“You” vs. “Your Perfume”

Today I threw caution to the wind and, for the first time in almost three months, went for a walk. I know some of you must be getting tired of me harping on my heel injury at this point, but I had no idea how much I would miss walking. I am a walker. I would rather take the stairs than the elevator. I would rather take the treadmill than the fitness class. I have a certain amount of nervous energy, and walking – fast or slow, day or dusk, alone or with a friend or kid(s) – soothes me. I walk to think, and the posts herein are often written at the end of a meander, where I ponder various ideas and rearrange the order of my perfumed thoughts in my head. Not being able to walk is not just driving me crazy, it is interfering with my writing.

Today while I was walking, I was pondering why the hell I had Annayake Pour Elle again on my left arm, and D’Orsay´s Femme de Dandy again on my right. I want to decide about them, and in (typical?) Gemini fashion I am unable to do so.

Annayake Pour Elle, with its notes of bergamot, fig, elemi, water lily, tea, cypress, and white musk, is … standoffish. It has a tendency toward dry bitterness. It draws attention to itself but does not invite. It feels like the Japanese version of Niki de St. Phalle, in terms of its arty, aloof vibe. It is interested in itself, less in the wearer. It is also peculiarly malleable, as if it cannot decide what it wants to be. At the opening, it is summer-fruity – but also incensey and very faintly urine-tinged – and I wonder if that is the elemi, which I have read described as sharp, piney and lemon-like. Then it wants to be woods but won´t drop the lily-tea, and is that anise creeping in? Also, peppered ink. In the drydown it makes me think (although does not remind me of) Comme des Garcons 2.

And then I turn back to Femme de Dandy, which as far as I am concerned I should be smitten with, and yet I am not. Why, why, why not? It´s supposed to include anise, cardamom, carrot flower, cinnamon, cloves, tobacco, rum, labdanum, benzoin, musk and tonka bean, and does that not sound scrumptious? It´s a soothing gourmand at its base, as opposed to the inexplicable first half hour, which is like being pelted with overripe fruits, and which makes me feel I must be missing some of the top notes in my list. Gah, is it this sweet on everyone? Admittedly, this is not the ideal weather, but still. Driving me slightly crazy is also the tenuous connection I feel between the two – Femme de Dandy in the far drydown reminds me slightly of my favorite bits of Annayake Tsukimi and Miyako, that wonderful benzoin-woody-incense base.

Finally, the issue causing my distress comes into focus: one of these fragrances (Pour Elle) is the sort of thing that would make you remark: your perfume smells good (or it doesn´t.) Femme de Dandy at the drydown is the sort of quasi-gourmand thing that invites a slightly different comment: you smell good. You, that is, as opposed to your perfume. Presumably, this is because Pour Elle is calling more attention to itself – but then again, that´s not quite true, is it? Certainly Femme de Dandy isn´t subtle. Must a you-smell-good scent reflect something you might eat, or something you´d naturally have in contact with your skin (laundry detergent), or even something that is associated with human smells (sweat, musk)? Where do you draw the line between the scent and the wearer?

According to something I read in the last couple of days, the smell of pizza and roasting meat are the quickest way to give men an erection. So, dab on some Domino´s (or some vintage Kolnisch Juchten). Or, instead, we can kick this around some more, since clearly I cannot resist. What is the difference between a fragrance that makes people say YOU smell good and one that elicits the comment, I like your perfume? It makes sense to me that men (taken as a stereotypical group) might like foody, comfort scents like chocolate and vanilla on their lovers, as opposed to … I don´t know, creosote, or formaldehyde. But if you wore CdG 2, or … pick some other strange thing, or some strong aldehydic fragrance, and that´s all you ever wore, would your lover(s) eventually associate that smell with you? With desire and arousal and sex? Probably, yes?

How much of our smell attraction is innate, and how much is learned? I wonder. I mean, I find Chanel No. 5 (while lovely) one of the least sexy scents in the world, but I bet five people read those words today and thought, she´s an idiot. They (and I) could turn around and argue, why on earth should something that smells like a cupcake be arousing? And hey, while I´m rambling, I wonder if there´s a cultural reference here? Do men in, say, Paris, like more perfume-y perfumes? Are they exposed to them more? (No. 5 – oui!) Where here they´ve been trained by girls wearing Angel and Jessica Simpson´s Dessert line and Aquolina Pink Sugar to think sweet is sexy?

Do I smell good? Do you? Speaking for myself, if I took an on-the-street survey like the ones in Cosmo or Elle, I´d guess that more often than not the answer would be a resounding NO. Maybe nobody but me is digging my Memory of Kindness, redolent of tomato leaf. Maybe lapsed Catholics everywhere wonder at the strange whiffs of incense they get wafting off fragrance freaks on some random Tuesday in August on the subway. I have been the secret source of more than one person in the bank queue stealing a peek at his shoe, wondering if he stepped in something. I don´t spend much time smelling like Betty Crocker, and a little too much time smelling like a leather glove at a bonfire, and I guess that´s just the way it is.

Putting the question out to the five of you who aren’t at the beach this week: what is the difference between a fragrance that makes you smell good, and one that would garner comments along the lines of your perfume smells great! Is there a difference?

50s card: gizmoandwidget.com


  1. I’ve been pondering similar questions lately: Am I choosing perfumes because they are beautiful/making me smell great? Or has it become some intellectual exercise gone horribly, horribly wrong? After all, I won’t buy a lipstick if it doesn’t flatter my face, so why do I gravitate towards the challenging scents? Do I scare people when wearing MKK and CB Musk? Are they talking about my Bandit, Cuir Mauresque and Onda? Did someone call an exorcist after I’ve stank the place with Miel de Bois?
    I’m trying to have a more balanced wardrobe (bought Visa last week, in all its fruity glory), but I still want more leather…
    Generally speaking (though it’s totally subjective by my nose and skin chemistry), the “you smell good” compliments come from wearing friendly musks and vanilla (the latter is less cupcake on me and more of a soft halo, if that even makes sense). Everything else is more “perfume” and gets a “what are you wearing?”.

