. #37

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Hunter View Post
    It's only a scent but they make you feel like you are breaking a major taboo, god forbid if you picked up Shalimar and sprayed yourself a few times in front of them. lol
    Come on, fellas! March right into your nearest Boots, CVS, Walgreens, or perfume shop of choice. Hose yourself down with Shalimar, raise your fist in the air, and yell "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to be restricted to the masculine side of the perfume counter anymore!" And march right back out.

    Seriously, though, what's the worst thing that could happen if you did? The sooner we all stop acting like the SA is the ultimate moral authority, the sooner people will get over it and we'll all be free to wear what we like

  38. #38
    kumquat's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Quote Originally Posted by lpp View Post
    That's where it seems to be right now - I didn't move it
    Oh, that's good. I thought it started out in Men's. I was making a comment (I thought relevant to this post) I wish more men, especially would post relevant issues in "General".

    I never thought much about the gender of scent before BN. Since my involvement in perfume, it's been a struggle getting people I know to show ANY interest in perfume, especially men. It just seems nuts that any SA would try to dissuade someone from buying anything they want. Mind-boggling! Some people really don't do their jobs worth a damn, for sure. Plus- Remember "Pat" on Saturday Night Live? I mean, you're taking a real chance sometimes. We should never assume.
    Last edited by kumquat; 20th February 2014 at 03:52 PM.

  39. #39

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Hunter View Post
    I have had that response from SA's a few times when you just curious and want to smell a classic like Mitsouko. I even had to give them some BS that I am buying my girlfriend a scent and want to try it out.

    It's only a scent but they make you feel like you are breaking a major taboo, god forbid if you picked up Shalimar and sprayed yourself a few times in front of them. lol
    Funny you should mention Mitsouko, Jack. I asked to smell Mitsouko two weeks ago at the Guerlain counter at a local chain store (after having smelled the The Les Parisiens collection). No problems whatsoever from the SA. Smelled nice but not my cup of tea. She said she didn't have problems with unisex scents, but that some men aren't comfortable with wearing something their other half wears. She mentioned she even wears L'eau DIssey Pour Homme sometimes.
    by the time you can afford good speakers, you can't hear the difference

  40. #40

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    I think the gendered nature of mainstream perfume is one reason why I never was interested in perfume when I was younger. Honestly, I think many people wear fragrance specifically to identify themselves as being a certain gender. Girls want something that smells feminine and girly, and guys want to smell like a dude. And that's about as far as their interest in fragrance goes. So people with that mindset can't understand why someone would even think of wearing a fragrance designated for the other gender. I do think there's more acceptance of women wearing a man's scent, sort of like borrowing your boyfriend's shirt. But for a man to wear a woman's scent is still a bit taboo.

    I got into perfume when I discovered niche scents, where you could smell like a forest or a flower or a library rather than just smelling like a generic girl or a guy. I can now appreciate a lot of mainstream scents, because I'm better at identifying different ingredients and genres. But I find it easier to shop at higher-end department stores like Barneys that don't separate everything as much by gender.

  41. #41

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    People have their opinions and ideas, you can't expect them to always share yours. To say it just happens and that their opinions are worth nothing because they are low paid retail workers (who nevertheless are around perfume a lot) is a bit mean. I've dated several highly educated and well paid, open minded women with art degrees and they still did not want me to wear perfumes that smelled feminine to them.

  42. #42

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Rüssel View Post
    People have their opinions and ideas, you can't expect them to always share yours. To say it just happens and that their opinions are worth nothing because they are low paid retail workers (who nevertheless are around perfume a lot) is a bit mean. I've dated several highly educated and well paid, open minded women with art degrees and they still did not want me to wear perfumes that smelled feminine to them.
    Joking aside, I don't expect everyone to share my ideas. You can draw very clear distinctions and rules about what's masculine and what's feminine and who's allowed to wear what. And if you choose to live by that, I can respect your position. But by the same token, I'd prefer that you don't impose those rules on me. And I'd prefer that SAs didn't impose them on me either.

    I don't think anyone said that the opinions of low-paid retail workers mean nothing, but then I may have missed that.

  43. #43

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Over here, everybody wears everything.

    Any gender SA will show any gender customer the latest perfume regardless of it's marketed gender.

    I just realized, only the Arab ones do. Russian SAs follow the marketing blurb. Bout there aren't too many Russian SAs. A few in the larger department store & seasonally too lol.

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  44. #44
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    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Quote Originally Posted by hedonist222 View Post
    Over here, everybody wears everything.

