24 Aug 2020
When did blokes wearing perfume become popular again?
Ok – I know they don’t call it perfume. They call it cologne, fragrance, or scent. But it’s what we girls would refer to as perfume.
When my boys were growing up it was more about the deodorant situation – it came in all sorts of scents and they usually developed their favourite. When I saw one of them spraying it on their clothes rather than their skin I realised it was all about the smell impression they made, rather than trying to mask any perspiration smell.
Getting nice smells onto a bloke usually meant either deodorant or aftershave, and familiar fragrances like Old Spice feature in a lot of memories. But I don’t think my Dad would be caught wearing a fragrance – aftershave, sure, because that served a purpose of stinging your skin after the shave which is apparently very important. The fact he smelled nice afterwards was a bonus. But if you smelled clean, maybe from a recent shower, then that was good enough.
Obviously, going back through history, men were as likely as women to be found spraying themselves with something that smells nice. Because let’s face it, personal hygiene was a different thing back then. Bridal bouquets were popular because the pretty smell of the flowers disguised the not so pretty smell of the bride. Or the groom.
This topic came to me on a twofold manner. My brother-in-law asked me to compare the smell of one arm with the other to see which was nicest, after obviously trialling a couple of different colognes. He had to point out to his wife that I agreed with him, not her, on which smelled best. I had to point out to him that maybe attracting his wife was a preferred option for him.
The other thing that brought this topic to a head was the recent release of a fragrance by an ex Australian cricketer. The name of the fragrance is defined by his initials and his one-day cricket jumper number. I caught the tail end of an advertisement for it on telly, where the presenter was standing there itemising the wonderful scents contained in this bottle.
Apparently it’s a lightly citrus scent with hints of oak. If that’s not enough, the blurb goes on…. “opening with notes of fresh bergamot, mandarin leaf, cardamom and crisp apple, the scent transcends, develops and intensifies with mid notes of juniper berry, lavandin, clary sage and wild mint before finishing with bold base notes of Indonesian patchouli, birch wood, oak moss and leather accord.”
Now this particular cricketer was known as a chain smoker and heavy drinker who famously had baked beans sent to India while on an overseas tour, so he’d have something to eat. He may have cleaned up his act since giving up the game, but his playing career is what the sale of this perfume is based on.
Maybe they’d sell more if it was advertised as “A sophisticated scent comprising sweat, cigarettes, baked beans, and socks”.
I still wouldn’t buy it.