    • Hah, I was just over reading your makeup post! And I touched on this recently with my foundation post. Yeah, I don’t want people looking at my face at my age and going, well, THAT’S an interesting choice for blush….

      So, somehow, my fragrance is an exception to the rule. I think Robin (?) once addressed this topic from a slightly different angle — that is, wearing perfume to please herself rather than anyone around her. Once we get past fragrance as a mantrap, why not? As long as you’re not killing people at the opera or in the cube farm.

      You reminded me, I really need to get some Visa (trying to decide whether Rumba fills that niche for me). And yes, vanilla and friendly musks would be more familiar…

      • Ah, Visa is a cozy delight. Despite my general dislike of fruity scents, it has such a yummy opening, drying to a long deep hug. Truly a winter perfume. I am waiting for the etailers to post it, my decants are getting low ; (

        • May I join in on the Visa love-fest? I was able to try this last night for the first time; this is a fantastic fragrance. I think I need a FB.

          • Now isn’t that funny — I wouldn’t have pegged you two as Visa fans. Me neither. And I tried it in NYC and thought it was a big riot. 😡 I feel like it has a sense of humor about itself, and is just beautifully done. I should blog on it.

    • “intellectual exercise gone horribly, horribly wrong” =))

  2. Talking of incense…I lately bought myself a bottle of Avignon. My Mum, raised in a Catholic school and educated exclusively by nuns, first, rather puzzeled, commented “you smell like church” and then drew an unmistakebly disgusted face…

    • While wearing Avignon recently, I had a colleague ask, “What’s that called–High Mass?”

      • :d

        Well, at least it got his mind onto something Holy. I guess. 🙂

    • Perfect example. I’m not Catholic and don’t have those associations, but friends who do find it totally inexplicable that I would *want* to smell like that.

    • I’m Catholic and I do have those associations, but I still love Avignon (and Sonoma Scents Encens Tranquille, another lovely dry incense).
      I was made to attend mass as a child, and the only part of it I liked was how it smelled and looked (the incense, the candles, the statues – except the crucifix because, ugh, torture is not pretty – the priest’s vestments, the shining gold monstrance.) The service itself was a long-drawn-out bore. So I’d drift off in my own little world.
      I guess, in a way, I was meditating, and incense helps with that, doesn’t it? 😡

      • Absolutely. In all sorts of religions, incense plays a part. In fact you can find people on here who can talk much more knowledgeably than I can about the concept of the smoke as part of the lifting of the prayers and etc.

        Off topic, but I was raised in this very conservative, low key, plain Jane Lutheran church. We had crosses, of course, but totally unadorned. I remember seeing a crucifix and thinking, what the heck is THAT?!? 😮

      • Apparently, I’m Catholic, too, and have the same good associations. Always loved the incense. Avignon brings back the church I’d go with my granny, and it feels just sooo relaxing, it’s my feel-good evening scent.
        interestingly, I think Avignon smells like an empty church, while with Messe de Minuit, they have done an incredible job with rendering the atmosphere of Christmas Midnight Mass: incense and candles! I’m wowed every time I smell it how they have translated the golden glow of candles into perfume!

  3. One of my favourite scents, Timbuktu, is the one that gets the most compliments (and also unfriendly looks), but always of the kind “what perfume are you wearing? I really like it”. On the other hand, I get all the praise when I wear Coromandel. Perhaps it’s the vanilla, like Gaia says.

    • Timbuktu vs. Coromandel! There’s a pair. I find Timbuktu prickly, but imagine it could smell great — on someone else. And I guess depending on how much edge you take off Coromandel (it’s really strong on me) it would become a you-smell-good fragrance.

  4. I was wearing one of my most fave scents, Dzing, one night waiting for a movie ticket; a friend said wow you usually smell good but tonight you smell like burning tires !

    • Yeah, I get that with Burning Leaves. Somewhere between That’s nice/interesting, and WTH is THAT?!?

    • Interesting! I usually don’t get comments on my perfumes (perhaps that in itself could be interpreted as a negative response), but friends really like Dzing! However, now that I think about it, these are the friends who love animals and whose cars/homes sometimes smell faintly of dog/cat…

      • Hah! Dzing smells like the less delectable parts of the circus to/on me, although I love it.

  5. I’m also going to go along with Gaia on this one. It seems to me that perfumes with a healthy dose of musk are the ones that tend to get the “you smell good” compliments. Oddly enough, the one that I get the most compliments on is Jicky. I’m guessing it’s the vanilla, lavender and hint (just a hint!) of anise.

    However, with my recent complete addiction to jasmine, I’m getting more of the “what are you wearing?” type of comments. Generally (I hope) this is said in a positive manner, followed by questions as to where they can obtain said scent.

    I love me some weird, not always palatable scents, but I tend to reserve them for days at home or with family who has to love me anyway :d

    BTW, in reference to your beach comment, today my house IS the beach! It’s been raining heavily for days now and the streets and my yard are all completely sodden. So here I sit basking in my beach chair (aka recliner) enjoying the waning days of summer!

    • Yay, jasmine! That’s a new one for you, wonder what you are wearing? I love jasmine.

      Sorry about all the rain! We seem to have moved into September about a month early, which is weird. I find it interesting that you get the most compliments on Jicky, but it’s such a great fragrance. And you and I both like those you-smell-good gourmands.

