“What Perfume Should I Wear To Catch A Man?”

This is a question that perfume bloggers receive fairly often. It is generally met with derision from perfume lovers, who loathe the way that perfume has been marketed as a tool of seduction. While I do agree that perfume is hardly a man-pokéball, I maintain that perfume can enhance your attractiveness to others. So I have put together this list of guidelines. If they don’t work, you can always try Pon Farr For Women.

1) Do not wear childish perfumes. Trust me, you do not want your boy/girlfriend to develop erotic associations with a perfume that he or she is just as likely to smell on middle schoolers. Most well-adjusted, healthy adults who are not one commercial break away from having their house raided by Benson and Stabler are not attracted to anything too closely associated with pre-teens. This means nothing by Taylor Swift. Nothing by Justin Beiber. Nothing by Paris Hilton. Nothing by a Kardashian or a Jonas Brother. Nothing by an Olsen twin. Nothing by a Real Housewife. Nothing by Snooki. No perfume bottles topped with an oversize plastic flower. No perfumes with names that contain the words “bling”, “swag”, “sensual”, “bombshell”, “lollipop”, “sparkle”, or “sugar”.

2) Do not wear any of the more common classic fragrances on a first date. These fragrances include Chanel No. 5, Guerlain Shalimar, Jean Patou Joy, Lanvin Arpège, and Estée Lauder Youth Dew. I am not saying that these perfumes cannot be lethal weapons of seduction. But they pose a higher risk of reminding the object of your desire of an older female relative, such as their mother or grandmother, who may have worn the same perfume. This is great if the object of your desire has an unresolved Oedipal Complex, and probably not so great otherwise. Less common older fragrances, such as Guerlain L’Heure Bleue or Mitsouko, are still fair game.

3) Do not follow that classic Chanel adage, “Spray perfume where you want to be kissed”. I have no idea where Coco got that one. Perfume tastes bad.

4) Choose an intriguing perfume. Your perfume should either help you stand out from the other women in the room or reveal a surprising new facet of your personality to a prospect who has kept you in the Friend Zone for far too long. The right perfume can help to bring out your multi-dimensionality, and the resulting intrigue could be just what you need to spark a man or woman’s interest. For example, I am kind of weird. And not the endearing, “adorkable”, Zooey Deschanel kind of weird.

Just the regular kind of weird. The “Oh, I’d love to go out tonight, but The Crow is on SyFy” kind of weird. The “my speech impediment is commonly mistaken for a Bulgarian accent” kind of weird. In addition to being tremendously geeky, which is generally not considered to be a very feminine trait, I am also intelligent. This combination intimidates the hell out of most guys my age. As a result, my perfume choices tend to be sweet, comforting fragrances. Some of these include Guerlain L’Heure Bleue, Kenzo Amour Le Parfum, Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille, and L de Lolita Lempicka. These perfumes hint at what lurks beneath my intense Mario Kart skills: a pink-loving, cupcake-baking girl who emits high-pitched squeals whenever confronted with pictures of a kitty.

Like this one! It’s a kitty! You’re a kitty! Look at those widdle feetsies!



27 thoughts on ““What Perfume Should I Wear To Catch A Man?”

  1. I don’t even know where to start, this post is so funny! Kudos for managing to bring Pokémon and Perfume together in the same post…

    I have to agree with all that you’ve said, except one tiny thing, there is a decent non-teenybopper scent with Bling in the name – Bombay Bling! by Neela Vermeire, but that is a glowing exception to the rule.

  2. I still support the wearing of Pon Farr. Guaranteed to drive your Vulcan partner wild. Which actually … I probably should buy a bottle considering my fiance’ is frustratingly Vulcan.

    Shalimar is what my fiance’s mother used to wear back during the Cold War and so it tends to be my fiance’s dad’s favourite perfume. I get minimal compliments from my fiance’ and all of the compliments from his dad. So probably good advice to avoid those more popular classics.

    I met him wearing Melograno and he still associates it as being my scent despite not wearing it terribly often these days. Not sure if I’d ever recommend Melograno to someone wanting to attract a male since it kind of smells like really expensive aftershave.

    Widdle feetsies!

    1. Aha! Anecdotal evidence re: Shalimar! Your Melograno association reminds me of how Mals’ husband loves Daisy and other light florals because she wore Bath and Body Works Freesia on their honeymoon.

