Wednesday, April 23, 2008

You, too, can design a men's fragrance!

Guess what I found out the other day. Women don't like men's cologne. We think it smells bad.

I know. "Duh," right?

I don't know where I read this. I'm pretty sure it was in some blog somewhere. But hey, so what if I made it up. Say it loud: Women don't like men's colognes! They reek!

The whole fragrance thing--I don't know. I've tried. But I kind of don't get it. Although you know what's fun? Hitting the Basenotes site and reading people's descriptions of fragrances.

But you know what's even more fun? Reading their descriptions of fragrances they hate. Like, say, men's colognes.

Honestly, I don't think I've ever hated anything straight out of the bottle as much as I hated Bond No. 9's H.O.T. Always, which to me smelled like a mixture of Jolly Ranchers and power brake fluid (a foul, garishly red liquid that looks like cherry soda and which smells like a tomcat peeing on a hot engine).

This is great stuff, right? So I poked around some more. And I noticed that for descriptions of fragrances, whether good or bad, there's a formula, along the lines of the way people write about wine.

It opens with a lively burst of X, but soon the Y kicks in. The drydown features Z.
So then I thought, hey ho, let's have some fun. Take your least-favorite, stomach-churning men's fragrance and write a description of it. Or what the hell--design a new one. How can you go wrong? I mean, apparently, men will douse themselves with anything. And fragrance is big business. There could be real money in this.

What's this? You say you lack the nose and the technical vocabulary? No problem. I've taken care of it for you. Traditional fragrances start with a burst of light fragrance, and as you wear them, reveal increasingly earthy basenotes.

Just select from the following categories, describe them in order, and add a few meaningless qualifiers like "warm," "creamy," and "elegant," and you'll sound like a pro. Soon you'll be dazzling the perfume snobs on Basenotes with descriptions like this:

"It opens with a combination of Windex and crayons, develops elegant heart notes of Purina Cat Chow and coffee breath, and dries down to a warm, comforting, creamy base redolent of tar and dried vomit."
Here are the categories with the kind of fragrance notes that men seem to like:

Topnotes: Vasoline, ChapStick, toner cartridge, antifreeze, bug spray, gasoline, freezer burn, hospital disinfectant, nail polish remover, tongue depressor, rancid oil, urinal cake, my basement

Heartnotes: bilgewater, cat pee, burning rubber, vitamin E capsules, Diaper Genie, armpit, anchovy paste, dirty sneakers, wet woolen overcoat, turpentine, hair dye, flea collar, vomit, that Rubbermade container in the back of my refrigerator

Basenotes: Topsoil, mildew, rotten eggs, compost, burning feathers, nursing home, decomposing flesh, creosote, canned dog food, fart, fertilizer, rotting potatoes, sulphur, bull's testicles, the bottom of my garbage can


  1. What men's fragrances would THESE be?


  2. First, I will say that my father (who art in heaven) wore Geoffry Beene Grey Flannel and I loved it.
    K would not GO NEAR any kind of cologne.

    The stuff you're talking about opens with a combination of garbage disposal and the bait freezer at the general store, develops quirky heart notes of subway tunnel and dries down to filthy dorm shower.

  3. Oh I despise men's cologne. Mr. D's "Do Me Juice" opens with the sharp tones of mint mouthwash and ripe bananas, becoming (rather too quickly) old car, mold, and rotting meat.

  4. Wait, I thought armpit was a basenote?

  5. OMG...I used to wear Grey Flannel while I was a Boulevardier Training.

    It used to be, if memory serves, quite popular among the distaff side.


  6. Never believe a word out of their mouths when you're dating, and they [those distaffs you mentioned] say they love your cologne. They're lying.

    Men's colognes are like having to ride in an unaircontitioned car with freshly-shellacked shelving and month-old spilled dried milk, with all the windows closed because we're passing through a chicken factory area.

    Women's colognes are not much better.


    p.s. Thanks for a gooooood belly laugh first thing this morning.

  7. I'm sure you smelled just lovely back in the eighties when everyone's nasal membranes were still recovering from all the coke they did the night before.

    My thoughts about fragrance is that we don't apply them to attract the opposite sex. We put them on because we like them ourselves. Which explains the way so many men seem to have smeared themselves with the rendered fat of an ancient bear and then rolled in its dung.

  8. Your fire ant:

    Backatcha about the belly laugh.

    Your pal in hilarity,


  9. Oh, and Joke, YourFireAnt came along as I was typing, so that comment about everyone having lost their sense of smell during the 1980s? Due to having snorted so much coke? Which would explain both Giorgio and Drakkar Noir? Was aimed at you.

  10. I don't mind some men's colognes, but it has to be a light scent and applied sparingly. And I do mean sparingly. Remember that old brylcreem ad -- a little dab will do ya? Yeah. A little dab will do ya.

    The worst is when some random dude takes a damned bath in the stuff and then steps onto a subway and winds up sitting right next to me. It pretty much guarantees that I'll have to get up and move to another car to avoid a full-on asthma attach -- which means losing my seat and having to stand for the rest of the commute.

  11. I had an old boyfriend in college that wore Paco Rabonne. Ummmmm, It really really smelled great on him.

    He was flannel shirt and cords type of guy so it was conpletely out of character for him to have this brand. I'm convinced that his previous girlfriend must have given it to him. Thanks Jody!


  12. LB wears Vera Wang for men. I actually appreciate men's cologne!

  13. Wearing Men's Fragrances is just one more of many ways for people to hide from their own self like sun glasses and many more fashion products.I have herd that there is a new makeup for man brand.


Gentle Readers:

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xxx, Poppy.