      • Mostly SL A la Nuit, Keiko Mecheri Jasmine and SIP Fair Verona, layered on top of Red Flower Indian Jasmine lotion, which in turn followed LUSH Flying Fox shower gel. Complete jasmine overload….and I love it!!!:x

  6. Just chiming in to say I’m a walker. Though my distances are currently limited home alone training a pup (10 minutes, currently).

  7. I SO relate to how you feel about walking. Solitary exercise (walking or runnning) has always been my drug of choice. I’m totally lost if I can’t get out at some point during the day. *All* my ideas for work or creative projects come to me while walking. Hope your foot is back to normal soon!
    I wear scent in such minute doses that how others feel about my scent choices isn’t much of an issue, but I really wouldn’t care anyway. Scent, like exercise, is my personal drug. It’s what I use to adjust my mood throughout the day. All that matters is that it invokes some positive feeling or association for me. I almost never have on less than three scents at a time and I regularly sniff all of them until they’ve faded and I can move onto three or four more scents. Oh, and Dandy’s Femme doesn’t do it for me either. Odd, since I really love the men’s version. The Femme version somehow has an excessively polite, neutral feel on me.

    • Just wanted to add that I usually ascribe personalities to my perfumes – odd, I know. Anyway, my closest friends tend to be eccentrics or somewhat quirky. Femme de Dandy simply doesn’t interest me enough to want to spend a few hours w/ her – much less a full day.

      • See, this is why you need to provide me with a list of your preferred fragrances, so I can skip the others. :d I love the original Le Dandy, so I kept thinking there was something wrong with my perception of the Femme. Now I’ll give up cheerfully.

        “Scent is my personal drug” is probably as good a description of my relationship with perfume as any. :)>-

    • Elle – with you there. I tend to wear my scents very lightly so if anyone is commenting on my scent, they are either way too close (SOs excepted) or I overapplied. That said, I am pretty cognizant of which ones are potentially “intellectual exercises gone awry” and won’t wear those in public if I can help it. Case in point – Olivier Durbano’s Black Tourmaline. Lurves it! But I smell like a campfire. Not the most socially acceptable thing at the office.

      March – the brief period of time I had a hard time walking (broken toe) made me nuts! Screwed up my writing too. I can’t IMAGINE what you are going through. Hopefully, the heel injury gets better soon.

    • Elle (and March)…totally with you on the walking. Busted my ankle (well it’s busted-ish for a few more days, I guess), so walking is out of the question.:(( I have to walk all three dogs separately as one simply cannot hobble on one foot with 2 Rottweilers and a maniac puppy in the lead. Can’t. Be. Done.

      so I’m making do with the seated elliptical trainer right now. Fine with me, as long as I get some exercise. But the Pickle is jonesin’ for a Long Walk up Bullycow Hill. Maybe next week.

      Perhaps I don’t know what I’m talking about but I find that there is a huge difference in how women appreciate scent on another woman v. how men do. For example, I wore Yatagan, in all its pitty glory, and El O nearly leapt across the room to get away from me. A woman smelled it and while she wasn’t in love with it, she was intrigued by it. The men who smell fragrance on me seem to like the basics: flowers, fruit, musk, vanilla ….women are more interested in more complex frags – we’re talking regular folks here, of course, not ‘mistas.

      The overwhelming thing for guys, it seems, is that it not be Too Much!

      • No!!!!!!! I’ll email you, this is terrible!! You do not have time to lay about the house eating Pringles and watching the OC, missy!!! You have too much to do…. I am sure Bear will pitch in.


        Maybe for hetero men, their natural (?) assumption is that your perfume should on some level be an attractant for them, whereas for a woman, it can just smell cool/interesting.

        • Agree with you on how men evaluate perfume. Most men I have dated don’t care for perfumes, unless they have vanilla or chocolate. Warm scents. I’ve never met a man who likes too heavy of a floral or powder (or yes, too much scent in general). Shoot, if men had their way, we would be wearing eau de vagina. 😮

          • Too true. Didn’t some of the French courtesans do that very thing?

      • My cats really love Yatagan. Do you want me to bring one up to keep you company?

  8. Interesting question. Surely, as you write, there must be some “pavolvian” element that makes any perfume you wear more often than others become “you” to those who know you well, or may be a particular circumstance when a scent you wore stuck into their memory. For example I think that when we are very vulnerable or emotionally overwhelmed we are more receptive to scent and more likely to remember it as part of the experience.

    But that does not apply to the comments of strangers or semi-strangers. Are they also triggered by their own scent memories unrelated to you or is it simply that what we call “skin scents” tend to be seen as part of the wearer?

    In general I would love people to comment more on what perfume I am wearing, like they might do on shoes, clothes or jewellery. Either I underapply or I terrorize them with my choices. 😮

    However I noticed the Ormonde Jaynes generally seem to get more attention than anything else I have.

    • I often ask about others’ perfumes, because I can hardly stop myself. But I think some people might perceive it as rude. Almost nobody asks me what I am wearing, or comments on it, and I am wafting sillage pretty regularly. But I live in an area where talking to strangers is frowned on, so it makes sense.

      What has more beautiful sillage than Ormonde Jayne? 😡 Although I’m stunned (often) to find a stranger’s fragrance I’ve complimented is something I can’t stand.

      • Rude or not, I ask too, and guess I’d like to be asked more not so much because I wear perfumes to please others but because it is great when someone takes an interest in something that I feel so passionate about.

