Do you smell that?
Since the beginning of time, or at least since there’s been advertising, men and women have been willing to shell out hard-earned cash for something to make them smell better. Or, at least something that they think makes them smell better.
I have no idea who came up with the first perfume or cologne, but sometimes I wonder if we’ve made much progress in the area of scented enhancement. Specifically, in the area of male scented enhancement.
My first assumption would be that during the earliest days of mankind’s existence, when women prepared for courtship, in an effort to attract a fella they liked, they would take the sweetest flowers, plants or fruits they could find and apply them to their skin.
My second assumption would be that before early man arrived at the cave to take a woman out for the evening, he’d slather himself in deer musk, much like men still do in the South during the month of November.
As a kid, I can remember a certain older lady who would always manage to sit in front of us in church. She smelled like flowers and maple syrup. I was firmly convinced that this occurred to test my ability to focus on the sermon. What better way for evil to prevent a young mind from hearing the Message than to wedge flowers and maple syrup between him and the preacher?
Actually, I think she legitimately thought that what she wore smelled good to everyone.
And I have to confess. In the past, I was guilty of thinking that the cologne I bought and wore was attractive.
Part of this had to do with what I was given as gifts when I hit my teenage years. I’m pretty sure that in the 1970’s, it was a state law in Arkansas that every 13-year-old male was required to receive an Old Spice gift set at Christmas.
I also believe that there were only about four of these Old Spice gift sets in existence, and families just gave them back and forth to each other’s 13-year-old boys when they came of age.
I just happened to be one of the few young men who were dumb enough to wear the stuff.
Looking back on what was available then, there weren’t many better options. Let’s take a look.
Brut: A manly name for cologne, no doubt. But, it smelled like paint thinner.
English Leather: They actually nailed this one. It smelled just like that.
Aqua Velva: I’m not sure what this was supposed to smell like, but whatever it was, it didn’t.
Hai Karate: The most contradictory of the colognes. The message seemed to be: Attract lots of beautiful women, and then use martial arts to keep them at bay.
Jovan Musk: I have to confess. I loved this stuff. My first girlfriend did too. Or, at least she said she did. She may have just liked my car.
I’ve noticed that of the newer colognes, I can’t pronounce or afford most of them. Anything with three or four vowels in a row that sounds French seems to be out of my price range. Of course, I’m older, so my object is no longer to attract lots of women. I just want to smell nice for my wife.
These days, I wear Stetson. My wife seems to love it. Or, maybe she just likes my car.
©2015 John Moore
For more of John’s musings, visit johnmoore.net/blog