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Oct 2, 2010

How should a man smell?



Wise readers, how do you like your man to smell?  If you are a man or man-identified, how do you like to smell?

I'll be honest with you: I don't wear cologne anymore.  I do have some old bottles around the house, accumulated over the decades, however.



I decided a few years ago to eliminate as many chemicals from my home environment as possible and I certainly didn't want to put them on my skin.  But for nostalgia's sake I've kept most of what I had.

I bought this bottle in Bologna in 1984 and I still haven't used it up.  I don't think they make it anymore. 



I bought a bottle of Acqua di Parma a few years ago and after deciding to ditch the cologne, sold it on eBay.  There's gold in thar medicine cabinet!



Most mens cologne and aftershave ads seem geared primarily to women, who probably buy most of it as gifts for the men in their lives.  Actually, I'm not sure who the target audience is...







With very few exceptions I hate standing downwind of a man wearing cologne.  I think the cheap stuff smells cheap and the expensive stuff smells worse.  And it can be very strong.  From time to time I do like a dab of geranium oil behind my right ear but that's a whole other thing, don't you think? 

Tonight is my dreaded event.  The pants are hemmed, the shirt ironed.  You've been such a help to me through these last few weeks of sewing and self-improvement -- I feel like a new person.

But how should I smell?

Global opinionmakers and others, what should a man smell like?  (Oh, if only I could blog in Smell-O-vision!)

Do you like your (or anyone else's) man scented, or do you prefer his natural aroma: tobacco, wood shavings, 3-in-One, that sort of thing?

In short, Mens cologne: yea or nay? 

Please hurry -- I'm literally stepping into the shower now!

53 comments:

  1. You're going to have a great time! (dread notwithstanding). If nothing else, think of the post fodder! And I do love aqua di parma. I am very scent driven (I have and wear many). Some are even men's scents! I particularly like Hermes Terre d'Hermes (for me) and Canali (for my husband). But one must use these things sparingly, or (you're right) it's horrible.

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  2. I vote nay, good sir!
    My big sister taught me that no one cares how foxy you look if you smell so bad they can't get close to you. A freshly washed human is a thing of beauty and a joy forever.

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  3. No cologne, just freshly washed!

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  4. If you don't normally wear it then why start tonight? Since you're not comfortable with it then don't bother, scent is the last thing anyone is going to remember... unless someone is really stinky.

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  5. How should a man smell - clean.

    Re the reunion. I went kicking and screaming and dreading to my 30th earlier this year and had a fabulous time. It was so different than the 10th and 20th which were more about materialism and status. The 30th was real. We talked about personal interests, hobbies, life lessons, way better stuff than money, address, and the corporate ladder. I hope you have a surprisingly wonderful time

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  6. Have a great time! I missed my 10 year, but only 8 years until my 20 year (which I imagine may be a good time)
    I think a man should smell like his soap, his laundry detergent, deodorant, the wind outside, and just slightly of sweat. Most folks don't know how to use scent and with the allergies that people have lately, it's good to under-do it.

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  7. No cologne! I prefer my man to smell natural. That's what smells "manly" to me. I'd honestly rather him smell like flowers or anything from bath and body works. But, he probably wouldnt go for it. ;) I really just despise mens cologne. It's so strong and I like a hint of scent.

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  8. I agree with the others- Clean! I can't even stand a strong laundry detergent smell anymore. Just clean- soap or no scent at all.

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  9. Another vote for just plain clean. Nothing should stand in the way of people admiring your stellar sewing and styling skills!

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  10. I'm a bit scent-tarded... it's not that I can't smell, but I feel about scents the way I imagine someone who's colourblind might feel about colour. It's there, but which one it is is not particularly noticeable. So I personally fall into the clean-soap-smell contingent. It seems like the safest option.

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  11. I can't stand over perfumed people and avoid department store entrances near perfume counters. I also vote for that freshly clean soap and water scent.