        • It only embarrasses me when it’s something really weird and I am trying to gauge, how interested are they REALLY in this — I mean, not something you can buy locally. And then it sounds all snobby, which I hate — like, you can only get this in Paris. I mean, *I* didn’t get it in Paris, but it sounds that way. Then talk about decanting websites and their eyes glaze over. 😉

          I wish I had a dollar for every time I asked someone, wow, what IS that wonderful scent?! And then found out it was something I have tried and hated. J’Adore is common. I have complimented several women on their Liz Taylor Passion (no joke). Even Euphoria, once. :”>

          • Juicy Couture. I couldn’t believe it. What’s worse is that the poor woman was convinced she must have oversprayed. She hadn’t, but it was sad to watch.

            • I have read that before, from other people!!! And you know Chandler Burr raves over what a great frag it is… wonder what the Guide says, I forget. That’s funny, I hate the way it smells, but that’s probably my perfume snob. Honestly, I can’t stand that company.

              • I begged my dad not to buy that scent for my mom for Christmas but he was convinced she’d love the limited edition holiday bottle with the Scottie charm. I told him it was silly and juvenile and way too girlie and immature. He had the best response. “Even your mom might have days when she’d like to feel silly and girlie and immature.” I couldn’t argue anymore. She loved it.

                • Awwww, that’s so sweet! I bet if I smelled it with my teeny mind pried open further I might like it.

  9. I find that the more sillage a scent has, the more comments (which is obvious, I suppose!) But the more unusual niche scents I love tend not to leave a trail, except maybe soon after applying. I don’t reapply much, so nobody seems to notice them. And the really odd ones, I don’t wear outside my home – I may love them, but I can’t expect the world at large to agree with me! Of course, a fellow perfumista would ‘get’ it, but there aren’t any in my office. I’d be more likely to get ‘why can I smell gas?’ or something!

    • That is so interesting — several of us on here have scents we basically never wear outside the home, because they’re too … transgressive or reactive or what have you.

      I wonder if there is a clothing equivalent? Or makeup?

      • Probably not, unless there are secret actress/kabuki wannabes or perhaps some cross-dressers (I’m thinking makeup here, not fashion) I could definitely see it re fashion, though. I have a neighbor who wear leopard-print/lace teddies at home but dresses extremely conservatively when going out. I wouldn’t be caught dead outside in shorts unless I am exercising, yet I don’t cavil a bit at wearing a full-length kimono down Michigan Avenue in the middle of a workday!)…

        ….I personally can’t fathom makeup as a ‘private’ enjoyment, as I would some fragrances. I only wear makeup for a public venue – can’t imagine taking the time to cake on the liquid eyeliner to watch ‘House’!;)) By then I can’t wait to get the stuff OFF my face! How ’bout you?


        • I feel like blogging about this. Maybe on one of our non-perfume-post days. Now I am really curious. I will admit to experimenting with makeup looks at home, but it’s more along the lines of research, not, as you said, I want to line my eyes to read the Washington Post.

  10. I’m with Elle on scent being my personal drug. Since I work alone most of the time, perfume is sort of between me and me. I use it to adjust my mood. If it “wears me,” that’s a good thing!

    The rest of the time is spent in places where it’s a little risky to wear perfume — the gym or the windowless office where I do consumer counseling. I can tell sometimes that people are picking up my cologne scent, though most of them don’t ask — this is the South, it could be a manners thing. I have gotten compliments while wearing Jardin sur le Nil, even at the gym, but it’s usually of the “somebody’s wearing something great” type.

    The DH never likes the riskier scents. That’s just a given. It used to bother me, but it doesn’t any more. I tell him he just doesn’t have an educated nose — yet.

    • And it’s good that you are considerate. As a fragrance junkie, I try really hard not to put myself in situations where others are trapped in a room with me. And I don’t think I have ever worn a “signature scent” on a level that everyone around me would hate, like a cloud of Angel or Euphoria.

  11. I agree with Gaia’s comment about vanilla and musk perfumes eliciting the “you smell good” comments. Familiarity on the part of the sniffer must also play a part. Associations to comfort, sex, intimacy could all potentially elicit an “ummmmm” type of reaction.

    My relationship with a number of fragrances in the other category is interesting. We had a discussion on the MUA board last night about perfumes that elicit multiple sensory experiences (synaesthesia). PG Bois Blond comes to mind for me. I find it beautiful but I wear it for myself. Others might find it puzzling, disturbing or jarring even. When I wear it, if I pay attention, it can elicit tactile and visual experience, in addition to the obvious olfactory. So, really, it wears me. It smells good. (To me.) And feels good.

    • I should do a post on those … synaesthesia scents? Just spelled that wrong. Which are probably/possibly different for all of us? I think they must mostly (?) be strong scents, and I never see it coming. CB Revelation is like that for me, I literally cannot wear it if I need to think about anything other than CB Revelation. I can’t even drive with it on. Something else … something else was freaky powerful like that, absolutely blew me away. One of those rare Shiseidos? Trying to remember.

      • Your reaction to CB Revelation is interesting. Similar to what I experience with Bois Blond. I’m sure that the scents that elicit this are different for all of us, but the reaction that you describe is similar to mine I think. Driven to distraction by multi-sensory overload? Also interesting that so many of us have fragrances that we only wear at home. I have a few of them. Some of them I only wear for an hour or two. As if I am seeking a certain experience and then, it’s enough.

    • Melissa,
      First of all, I looove Bois Blond. In the context of today’s post, it’s one that I wear because I think I smell good. And I’m really, really taken by that smell…a very happy descent into thinking about I don’t know what.

