In The Cologne Series we explore the art of fragrance and how to use it as a tool in our grooming arsenal. We also muse on the artistic aspects of perfume, its history and the relationship men have had with cologne throughout the generations. After reading this series we are confident you will emerge an erudite intellectual who not only smells marvelous but has made an educated artistic statement with his scent.
Don’t miss a thing! Here are links to the other parts of the series:
Part 1: Why Cologne Matters
Part 2: How to Pick the Right One
Part 3: Telltale Signs of a Good Perfume
Part 4: Who Do We Wear Cologne For?
Part 5: How to Build a Fragrance Wardrobe
Part 6: Wearing a Fragrance Intentionally
No guy will admit it but we all want it. When we get it, some of us dismiss it; others give themselves mental fist bumps.
A compliment feels so good that many of us go an extra step they shouldn’t go just to get them. We never should but then vanity and ego often have it their way.
Getting a compliment on your fragrance is external recognition you have done something right. It often, however, goes deeper than this. If your fragrance is a reflection of who you are, then by extension a compliment on your fragrance is a compliment on you.
There is nothing wrong with getting a positive feedback of how you smell. The problems begin when you start making your fragrance choices based on what will get you recognition. Then, you end up buying perfume that is not a reflection of you but of the popular tastes of those around you.
Once I had a conversation with a sales assistant at a high end department store. She told me I need to buy a cologne women like. Once I had turned down the top sellers and “panty-droppers” she showed me, she questioned my whole rationale for wearing perfume. In her mind, the only reason for a man to wear cologne is to get laid. What other reason could I possibly have?
I tried to explain, as politely as I can, that I buy cologne for myself. I told her that I don’t care much what others think of my cologne.
It is when I explain this rationale that I get a push-back. Many of my friends say that I have to get something that other people like too. It’s a fair point, which leads us to the finer detail of picking a fragrance: how much consideration should you give to other people’s opinion about your perfume?
How Much Should You Care What Others Think?
If you lived on a deserted island, this wouldn’t even be a question. Since you most likely don’t, here’s a practical answer: your opinion comes first and that of others comes far second. The opinion of your immediate family matters more than the opinion of the sales rep whose job is to sell you things.
Upon closer examination the reasons why others don’t like our cologne has almost nothing to do with the fragrance itself. There are three main reasons why our fragrance may be a turn-off and they are not mutually exclusive:
- Some people are allergic or simply dislike some of the major notes in our fragrance. If someone hates lavender, they will hate any lavender scent. If this lavender hater is your wife, maybe you should look for another option...of cologne, I mean, not a wife.
- You have put too much. Overspraying is the main culprit of perfume criticism. Wearing the same cologne makes you used to its smell and it is easy for you to put too much. When people complain of your cologne, they often say it is too strong. That’s a cue that you’ve become scent-toxic and you need to lay off the sprays.
- It’s incongruent with who you are. If you’ve put on your best suit and are ready to close your biggest deal, you better make your cologne match the occasion. I know a guy who, despite his mature age (50+) and serious profession (a doctor), wears neon colour shirts, white belt and copious amount of Acqua di Gio. Aside from his attire, he is the nicest guy you’ll meet.
The issue this acquaintance and many other men face is incongruence between who they are, how they look and the perfume they wear. You won’t expect your litigation lawyer to smell like burned rubber. If she does, you’ll notice something off-putting about her. If her clothes match her profession and demeanor, then it will be the scent that stinks.
The important thing here is that you should wear a fragrance you love, while being mindful of the tastes of those closest to you. Essentially, just be the considerate man you are already.
The Risks of Buying a Crowd-Pleaser
All of the above may be meaningless to you if your main objective is to get compliments and hopefully get laid. In this case it makes sense to go with the best sellers or ask every girl your way whether she likes your potential purchase.
First, the most popular fragrances by definition are the most generic ones. This fact raises a question: if the perfume is generic, is the guy wearing it generic too?
Second, wearing a fragrance just to get compliments speaks very loudly about your inner state of mind. There is a certain aura of sexy confidence about a man who wears his cologne just because he likes it. It is interesting, unconventional and not for everyone...just like its wearer. Such imagery, of course, is impossibility with a crowd-pleaser fragrance that says “I smell clean”.
Therefore, even though it is counter-intuitive, wearing a cologne that is as unique as you will get you closer to achieving your mating aspirations than the generic crowd-pleaser created for that purpose.
What Comes Next…
Now that we have hopefully set the right intentions of buying perfume, we’ll debunk the myth of the signature scent and show you how to build a solid fragrance wardrobe.
Go next for Part 5: How to Build Fragrance Wardrobe.