Project Perfume: Give me Strength
Since I started Project Perfume, I’ve been lucky to speak to ‘Fumeheads from around the world, and I’ve been delighted to speak to some of the finest perfumers in the world too. What’s been especially great about getting involved in the perfume world has been how inclusive it is, people from all kinds of different backgrounds, just having an interest in something because it smells nice.
Okay, that makes us all look mad now I’ve written it down, but, speaking of mad, this link was making the rounds on twitter recently, and it made me roll my eyes somewhat. You don’t have to click the link, I’m transcribing the content here:
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My new boyfriend’s place smells suspiciously
like women’s perfume. At first I thought it was another woman but I’m so
hot I don’t see how he would have time or leftover desire. Lightbulb! I
finally got him to show me where the scent was coming from. He had a
whole collection of women’s expensive perfumes and he wears them when no
one else is around. How weird is that? I don’t care so much, except
does that mean he’s toying with gayness? Do any other guys out there
secretly wear women’s perfume? Why does he do it? He says his former
girlfriend was OK with it, and she would sometimes wear men’s cologne.
— Boyfriend Has Girly Smell, Winnipeg
To which, “Miss Lonelyhearts” replied:
Dear Freaked: Yes, some men do, but it’s unusual and means something —
it came from somewhere. Ask him about the origins of his love for
perfume. You need to know. Does it have anything to do with his
sexuality? Did it start with a certain female in his life: his mom or
his sister or his babysitter or an old girlfriend? Is it a method he
learned to use for self-stimulation? And finally, does he dress up like a
woman and wear the perfume when he’s alone? Gently find out what the
perfume thing means. It may be nothing or it may be part of a bigger
scene he has yet to mention.
So, apparently, men who wear women’s fragrances are gay. I wonder if the reverse applies? Women who wear aftershave, are they gay too? Or just … butch? It’s interesting that this kind of distinction still has a foothold on people’s imaginations. Personally, if I came home and found MrLippie had been raiding my collection of perfumes, I’d be delighted, well, it’d mean I’d finally cured him of his Lynx obsession, once and for all, which has to be a good thing. Plus, he’d smell AMAZING. I have a great collection these days, it has to be said. As I’m a frequent stealer of his fragrances too (currently wearing Fleur du Male by Jean Paul Gaultier), I think it would be only fair to let him have his way with my collection. So to speak.
For a long time through history, there were no distinctions along gender lines in fragrance, there were only things that smelled good – and they were necessary because people smelled bad. Men smelled of flowers, women smelled of flowers, and no one batted an eyelid. Now, because of aggressive marketing campaigns over the last fifty years or so, apparently men smell of manly things, women smell like womenly things, and apparently the only scent everyone has in common is “sexy”. Or candyfloss. But never the twain shall meet, it seems.
Do you think “Miss Lonelyhearts” had a point? Personally, I’d like to know who she thinks wears unisex fragrances. I’m sure it’d be … interesting.
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