      As far as synesthesia, I’m going to have to find that MUA thread. I was just reading Oliver Sack’s “Musicology” chapter on synesthesia in musicians, and I sometimes teach a book for teen readers whose main character is a synesthete, just learning that her ability?condition?processing style? has a name, and others have it to. (Though not in the same ways, and even those who share type–as in, smells make me hear music–might not get the same effect. Bois Blond might be Chagall to you, but Cassatt to me.)

      March, what you speak of sounds like what some call a sensual Over Excitability. For some, it could be tactile…the feel of a certain cloth totally takes over your processing, and you become focused/entranced by it. I guess CB Revelation is truly just that for you!

      • The MUA post started yesterday at about 9:30 pm. The responses strayed a bit off topic, but the original post/poll was fascinating. I responded with my own Bois Blond experience and have been emailing back and forth with the original “poster” who has some very interesting (and informed) ideas on the topic. Yes, March, I think this would be a great idea for a PP post!

  12. Are gemini’s supposed to be indecisive? I thought it was only us Pisceans that were hopelessly vacilliatory (word?).

    I’ve been having another one of my most favorite innner debates lately over the perceived femininity of some of the fragrances I like. I like Tubereuse Criminelle, but I feel like an ass when I wear it. I want to like something butch, something manly, but I get bored with them. Then I start to doubt myself and get all uppity about the “pretty” fragrances I like and reject them outright. So then I start to think that I would want a bell jar of TC even just to have to sniff from time to time, before I start to think how crazy that is. I mean, just having a bottle of scented water to smell to delight yourself? What could be more decadent in times like these?

    And so I force myself to go to Sephora, saying, no matter what, I will end up with something less than $100, easy to wear, and traditionally masculine. I never end up buying anything.

    Honestly, I think it depends on the person whether people notice the scent or YOU. If I were an eccentric and doused myself in Borneo 1834, someone would no doubt say “You smell [insert adjective here].” But someone else might also say “Your perfume…what is it??” I think it depends on whether the person giving the compliment genuinely likes the scent or not. If they do, perhaps propriety dictates that they compliment the wearer. If not, they might subconsciously want to implicate the perfume in their compliment/critique in affection for the person. Overly analytical?

    • Oh, so glad to know someone else vacillates! I didn’t know there was another vacillating sign, only me. :”> I am of two minds about everything. Once I MAKE a decision we are good, but making a decision, even small ones sometimes, is so very hard.

      About women’s scents on men, though, I am absolutely clear — I am ALL FOR IT! I find femme florals on men particularly alluring. And I believe (I may be wrong) that in some countries, scents with rose have long been a part of masculine perfumery. Besides, every man I have smelled “women” scents on seems to butch it up a bit.

    • Neil Morris turned me on to the idea of men in ‘women’s’ fragrances – he challenged me to put some Fracas on a seriously butch guy – honey, you jes’ don’t know!=p~ (I hope that’s the drooling emoticon). There’s something extremely sexy-subversive about a guy who looks like The Rock, wearing Fracas. Yow!

      So wear what you want! You’d be surprised at how well it will be received. I think the idea of a well turned-out man clad in TC is sexy as all get-out! I can imagine Pierce Brosnan in a bespoke suit, wearing just a touch of TC or Bal a Versaille…and driving women insane with lust…….

      Ving Rhames in Rochas Femme…..


      • The only problem…I weigh about 200 lbs less than the Rock, and look nothing like Pierce Brosnan. I go back and forth with wanting to be slightly more dandy and then more butch. Typical pisces!

        • I don’t think it matters how you’re built or what you look like darlin’ – I only used those guys because those are MY guys! I think you can pull if off you just relax and enjoy it. Rock it, and the world will rock it with you!

          Heck, I wore a glove-leather evening gown to a shockingly conservative Event. People were poised to go all 😮 but that’s hard to do when the wearer of 😮 exudes a scary amount of confidence! I worked that gown to the MAX!

          So work that TC – and enjoy it….and then when you are feeling a bit butchier, work that, too! No reason you can do both…or more!


        • But I think a lot of women on here feel the same way. It’s just that, I think for most of us, our fragrance choices are less loaded? I mean, nobody’s going to call me “sissy.” And I hadn’t even considered where you live, whether that affects how much you can get away with?

          If you weigh 200lbs less than the Rock, I’d guess you are on the small side? But honey, we all sometimes wish for something different. I have always wanted to be BIG — tall and strong. Mother Hen checking in here to say I think you should enjoy having it as many ways as you want — femme, butch, somewhere in between. @};-

          • I’m 5’5″ on a good day and about a buck fifty. Of Italian and Russian descent. Gay as the day is long. Sometimes I like florals.

            BF is 6’1″, about 185, blonde. Of Scottish and Latvian descent. Recovering twink discovering his cub side. Loves fresh citrusy scents (fave: Terre d’Hermes).

            Don’t worry, I apply TC with a very light touch 😛

            • Don’t sweat it one bit. There are Yatagan kinda days and then there are Fracas kinda days. It’s all about mood and I can go from King of the Forest to Old Lady with the flip of a switch. My bf has little interest in any of them. I’ve got him wearing Grey Flannel and I’m thrilled about that.

            • Being smaller than the Rock (who isn’t?) and gay doesn’t have anything to do with it, in my opinion. You’re still definitely a MAN and y’all smell different, which means Fracas smells different/sexy on you than on me (and I’m way bigger than you, so there;)

              Matt’s right – work it as you feel it. Of course, in my house, there are NO Yatagan Days, alas. El O (who looks like the Rock’s way older,heavier, hairier, hillbillier, bareknuckle fighter brother’s second cousin Elmer’s friend Tank) hates! Yatagan and it’s not worth the icky faces b-( But with all that, I got him to try Aromatics Elixir, figuring maybe he could rock that classic Like a Man (despite his looks he’s pretty openminded about stuff)…… It ate his lunch.

