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.
See also: The Fragrance Wardrobe Part 1, The Fragrance Wardrobe Part 2 ~ Comfort Scents, Part 3 ~ Scents for Business and Special Occasions and Part 5 ~ All The Rest.
Perfumes to seduce with hmmmmm? Well if you'e got your fish net thigh highs on and not much else, I doubt he will ever remember what fragrance you had on! They're painfully visual, those men folk… For me during my big seduction days hypnotic poison trully worked it's hypnotic powers on all the men. All of them went ga-ga for that scent. Now that I am more sure of my seduction powers within, it's all about what makes me feel sexy not with what they like. I do agree with not wanting to smell like a pie BUT every man I've ever known loves a great gourmand scent.(Angel, Amber Narguille, Escada Collection, Hanae Mori, Ginestet Botriys, Jalia, straight up Vanilla Oil) You smell so good they want to eat you I guess… and what's sexier than that?!
I'm thinking of what I wear when the lace is just peaking out…when they're not yet entirely sure what else is gonna follow… I like something really close to the body that I've applied earlier. NR works well for me for the nuzzle, ummm you smell so good factor.
A surprise scent he loved, was L'eau de Hiver. I really like it, but I don't think of it as sexy. In fact I wear it to work! He murmured something about how erotic I smelled (!) and about tackled me right there at the dinner table. And there was no lace anything to discover. I was *shocked.* And, I'm contemplating a FB now…I bet I can get him to buy it for me…
My husband has a strong belief that perfumes should not smell like food. His nose and mine are constantly clashing, and, much to my dismay I have had to swear off any perfumes with overly sweet, cloying or vanilla notes for his scentual satisfaction. Does anyone else have this problem? How can two people get along in every other respect, share many opinions and perspectives, love each other madly, but almost completely disagree in the fragrance department? The only sexy scent we have agreed on so far is Prada Tendre. I am still on a quest for more….
I was wearing Coco when I met DH, and now it seems he only really LOVES scents with the same rich, oriental feel. (Recently: Mazzolari Lei.) They're all about association, those men — which is why you should probably wear your favorite scent, whatever it is, on a first date. If he falls for you, he's going to want you to wear it again and again. (The Hirsch research on pumpkin pie and lavender and penile tumescence backs this up in a most disturbing way, when you consider the likely maternal and grandmaternal sources of those associations!)
It sure is true that lots of men like a good snack! Now if only I could find a perfume that smells like beer nuts I'd be set.
L'Eau d'Hiver–that is a surprise (but a nice one)! What is “NR”? I think I really need to know!
Probably the most important thing is that you like the way each other smells without any added scent at all. But it would be rough to have to limit your fragrance choices. It sounds like he likes amber–at least that's a good sign!
So this all points, then, to wearing whatever it is that you want to wear from the get-go. Which I suppose is the most satisfying thing to do, anyway. Still, I always hope that some perfume will be the magic potion that will bring on the men in droves.
You're so right about the Hirsch report! Didn't it also say that women like the scent of black licorice? I wonder where that comes from? (I do like the occasional box of Good 'N Plenties.)
I think Narscisco Rodriguez?!
Yup, thats it.
Oh, I forgot to mention “Todd Oldham” ! Does anyone remember that? That one men would smell out from across the room and come drooling! Todd has been long discontinued, why, why, WHY???!!!
I'e never smelled that one. I'll be on the lookout for it now.
You should be able to find it at one of those odd-lot stores, I'd think. A local supermarket–an enormous hypermarket, actually, with a huge fragrance-and-cosmetic section–has a whole bunch of it: 2 30-mL EDP sprays for $14.99 Canadian. I can't imagine why it was discontinued, either, because it's spectacular: a fresh, breezy top note (kiwi and cucumber, mostly) leading into a warm, spicy-sweet oriental heart. It's not like anything else; it should have been a huge hit.
Sounds like a really interesting scent, and the price sure is right. Thanks for the information.
I love Rush and Deep Red on my GF, but then I love her smell even when she's wearing nothing at all. True, we men, predictable and visual that we are, love gourmands and ambers, spicy vanillas and rich musks as much as we do negliges and lustful looks. But you know, if we're hungry, we'll eat you even if you are wearing baggy clothes and no perfumd at all. I sex myself up with Egoïste, Magnetism and L'Instant.