    Any gender SA will show any gender customer the latest perfume regardless of it's marketed gender.

    I just realized, only the Arab ones do. Russian SAs follow the marketing blurb. Bout there aren't too many Russian SAs. A few in the larger department store & seasonally too lol.
    As per recent developments- it would seem some Russians have some issues in that regard. ;-)

  45. #45
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    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Quote Originally Posted by kumquat View Post
    As per recent developments- it would seem some Russians have some issues in that regard. ;-)
    Fragrance-related developments?

  46. #46
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    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Sorry, no.

  47. #47

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Next time just smack your money on the counter. You'll be surprised how many bottles will turn unisex.

  48. #48
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    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Quote Originally Posted by hedonist222 View Post
    Any gender SA will show any gender customer the latest perfume regardless of it's marketed gender. I just realized, only the Arab ones do.
    Culturally, I realized the same thing. In Montréal, there's a strip of arab independent stores. At first, I got the usual perfunctory claim; "That's for women..." After confirming that I'm not mistaken, it's indeed what I was looking for, they always followed up with enthusiasm, and often first hand experience with said fragrance, or suggest to me what they wear "across the aisle".

    I enjoy my experience with them. They have me as a reliable customer.
    Last edited by Arij; 22nd February 2014 at 06:33 AM.

  49. #49

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    A lot of people have hit the nail on the head about SAs being lower-paid workers and not particularly skilled (they're not perfumers) and that 99% of their customers would also never buy a fragrance intended for the other gender.

    Additionally, I'd remind people that most fragrance producers also couldn't be bothered to train SAs even if their salespeople wanted to know more about the product - the same as clothes. It's a retail job - when there's a new fragrance they just get a box of fragrances with a brochure talking a bit about it in vague terms, just like the commercials. So an SA reading about Womanity (to use an example from up above) is going to internalize and push a product that has been specifically produced to look like this by the people who pay them:

    clAxANn.jpg

    Unless the SA goes out and researches the product on their own - something that they have no real incentive to do given the job prospects - you're gonna get the results that the perfumer wants, which is gendered marketing in most cases.

    You even see that attitude among some fragrance lovers. On a non-BN board some guy was making fun of someone else for liking TF Black Orchid. I noted that most of the notes are actually common in masculine fragrances, and he specifically said it didn't matter - he would never wear a "women's fragrance" the same way he'd never let his girlfriend dress him.

    Of course, some SAs do got above and beyond and have a passion for this stuff, and they're very much appreciated. But there's a reason why at most stores the experience we get isn't the same as we'll get on a hobbyist board like this one.

  50. #50

    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    We have the same problem here in Malaysia. How I get around it is by saying that im testing it as a gift for a female friend, then brush off their other recommendations. We have to remember that not everyone is aware that perfumes are genderless in reality. As hobbyists, we may understand that, but not the rest of the world. It's way better to try and work around their confines and understand rather than to get upset over it.
    seeking mitsouko 50ml's cap....desperately!!

  51. #51
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    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Quote Originally Posted by lpp View Post
    Our nearest store just organises their fragrances by House.
    I think that's a great idea.
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  52. #52
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    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Quote Originally Posted by TLS View Post
    Next time just smack your money on the counter. You'll be surprised how many bottles will turn unisex.
    Too funny!
    Current favorites:

    • Dunhill Desire (red)
    • Bogart Pour Homme
    • Black Vines by Kerosene
    • Mechant Loup by L’Artisan

  53. #53
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    Default Re: "Unisex" - SA's having serious gender issues

    Alright, I never really understood how somebody is able to determine what is masculine, and what is feminine (I am speaking *only* about fragrance). To MY nose, anything TOO floral is feminine, and anything TOO musky is masculine. But what about all the gray areas?? Bath & Body Works Black Amethyst smells AWESOME to me, a real "wow" frag with a perfect bergamot/lemon top note... but I am hesitant to wear it to work, around others. But I don't mind buying it from an SA. When a B&BW salesgirl asked me if I was purchasing it for my mother or girlfriend, and when I told her I was buying it for myself, she looked surprised. Seriously: she works at B&BW and was surprised to see a guy buy something like that for himself? The bottom line is this: I don't care what the SA thinks about me, I am far more concerned with the people I see every day, that I work with.
    Current favorites:

    • Dunhill Desire (red)
    • Bogart Pour Homme
    • Black Vines by Kerosene
    • Mechant Loup by L’Artisan

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