  13. Walking is vital to my daily rhythm. Growing up, an after-dinner walk was mandatory, no weather excuses allowed, and the pleasurable training stuck. Even when I do gym or yoga things, I must stroll a bit, and a day of hiking is heaven. Here’s to hoping your foot continues to improve, so you can getting walking regular-like.

    I get so few comments or compliments on my fragrances (except from my evil office mate-always an unkind word), that I figure I must be almost exclusively wearing them for myself. Bois Farine is one scent that has elicited a few negatives, but I persist, just because of lurve.

    That said, the exceptions are the frequently-cited vanillics and several spicy numbers. BF loves spice-especially Black Cashmere and Spezie di Medici, so these I wear for both of us. Vanillics seem to harm no one, so my Vanille Noire du Mexique, Vanille Tonka, and L’Air du Desert Marocain (hey, vanilla and spice!) are in my consciously public-oriented decisions.

    And in my no-fail, wear it for me as well as to smell nice for others first place is Bois des Iles. Thanks, March, for encouraging this one 😡

    • Really? Negative comments on Bois Farine? I find it so soft and cuddly….. you can wear it around me any time.

    • Joining Sariah in shock — what’s not to like about Bois Farine? That is so funny. I have smelled it on you, and it smells great — and not weird or offensive. Of all the things they can complain about, fragrance wise it’s so tame!

      Yeah, I hope to be back to walking soon. I got up this morning worried about repercussions but it seems fine.

    • A note about Bois Farine: the first time I wore it, it smelled fantastic on me. A little flour and bread, but mostly there was that odd, flowery note and something vaguely sweet. I went to buy the FB, sprizting myself a little before actually buying, and it turned into a horrorshow. It smelled like rancid sweat! I don’t know what happened, but I immediately reconsidered the purchase. I got a whole clutch of samples and am trying to figure out what went so horribly wrong between the applications (Bad juice? Humidity/heat? Different soap?)

      • Bois Farine smells like HELL on me. Ask Louise for confirmation. Almost unrecognizable as the same scent. So there is clearly something funny going on with that one.

      • Bois Farine is pure peanut butter cups on me. Seriously. It is so Reeses Pieces that I can’t even take it seriously as a perfume. It’s ridiculous.

        I keep a small amount around just in case something magical happens to my chemistry and I get that vaunted wood flour sandalwood thingie somewhere down the line.

        • THAT’S what it was! Bois Farine was like oatmeal…sweet…veering toward…peanut butter cookie! Who knew? I liked it, though, in a yummy baking kind of way.

  14. I’m with Elle and Olfacta: I most like to wear fragrances to suit myself. And as long as it’s interesting and I don’t think it totally reeks , I’m happy. So yesterday, working my way through a backlog of samples, I wore LesNez L’Antimatière, a skin scent if there ever was one, and this morning I am wearing Chergui, which not only wears me but takes me to a place I have never been. A few days ago I finally tried Onda,which didn’t smell good to me or on me, exactly, but reminded me of someone I used to know whom I really liked ( a friend’s Polish grandmother in Brooklyn) so I kept wearing it. I find different scents do alter my thoughts and perceptions, and I like to experiment to see how I respond to different fragrances.

    I take a less experimental approach to social situations, where I attempt to wear something appropriate to the occasion, usually a very light application of something classic and conventional, although these days it’s more likely to be Parfum Sacre than the Diorissimo or Joy I used to wear.. Usually, when people tell me that I smell good it’s after my daughter has spritzed me with a cloud some nondescript floral thing she has picked up at Sephora, a Stella or a Burberry, or some such thing. The appeal escapes me.

    Most of my favorite smells aren’t in any bottle I’ve discovered yet: sweet fern, balm of gilead poplars, seaweed, wild blueberries. And speaking of the last, March, wild blueberries are now in season in Maine. Nancy Harmon Jenkins, who lives in Camden, had some great recipes for them in yesterday’s Sunday NY Times Magazine, all of which would work quite well with the frozen wild blueberries you can usually find in the supermarket. That’s another kind of synaesthesia; sometimes taste can trigger very present memories of a smell or of a place you’ve once been

    • I know! The blueberries!!!! And I saw those recipes!!! And (miracle of miracles) when I was in Trader Joe’s on Saturday, for the first time ever (at least that I have noticed) they had FRESH wild MAine blueberries — the wee sweet ones! Not quite as good as from a roadside stand, but really quite good. I have eaten … a quart. In two days. I should be ashamed. Or ill. But I’m not. :d

      I love the way you think about your fragrances. Yes, I try to wear something “appropriate to the occasion” as well. And I so wish I could smell L’Antimatiere — I am anosmic. Like Narciso Rodriguez, it might as well be water. 🙁

  15. I don’t know. I usually wear them just to please myself. When I am going to be with others, I either wear nothing (friend hates fragrances) or something police, like L’Eau de Hiver or whatever. My husband never comments on fragrances (they are just okay) except once to say it was like tear gas (too much Le De) or “you smell really good” re Midnight Tryst. Since it was about an hour after a tryst of our own, one can only wonder. I had planned to never run out of it anyway, so it’s all good. :d As for whether it as me wearing the fragrance or visa versa, I have no idea.

    • Tear gas?!?! Wow, there’s feedback nobody’s looking forward to. I am smiling about Tryst — glad that one worked out so well.

  16. I was at a party this weekend and a friend walked in whom I haven’t seen in a while and she smelled delicious. She was wearing Carolina Herrera, but she didn’t specify which one. It was very tuberosey – along the lines of Fracas and Amarige only not so strident. Just lovely. But it was definitely wearing her – the entire room smelled like it. Another friend has for years worn Donna Karan’s Be Delicious, a scent that I cannot disassociate from her at all, so intertwined are the two. So I think it’s a very subtle line, between wearing and being worn.