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  12. I usually like no scent, although I am still a sucker for the sandalwood/patchoulli-hippie vibe that some guys can carry off!

    Conversely, there are SOME scents that I like because guys I liked wore them, but that was opposite from what you're asking!

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  13. Just clean is enough - the lingering soap or shampoo smell is enough. Mike usually uses Old Spice hair/body wash, so the smell is there, but faint. Things like that are fine, no real colognes, though.

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  14. Smell: (1) like you usually smell when you are clean; or (2) like chihuahua kisses; or, if you must adopt a special smell for the event, (3) like the heart throbs (or their dads) would have smelled 30 years ago--Polo? British Sterling? Right Guard?

    And have fun!

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  15. Yes, just clean. Like others have said - why start now, and don't drive people away because you smell too strong!

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  16. "But how should I smell?"

    Like really fine soap. Not a floral, but a neutral or men's scented soap. That's all you need.

    I agree about the post fodder, and I hope you post about it.

    But mostly I hope you have a fine time.

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  17. I am also scent-driven. Whenever I smell Paul Sebastian cologne, I think of my first date with my husband. And I admit it's a turn on.

    But when I smell Obsession I think of my ex. And how appropriate it was that he liked that brand.

    My grandfather was known to wear Hi Karate back in the day, but in my lifetime he was more of a Brut wearer. To this day, if I smell Brut I immediately feel happy... but then I get all teary-eyed.

    But for myself, I don't wear perfume much. So I vote that you should smell however you do when you feel your most confident. If that's cologne or simply your favorite brand of soap, go with that.

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  18. No cologne, please; just your naturally lovely self will do.
    Heather

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  19. I like a scent on a man. But it shouldn't be all over. Just a hint, when he's close enough to hold him, that's perfect. And the right scent in the right amount can almost make me fall in love head over heals, if I may add....

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  20. I quite like scent on a man, provided you only become aware of it when you're really close - like kissing hello, for instance. If you can smell it across the room it seems a bit desperate. Personally, I think the tiniest, tiniest bit is yummy, though.

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  21. Ha! Just posted and saw Karin van D's above - great minds think alike - and at the same time, apparently!

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  22. I like scents but nothing overwhelming. Something you smell as a afterthought, not an introduction. But no cologne is good too. I think for me it depends on the man and the scent. For you tonight, it should be what feels most comfortable to *you*.

    Have a great time Peter!

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  23. I like scent on a man too and my (and dh's) favorite is Antaeus by Chanel. Scent must be applied with discretion, not be overwhelming. Just clean is perfect too.

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  24. No scent, please. Like you I eliminated as many chemicals from the household and myself --partly because of my allergies. I used to love Chanel No. 5. It was the only scent I liked. Now even it gives me a headache.

    Have fun!

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  25. 2 options I recommend. Go to your L'occitane boutique and depending on whether you're a verbena or a vetevier pick up something in either of those ranges. Maybe just some speical bath gel will be just enough to make you feel "finished" before leaving the house.

    If you want to be smelled by others, go to your Jo Malone counter. The fragrances have pretty direct names like their bestseller orange basil, but they are all incredibly clean. Even if you smell something you don't like (I hate Lavender for instance) it won't drive you crazy like other brands do because they apparently have fewer additives.

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  26. Praise you for getting rid of most of the chemical stink from your home! I'm hypersensitive to most scents and get migraines, which are often made worse by scents. I put on my syllabus that students can't wear it on class days and if they do I remind them it's a class policy. I think it's an assault on mankind to wear that shit in public. I've had to leave restaurants and stores because of the stench of other people's perfumed selves. Knock it off. I have no bones about telling you you stink.

    If you are single and can't find a person to love, try laying off the scents. You're messing with the way bodies communicate with each other.

    How should man smell you ask? Clean. Not stinky soap and aftershave and lots of mouthwash clean. Just plain old soap and water clean. With clean clothes that don't have fabric softener all over them. Don't get me started on fabric softener.