It's nice to have a man's perspective. Does your GF like scent as much as you do? Are there any scents you'd like to smell on her?
Alas, she is not as perfume-crazed as me and likes wearing one perfume at a time. Plus, I drive her crazy with my obsession. Even so, she likes most of what I wear. On her I'd love to smell Prada, Angel, Lovely, Eclix… where do I stop… but she say she'd sooner have her toenails pulled out than put on most of “that old woman/patchouli stinks”.
Well, the gentleman enjoying my favours for the last few years seems to go crazy for my favourite perfumes – but then I think he goes crazy for them because they are, to coin a well-used phrase, “me”, because they meld with my skin and fit my personality. Agent Provocateur has been quite a hit (it's well-behaved naughty on me, like a lace corset under a business suit, and yes, I *have* worn it to the office), and so has Madness by Chopard, one of my all-time favourites.
It sounds like you've found a good situation! And now Madness goes on my ever-lengthening list of scents to try.
I find Baiser du Dragon by Cartier does the trick, as does Perfect Vanilla by Creative Scentualization. Men do love the vanilla.
Vanilla does seem popular, and probably better for the warmer months than is Baiser du Dragon. A few weeks ago, on a hot, hot night, I was watching the Bette Davis movie where she's in Singapore (maybe it's called “The Letter”?) and thought a squirt of Baiser du Dragon would suit the movie well. It was too darn hot, and the perfume was too darn potent.
I think women should use perfume not to attract but to filter: Sure, 92% of men will think a gout of Organza Indécence smells yummy, and 92% of men will think that Bulgari Black is too weird for their taste, but so much the better! Who needs to waste time on a man who's scared of a little Black?
For some reason my DH loves any or all Lutens on me. 'Course I've never left Miel du Bois on long enough to smell. Hmmm maybe instead of a head-ache… I also find Sacre Bleu to be very sexy, not sure why though.
Ok, I keep hearing about Serge Lutens. Can someone please tell me which one of his fragrances are hot (I'm a SL novice, here..)? What am I missing out here?
As for a good seductive fragrance, 2 guys at work liked it when I wore Vera Wang. I try very hard not to think of weddings when I wear this, only that I really feel like a classy dame whenever I put it on. Also, whenever I want to feel like an exotic desert princess I'll wear Aqaba by Miriam Mirani. A very heady scent so I only use a little.
This is SUCH a great point. If a man can't appreciate a little Dzing!, do you really want him hanging around, messing up your stereo, and polluting your fridge with his cheap beer?
I adore Sacrebleu and find it very sexy, in a moody, almost sepia-toned way.
I bet Aqaba would be popular with men because of the almost-edible spiciness. As for the Lutens, take a look at Robin's reviews–just click on “perfume reviews” at the top of the page. They're all worth giving a sniff, in my opinion!
filtering–very advanced thinking here!! I like it.
Yes! I wish I would have thought of it for the article.
My man has nicked my bottle of Bulgari Black and pretty much used it up, and he wears the deodorant daily. Now he's started wearing my Messe de Minuit, too.
I really need to make him buy his own fragrances – we went sniffing the other week, and he rather fell for some of the CdG Synthetic Series; Tar, especially, which I liked on him, and Garage, which mostly smelled of motion sickness to me…
I've introduced him to a bottle of Nemo, which I love but don't find myself wearing, so I hope he'll start using that. I found it smells on him the way I wanted it to smell on me…
I like Messe de Minuit on him, but I don't want to smell the same as him, so when he wears it, I have to pick something else. And I want it to myself, dammit!
It sounds like you love how each other smells, and that's good! I wonder if he'd like Passage d'Enfer or Dzing? Then at least you could have Bulgari Black and Messe de Minuit back. Good luck!
I have that problem… but 100x worse. My boyfriend is allergic to everything, and so when I'm around him, I can't wear perfume without setting off his sniffles, stuffy noses, and sneezes. It sucks. Luckily (in this respect only), he lives about 400 miles away, so I don't see him very much. Recently though, I've been trying to find softer skin scents that may not bother him that much. Any suggestions?
Oh no! You might find some good suggestions for sexy perfumes in a poll that Robin did. The link is on the left. I hope you and your beau are living close soon!