    As for myself, I have been wearing perfume since I was in junior high and have never had a man make a positive comment about my scent beyond a very general, “you smell good.” My husband thinks all perfumes smell like “baby powder” and that I smell most like me when I’m not wearing any scent at all. Women are way more likely to comment on my perfume.

    I long ago gave up any pretense at finding/wearing one or two “signature” scents that would define me. I wear what I want when I want to, based solely on how they make me, not anyone else, feel. One day I’m Mandragore, the next Youth Dew.

    • That’s funny, the woman I arrange flowers with wears I think the same Carolina! Very LOTV to me. (Maybe they all smell like that?) She says hers is 212, I think, and it’s harder to find and she wants a change. I keep bringing her samples, but so far nothing to love.

      I guess … I guess if someone I loved wore something I didn’t like very much (eg Be Delicious) I would probably learn to at least like that smell, by association. I think most of my friends/kids at this point would associate me with Chaos or Courtesan, and I can think of worse things. 😉 Diva wears Light Blue, so whenever I smell it I smile.

      • I was going to try CH 212 today. I looked it up in The Guide first, though, because the sample card made me think of citrus. NOT a good thing for me. I’m glad I did and that I didn’t try it.

        (1) LT said it was lemon juice on a papercut.
        (2) You say it’s LOTV.

        Holy Schmoly! Can two people come up with two nastier descriptions? Wait, both of you can. Those are nasty enough, thank you. Shudder.

        • Not your scent? (bats eyes)

          None of them do much for me, which is a surprise because I love her clothes, I think they are very elegant.

  17. I pick my daily scent based on different things: If I have a bunch of new samples, then I’ll just pick on and wear it (today it is Ava Luxe Madame X, and I’m pretty sure it is wearing me 🙂 ); other days I pick a scent based on how I’m feeling that morning; and still other days I pick a scent based on how I want to feel that day. Some days I spend in the office, some are spent on the road, and some a spent stuck in conference rooms, so I pick my scent based on my needs that day, and not where I’ll be or who I’ll be with. However, I always apply sparingly and rarely do people comment. While trying to recruit one friend into going to the Scentsation, she replied that she never really thought of me as a big perfume person. She said I always smelled good, in a subtle way, but never in a big overpowering kind of way. Which I take as a compliment, considering the crazy/ransom scents I sometimes wear. I think that sometimes I wear perfumes that are more like my personality (usually warm, yummy comfortable gourmands- and no, I don’t want to psychoanalyze waht that says I thing about myself 🙂 ), and sometimes I wear perfumes for who I want to be that day. In the first instance, others would probably say that I smelled good, and in the second, they would probably say that my perfume smelled good. As for my husband, he has no nose for these things and I finally gave up asking his opinion. He now provides a “It/you smell good” or a “I don’t like it” 😉

    • Oh, lots of typos, that should be “random” and “ransom” :”> Not enough caffeine yet.

    • As you point out, there are a lot of different ways we wear perfume, and a lot of thought you put into what to wear. Certainly on the days I am wearing multiple scents, I am wearing a small enough amount of each that you’d have to be standing pretty close to me to get the sillage.

      I wonder what someone who is “into” perfume looks like? 😉 My friends are always stunned. I clearly do not strike them as … whatever fashion stereotyping is involved there. Flattery or insult? 😕

      • Hmm, interesting question. This particular friend also knows that most days of the week I wear a baby tee, jeans and sneakers, (My fashion always tends more towards comfort rather than style) and that my financial status wouldn’t support constant full bottle buys (of course, she is also completely unaware of the wonderful world of decants and samples 😉 ). These would be the same two observations that SAs often make when ignoring me at a perfume counter (mainly at Saks). I always want to have a little Pretty Woman moment and inform them of their “big mistake…huge.” Perfume does lend itself to the stereotype of “Fashionable, with enough income to pay for it.” Too bad that they don’t get the credit when I do finally decide to spring for the occasional full bottle.
        But I still will accept my friend’s statement as a sign that I don’t my perfume doesn’t enter the room before me and stay 5 mins. after I leave. 🙂

  18. So now it’s pizza and roasting meat that get men hot? I thought the smells of bacon and pumpkin pie were their aphrodesiacs of choice. Beer? Pork rinds? Salted peanuts?

    The last fragrance I was enthusiastically complimented on was Ineke After My Own Heart. I wore it to my doctor’s office and her compliment to me was “you smell heavenly,” not “your perfume is heavenly.”

    I always get a tad embarrassed when someone compliments my scent – probably because I wear what I do to please myself, not anyone else. I never wear anything with the expectation of it eliciting any comments.

    I think you’re right about North American males and what they find sexy. It’s definitely more of the foodie genre of scents that gets them going, rather than floral. And, I could swear that No. 5 was being pumped out of the sewers in Paris when I was there; I smelled it everywhere. Except in the Salons du Shiseido, of course. 🙂

    • After My Own Heart!!! Now I’d tell you you smelled good too. A lovely scent, although I think at this point Evenings Edged in Gold is my favorite. 😡

      Corn dogs. Cocktail peanuts. And that’s funny about No. 5. Maybe all the men there smell it and think, rrrrooooowwwwrrrrrrr… or does it remind them of mom?

    • Well, in my experience anyway, what gets men really hot is the smell of a brand-new flat-screen high-definition TV.

