I feel like I should be wearing a Jean Harlow dress, leaning back on a chaise longue, and dangling a maribou-trimmed mule from one foot. “And now,” I’d say, “Let me tell you about how to seduce a man through scent.” Unfortunately, I’m no Jean Harlow. Or even Olive Oyl, for that matter. But I’ll give this topic a stab and count on you to help me out.
Remember in Pride and Prejudice when Elizabeth Bennet says of a “slight, thin sort of inclination” that “one good sonnet will starve it entirely away”? This is also true of the “big guns” of sexy perfumes — say, Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur or Agent Provocateur. Wearing them is akin to prancing around in a merry widow corset. Depending on your intentions, you might want to save the overtly seductive perfumes for a few dates down the road. Some of the classic sexy fragrances are Caron Parfum Sacré, Molinard Habanita, and Guerlain Shalimar. Calvin Klein Obsession and Yves Saint Laurent Opium fit the bill, too, but they risk being borderline cliché at this point.
A safer road is to wear a scent that you love and that complements your personality. That way, you will be comfortable and confident. A vivacious, offbeat woman wearing a perfume with a lot of personality would be attractive. For instance, she might do well with Balenciaga Rumba or Serge Lutens Douce Amère. A thoughtful, quiet woman might be complemented by a subtle but complex perfume like Frederic Malle En Passant or Guerlain Après l’Ondée. When you feel sexy, you are sexy.
Then there’s the whole chemistry argument about scent. I’ve never tried any of the pheromone fragrances, so I can’t vouch for their effectiveness. I’ve read about studies showing that men are attracted to the smell of pumpkin pie. I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in smelling like a pie. (On the other hand, with L’Artisan Safran Troublant, I’m happy to smell like a beautiful paella.)
In the end, I suspect that if you wear a perfume that is good for you (and if you are reading Now Smell This, chances are you aren’t doused in the nasty stuff), a man who likes you will like the way you smell. But I’d love to hear from any of you who have had good results with a particular perfume.
One last word of advice: Chanel said that you should apply perfume where you want to be kissed. I don’t think this is a good idea. Perfume smells a lot better than it tastes.
Image via Parfum de Pub.