    And what the hell is up with blogger? I haven't been commenting much lately because blogger can't seem to figure out who I am. Probably a good thing give the vitriol.

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  27. I like when people smell like people. Maybe this is because I'm part of the axe generation. There's nothing worse than standing downwind from a dude who thought the ladies would like him better if he bathed in axe. Stupid commercials.

    I don't even wear deodorant (I use one of those salt crystals) because I don't think it's necessary. I shower every day and sometimes spray myself with a bit of lavender oil mixed in water.

    I like when my partner smells clean, but like a person. He does wear deodorant, but the natural stuff which I don't think does too much.

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  28. Ew, that guy in the Marc Jacobs ad looks like the last greasy french fry at the bottom of the super size order. *bleck*

    Im very sensitive to smells, so the cleaner, the lighter, the less intrusive or even distinctive, the better. Ive also been known to walk up to men and tell them they smell good. But thats another story...

    Have fun at your reunion!

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  29. Hmmmm. I like scent on a man. I'm with Debbie, though, in that it shouldn't be overwhelming. Essential oil mixes are my favorite and applying them an hour or more before you go out make them quieter, subtler when you arrive. I do wear a designer perfume on occasion but mostly I rely on the great scent of my favorite moisturizer: Neutragena sesame body oil.
    Have a fantastic time!
    Pam

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  30. I will add my voice to the chorus of 'clean, please'! Yesterday I had a group of four men visit me at work. I am on social-hugging terms with them, so duly hugged 'em. Two were wearing scent, and I caught myself recoiling from the quick embrace. You don't want that happening at your reunion!

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  31. Shelley, that IS Marc Jacobs!

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  32. Scent Shcment. Sounds like you've gotten a lot of good feedback there. I'll throw in my two cents to remind you to moisturize well. So many people (especially men, sorry) forget that at this time of year, and it makes them look dried out. A good coat of moisturizer makes one look younger and lends a glow to the skin as the fall air starts to get dry. Hope you have a great time!

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  33. Peter,
    You get so many great comments with each of your (wonderful) posts, I usually just sit back and enjoy reading without chiming in myself.

    But I just had to say - have a wonderful time at your reunion! I had my 30th a couple years ago, and it was definitely the most enjoyable of those that I'd attended. Everyone had finally grown up, it seems.
    - Susan

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  34. I'm allergic to most perfumes. And I have allergy induced asthma. Which means that scents, for the most part, don't have a place in my home. Soap is the primary scent of choice.

    But... growing up, my Grandpa, Dad, and brothers all wore a hint of Old Spice. So soap and Old spice, I guess...

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  35. enjoy-i think i may be too late!
    i like a slight smell, some things smell nice on one person and hideous on another
    cherri must have a hyper sensitive nose :)
    looking forward to the gossip!

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  36. Not to worry, I'm here till 6 pm. How many hours should a mud pack stay on?

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  37. I, like Susan above, don't normally comment, but this is a subject i feel passionately about ... def NO COLOGNE! Clothes clean, and body showered and moisturised is all any man needs. Good luck, and i hope you have some fun :)

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  38. I also never comment, so that I feel so strong that I need to break out of my quiet observation post should say something in an of itself. NO COLOGNE. It always reeks of desperation and inferiority complex. It might be your high school reunion, but you are not in high school anymore. So be yourself, and stop worrying so much what those other schmucks are going to think about you. You're great just the way you are.

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  39. "How many hours should a mud pack stay on?"

    Snort!!

    .

    .

    .

    (No, don't snort the mudpack.)

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  40. Cologne is nice on some men -- I think it depends on how the chemistry of the man and the cologne interact. And it's only nice when it's subtle. In a large group of people I think there will be way too many smells altogether, so I vote for no added perfumes.

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  41. like unscented soap!! have fun, relax!! everybody will love you!!

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  42. I like the way my boy smells. All he uses scent wise is old spice deodorant...

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  43. Eau Sauvage

    Pour homme

    Par Christian Dior.