  19. So glad you are out walking!

    Jo Malone Necatarine Blossom and Honey doesn’t get any love on the blogs, but this is my number one smells like skin but better scent – I became aware of this by compliments from my husband saying I smell good when I wear it, and as usual I asked him what does it smell like, and he said clean skin. And yep, like others have mentioned it’s definitely musky. I think peach and/or nectarine, when not overly sweet or sythetic/fruity, is also a skin smell – like from the Thierry Mugler coffret from the movie, the scent called virgin smelled of apricots and milk if I remember correctly – like the impression of sweet, clean, soft skin.

    I don’t read much about D’Orsay, glad you posted on one. I’m a fan of the Linden and Etiquette Bleue.

    • Actually… I think that totally makes sense. That particular scent does have a musky finish that I think stems both from the blossoms and the honey. Wonder if apricots are in the same family? The orange blossoms have indoles in them (like jasmine) and honey has that furry, musky note, not sure what causes that. And what is more primal than milk? So all of those are wonderful skin scents if, as you note, their plastic florality isn’t emphasized.

  20. Gemini here. Not undecisive, but I like a great many things that aren’t necessarily related and might seem strange next to each other – like the Beasty Boys and swing music on the same mix tape.

    Wearing TC makes you brave and awesome smelling, not an ass, LOL.

    • ooo, I’ll take being brave and awesome smelling! I have to admit that today, I got a little “hairspray” from it, but I’m still very much enthralled.

    • I emailed you — I’ve tried to fix the mis-threads after the fact but don’t think I can. We are after all a full service blog…

  21. I think the difference comes down to whether or not the perfume is something that reflects you, that people identify with you. I tend to get “you smell good” comments about leather-based ‘fumes, but I wear leather a lot (especially with the fencing; I have that leather coaches’ vest and gloves), so I kind of smell like leather anyway. Anything that plays that up, tends to smell like me. Same thing with the gourmands; I do some serious baking, and since the SO loves spicy cooking, I ‘absorb’ some of those smells too. It took me forever to “get” florals though, and they are less likely to get me compliments. That for me would get the “Your perfume is pretty” comment. In fact, my other half generally doesn’t like me in florals (roses are the one exception), but any other skanky, spicy thing is just fine.

    • Aha!!! That is a well thought out set of points. And I find your fencing comment really interesting … my sister in law teaches dressage and spends a lot of time with horses. And she has this naturally leathery/horsey smell — I mean, in a really good way. Not unclean or anything. But it’s like her entire body is infused with those sorts of outdoor/hay smells. So I love smelling fragrance on her, it’s like building on an entirely different foundation. And it would make sense that your SO would find florals the least attractive. Bring on the spicy scents!

  22. Late to the party to add one thought…

    I find it very interesting that no one has mentioned the value of smelling strange or slightly disturbing to people–especially to people one wishes to attract or seduce. After all, how many times have we been wooed by a perfume that surprises or jars us the first time around? Arousal is not always about comfort, after all. Its also about strangeness, disorientation, the thrill of the new and different. The same goes for less erotic versions of the same thing, no? There are people who are easy to be around, and they are sure winners, but then there are the folks we are intrigued and puzzeled and a little scared of — and don’t we find ourselves pursuing and kowtowing to them in a way we wouldn’t to the cuddly folks?

    Or is it just me? 😕

    • Honestly, I think that’s what I find hot about men in really femme perfumes. It’s so totally unexpected. I mean, a man in a heady jasmine, or a tuberose? What could be more alluring? And so, to me, a woman in an unexpectedly masculine fragrance ought to be just as kinky and alluring.

  23. I’m just not that cuddly a person to begin with, and it’s very rare I pick a perfume that make anyone but me happy. My guess is I offend regularly and people are much too polite to tell me.

    but I’m soooo happy that way!

    • I think you are cuddly! :d >:d< Although I wouldn't want to p--- you off.... Well, like me, you have the advantage of not working all the time in some stupid office. I am grateful not to have to take that into consideration on a regular basis, regarding my fragrance.

  24. Like Patty, I am not cuddly. I wear what I wear for me, not anyone else (which is one reason you have to pretty close to smell it) so yes, it’s going to be pretty out there. Sometimes.

    • Patty and I are going to come to LA one of these months and meet you at the Scent Bar and get you all liquored up and THEN we will see how cuddly you are, my floral friend…

  25. Late (and short) reply. I’m with you on the walking–and the pain. I’ve walked all my life–I didn’t learn to drive until I was, well, very old–and I love it, but my feet (never too good to begin with) have recently been seriously falling apart, and preventing me from doing it. Very sad. . .

    I really don’t know about your question. The two perfumes I can think of that garnered the most compliments in the past year (mostly from women who hugged me) are Silver Factory and AT L’Air du Desert etc. Silver Factory = more “what perfume is that? It’s really different, really great” AT L’Air = more “you smell good, really good.” But I’m not sure that the AT fits your model (or does it?) so the difference might just reflect the (different) complimenters.

    • Oh, I am so sorry about your feet! In my opinion they are poorly constructed. It’s not like mine have been subjected to a lifetime of abuse… [-(

      You know what? I am out of Marocain, and this is a serious, serious oversight. (I gave my samp to a sweet friend who swooned over it). Considering how often it gets mentioned, I really am overdue for a dab and a revisit. And I bet you smell really, really good in it. @};-

  26. Very late to the game, but I wanted to say that my husband loves Vero Profumo Rubj on me, because it smells like sweettarts! Somehow the sweet orange blossom and jasmine on my skin translates to candy. I love it, too, but I’ve never heard anyone else describe it that way. I need to spring for a full bottle. I haven’t had him this crazy about a scent in a while.

    I agree that when a scent matches a person, it’s like the missing piece of a jigsaw puzzle. It just fits.

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