Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How do you smell so good?

Those of you that do, at any rate. And I have walked next to you, and VA VA VOOM do you smell good. What is your secret?

So, you may be figuring out that this is not really a post about local music, or music at all. I think it's important, though, and our discerning group of bloggers and readers are the ones who need to discuss this topic. What are you wearing to smell good? Cologne? Aftershave? Perfume? Essential oils? Soap? Bacon? Or are you rejecting this notion of 'good' and trying something like Axe or the garlic you ate two days ago? Are there any ladies who are trying out the fascinating secret gambit of the cassoulette?

Now, I have been criticized in the past on the topic of fashion, and I promise I will not make fun of anyone's weight. And by the time this post is over I PROMISE you will be able to make fun of me for smelling (or wanting to smell) like any number of old and/or dead people.

This topic has always been overwhelming to me, as it is I think to most people because of the negative stereotypse associated with the overuse of fragrance and the mountain of presumed product variety, which potentially may be the same as the confusing varietals of wine and all that goes along with it. (And on that subject, may I say that while different wine types do taste different, syrah vs. pinot noir, etc., when it comes to testing individual wines YOU ARE BEING HYPNOTIZED by the wine hosts. "This one has light notes of hazelnut and berries. THis one a rich smoke and undercurrent of currant and pepper..." No it doesn't. IT'S THE SAME SHIT.) Going online doesn't help much either. You get a lot of ads, and a lot of websites that throw both unhelpful product names and even more unhelpful descriptive terms a la the aforementioned wine. Plus contradictions. Spray a lot on yourself? Or spray a little? Damn.

One overall theme I found(and I am speaking about men's fragrance now, because that's really only what I was looking at) was that the 'cologne mentoring' available online seems to assume you are about to non-ironically perform one of the following activities:

1. Throw the pigskin around with your Aryan buddies
2. Straighten your power tie before the big meeting
3. Attend a formal dinner party
4. Go to the hottest new club to score some bitches
5. Jump from your boat to do some other thing that will help you desperately pretend you're not an asshole

It's frustrating. Maybe they're talking to a majority of fragrance buyers out there, but they're not talking to me. They're not talking to dudes who write postmodern fantasy fiction, listen to both Neu!, Fever Ray, and Morrissey (who wears the same cologne as Ozzy, incidentally), and whose idea of 'scoring bitches' is probably watching a Christopher Guest movie.

It takes a little digging, but there are resources out there that are a little more neutral, and vastly more helpful. Basenotes is a completist database of pretty much ever fragrance out there, searchable by name, descriptor, and manufacturer. It also includes a wide variety of comments from both lovers and haters of all the fragrances, so there are relatively balanced viewpoints. Another, and this may be more valuable to those of us who are looking for a classy or retro aspect, is Perfumeshrine, which lists celebrities and historical figures, and the fragrances they wore. This is fascinating. Really really cool.

Now that those fun facts are out there in the wide world, I still want to know what the intrepid reader thinks about the whole thing, and what they are doing personally. Maybe someone can start a site that helps us indie folk with our potential desire to sniffgood- and I view such things as the Ed Hardy 'tattoo' fragrances crass commercial cash-ins. Blah. To kick things off, here's where I am.

I got a little sampler for Christmas. In the sampler was some Paul Sebastian, and it smelled like my grandpa, which I liked. So, I tried it on. I realized, that with my pompadour and old school glasses and jowls, I look like him too. Now all I need is to smoke a pipe. That's pretty cool, but I don't think I'll stick to the scent. I've always been a big fan of Caswell-Massey's stuff, not just because they smell good, but because of the history. They've been making scents in America since 1752. Holy fuck! Their No. 6, still in production, was a favorite of George Washington, who would give crates of it as gifts. Other Caswell-Massey fans include Errol Flynn, John Adams, Humphrey Bogart, John Barrymore, Judy Garland, Dwight Eisenhower, Sarah Bernhard, Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and John Kennedy. That's a list to be proud of. Not too many living celebs on that list (I deliberately left of Hilary Clinton), so maybe I can start a renaissance.

So let's hear it, folks! How do you smell so good?


Dr. Something said...

I'm allergic to most perfumes, so I'm not much help in this arena. My advice is always: for the love of god, don't wear any fragrance or I will avoid you or face terrible headaches.

Whatever scent I have comes alternately from Dr. Bronners and various unscented bar soaps. That and my own personal musk.

Jess Gulbranson said...

A double dose of Dr. Heh.

Amber Dawn said...

I'm mystified by this as well. I don't like the smell of most chemically perfumes and they make me feel kind of ill (though I think it's more just cos they smell bad to me than any kind of allergy) but occasionally will smell someone who is clearly wearing some scent and it's amazing and perfectly applied. Every time I put perfume on I feel like I may as well be wearing Eau De Cheap Hooker, so I avoid it. I occasionally use rose scented soap though and fruity scented shampoo, which people tend to like.