    Smells completely different on every man - on some it is absolutely fantastic.

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  44. I loathe aftershave, cologne and women's perfume of any kind. I like men to smell clean and like themselves. Perhaps this is why so many relationships fail; we aren't paying attention to pheromones and are basing our attraction on artificial scents, rather than how we really smell. I wonder if anyone has done a study about that ...

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  45. When the mud cracks its been on too long.

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  46. It is? Well, he needs a shower, and some boxers.

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  47. Every man is different. I prefer my man to be clean or "warm" smelling, not stinky. I've learned that Burt's Bees Men's soap does wonders.
    My boyfriend doesn't even have to wear deodorant when he uses that.
    Think of it this way... What do you like and what does your partner like? That's all that matters.

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  48. I don't think anyone really needs any extra scent. I rarely wear it myself because I work with food and it can interfere with my sense of smell. However, I admit, I really love the smell of old spice.

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  49. OK, I'm going to be quite un-PC, but I love a scent on a man, in fact, I love wearing men's cologne!
    Forget the whole chemical-free, no smell allowed except a man's natural smell (really?? ugh). I'm sorry, men can be stinky, so I like a fresh, pleasant smell on a man, not necessarily all of the time, but some time (and not necessarily from cologne, maybe a good shower, but that wears off quickly).
    Of course, then we can get into the whole argument of why some men choose not to care how they smell, but that's another post!

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  50. A world without scent for me would be like seeing things only in black and white - there's a whole sensory dimension lacking.

    I'll happily admit that I'm a snob about it, and an ad like that Marc Jacobs one will make me run a mile. I love interesting scents that churn up a range of emotions, and I always like to know who designed the perfume. Being a 'nose' is up there with being a couturier in my opinion. I'm a Jean-Claude Ellena fan for instance, whose scents really work on my skin (it isn't enough to like a smell, it also has to work 'on' you, at a molecular level I guess). My current favourites are Editions de Parfum by Frederic Malle, whose brief is to give top noses free reign to create their perfect scent without the usual commercial restrictions (cost/ market/ etc.). This has resulted in my all-time favourite, Bigarade Concentrée, which smells like sweaty sex in an orange grove (not something I've ever indulged in sadly, living in Northern climes as I do, but that's the image it conjures up... yes I know, I'm probably not selling it to you Americans, but the French in me loves it!), and my husband wears Geranium pour Monsieur, which smells like mint and pelargonium leaves rubbed onto one's skin (without the rash that would presumably ensue if one did it for real). Alternatively, a classic like Chanel's Pour Monsieur remains an all-time favourite.

    I introduced my husband to scent - he'd never worn any until he met me, now he has a collection of bottles to rival mine. Fortunately, his nose and mine seem to be in agreement, even if the scents react differently on our skins (which makes it all the more interesting I suppose).

    P.S. Can't wait to hear about the School reunion. I'm lucky I live in a completely different country to my several schools (I had an itinerant childhood), so will never have to face the ordeal!

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  51. I'm sick of the whole perfume thing. It's a racket and where is it written that every singer has to come out with a perfume? And please, they ran out of names a long time ago. "What's that perfume you're wearing?" "Oh, it's 'Very Hollywood!'" I refuse to wear it if I'm embarassed to say the name, I don't care what it smells like. It's ok if a man wears cologne if I can't smell it unless I'm right next to him. Same for women.

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  52. My mother taught me that if someone can smell your scent further than 1/2" away, it was too much. It was intended to be a very personal intimate thing.

    Most of the perfumes (more likely colognes and lesser products) are simply awful and highly offensive.

    I seem to enjoy a tiny bit of French scent on a freshly clean body.

    No French scent, ok, soap and water and a fresh starched shirt.

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  53. I'm going to vote for the subtle sent. If a person has violent allergies, they will also be offended by the ever present pet fur too. I don't like to be near someone who smells like they fell into a vat of cologne, but do like a nice subtle clean citrus or musk.

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