Oh hey, Perfume Posse! My name is Arielle Weinberg, and I run the perfume blog Scents of Self. The other day, in a fit of Sour Skittles-induced mania, I decided that I was going to become a fashion blogger instead. (My enthusiasm quickly fizzled when I realized that “fashion blogger” is really just a nice way of saying “trust fund baby”.) In my twenty minutes of frenzied research, I came across a blog called “The Man Repeller”. Its founder, Leandra Medine, defines “man repeller” as “outfitting oneself in a sartorially offensive way that will result in repelling members of the opposite sex. Such garments include, but are not limited to, harem pants.” I was instantly intrigued. Now, it will be an ice cold day in hell before y’all catch me in harem pants, but I began to wonder: could perfume be a man repellant?
Perfume is usually thought of as a tool of seduction, a man catcher. But what if you don’t want to attract a man? Maybe you already have a perfectly good man and/or woman. Maybe you’re single, but would like to be able to drink your freaking latte in peace without having to politely nod along for 45 minutes while a stranger brays at you about his allegedly burgeoning rap career. (“I swear, girl, the other day P. Diddy said to me, ‘You have so much potential’! Well, actually, he said, ‘Waiter, could we please have the check?’, but what he meant was…”) This is starting to sound a little Samantha Brick-y, I promise that this male attention really has very little to do with my looks. It tends to happen when I am dressed like an Olsen twin circa 2004. I suspect that these charmers choose me because I am small and young-looking (read: vulnerable). These gents are also not exactly Johnny Depps. Most of them are twice my age with half my teeth. As seductive as I find their mid-life crises, I assure y’all that I would be first in line for a man-repelling perfume.
So which perfumes are your best bets for repelling unwelcome suitors? The goal here is to smell as unapproachable as possible. Nothing too inviting (sweet gourmand scents) or friendly (cheerful fruity fragrances). I suggest the following perfumes, but I want to hear your ideas, too! Please share your most effective man-repelling perfumes with us in the comments!
Prada Infusion d’Iris: This heavily powdered iris fragrance is proper and businesslike to the point of desexualization. Infusion d’Iris has a conspicuous lack of warmth or womanliness. (Infusion d’Iris fans, please understand that nothing that I just said is necessarily negative. Infusion d’Iris is an awesome perfume; it’s just not particularly likely to be interpreted as “hawt” or sexy by the average non-perfumista. Of course, that’s exactly the effect we’re going for here!)
Serge Lutens Douce Amere: Douce Amere is a biting, antiseptic perfume centered around the notorious liquor absinthe. Absinthe is anise-flavored, and this has to be the most anisic perfume I’ve ever smelled. As a lover of hardcore anise perfumes like Lolita Lempicka and Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille, I really like Douce Amere, but literally nobody else seems to. This is one of the weirder Serge Lutens (which is sort of like saying “Evian is one of the wetter brands of water”, in that all brands of water are pretty wet), and I feel confident that it would baffle and hopefully dissuade most non-perfumistas.
Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune: Listen, I love Pamplelune. I think that it’s a gorgeous, vibrant grapefruit scent. But an awful lot of people on the internet maintain that it smells like cat pee. I have never, ever detected cat pee in this perfume, but it obviously comes across that way to some folks. While that might seem unfortunate, it can be used to your advantage: most men will probably think twice before trying to chat up the litter box lady.
Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gio Pour Homme: Of course, the fastest way to repel men is to smell like you already have one in your life. Acqua di Gio has been the top-selling men’s fragrance at Sephora for years now, which means that wannabe suitors should be able to recognize it as being a men’s cologne relatively easily. They will assume that someone much manlier than them has already marked his territory and will back off, lest they incur the wrath of the alpha male.
Chanel No. 5: Yes, yes, Marilyn Monroe wore No. 5 to bed and therefore it is the sexiest perfume of all time forever and ever, what is this sacrilege you tasteless trollop, etc. Chanel No. 5 is on this list for two reasons. First, that bracing blast of aldehydes makes No. 5 an imposing perfume, maybe even a bit bitchy. Second, because No. 5 is such a classic, most men have at least one older female relative who wore it at some point in her life are much less likely to hit on you, unless they are truly weird, in which case you’re probably going to need more than perfume.
(ED – seriously, y’all need to make Ari’s blog one of your regular perfume visits)