      I am desperate to know what Pon Farr actually smells like. Nothing is less Vulcan than perfume. Highly illogical.

      1. He still likes Daisy, though I am quietly weaning him over to other stuff — aldehydes, for example. He just tends to be very fond of those floral-woody-musk wallpaper scents in general.

        Melograno smells like my mom’s No. 5 and my dad’s Old Spice made a baby. Which, theoretically, would be me, but instead it feels like they’re STANDING RIGHT BEHIND ME AAAAARGGGGH!

  3. Possibly the best “real” answer to this question I’ve read.

    I get to wear Shalimar and Chanel No. 5 (if I want) because my husband’s mom bought them, but apparently never wore them.

    1. Thank you very much! I didn’t want to dismiss the question so quickly, the relationship between perfume and seduction is much older than marketing. Queen Esther spent 6 months being anointed with perfumes and cosmetics to make her more appealing to the king of Persia!

  4. I read recently about some new studies on several scents long believed to attract men. The science now shows that those scents — musk, for example — actually arouse the woman wearing them. The theory is that because she’s now aroused, she’s “in the mood,” which changes her behavior, making her more attractive to men.

    Imagine that cute little kitten when she’s in heat, and you’ll get the picture! (Although the thought of a grown woman purring and rolling around on the floor is hilarious!!)

    Are there perfumes that make you feel more sensual, sexy, confident, less inhibited? Which ones?

    ~Michelle for Primal Mist perfumes

    1. Michelle, I have to admit that those are emotions that I rarely feel, with perfume or without it! Although I like to make fun of my nerdiness, a lifetime of nerd-dom rarely results in high confidence levels. Bond No. 9 New Haarlem feels very brazen to me, but unfortunately others find it very masculine on me.

    1. I guess Opium has been out long enough that its wearers now have children who are dating age! I have to say that I’ve never smelled Opium on anyone. I think there was definitely a backlash against it. Your mom’s scent is safe!

      1. Yes. Yes. Opium backlash, yes. Especially if you are, well, me. Hate the stuff. But, true, I don’t smell it often these days – I probably smell Youth Dew more frequently when I’m out and about, even if it’s only at the Wal-Mart.

  5. Great post! Some sound advice, particularly on point 3 – as someone who gets ready in the mornings generall while still half-asleep, I have many times accidentally sprayed myself in the face whilst aiming for my neck and can too attest that perfume does indeed taste foul!

    1. I often see women spraying perfume in their mouth in older movies (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, A Fish Called Wanda). I don’t understand! It tastes bad!!!

  6. Glorious post and Point 3 so needed to be said. I am not even sure about perfume in one’s hair, even, where it is free to comingle with assorted remnants of hair “product”. Unsuspecting men might cuddle up to the odd lock and get an unpleasant cocktail of grooming products up their nose.

    1. Thank you so much, Vanessa! I also often worry about the many hair product issue. I think I have solved it by using shampoos and conditioners with the same scent and keeping perfume away from my hair. Have you seen any of these trendy new “hair perfumes”? They seem to be targeted towards teens (I’ve seen them in the Aquolina and Justin Bieber lines).

      1. So far, these young persons’ hair perfumes are on the very edge of my radar, and there I hope they stay, having enough to contend with in terms of the niceties of goop, putty, gel, mousse, butter and other newfangled incarnations of “regular” haircare “product”. In my day there was Johnson’s baby shampoo, medicated shampoo, and the three pillars of greasy, dry and normal. Conditioner was about as specialised then as fish pedicures today.

      2. I have recently had to stop wearing Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo! I’m so sad! Apparently the US version still contained formaldehyde! No more delicious almond scented shampoo for me 😦

  7. Fantastic post, witty but very well-thought through. I never thought about steering clear of classics because of associations with older female relatives. Good point!

    Also love your choices of perfumes that are comforting and unintimidating yet still quality – not easy!

    1. Thank you very much, Tara! I am lucky that I currently get to wear the classics with no problem- my boyfriend’s mother wears Tocade, so he has no associations with them.

  8. Another belly-busting post, with some excellent advice! I like the idea that something unusual provides that extra element of, “what’s that?” then it’s up to you to do the rest. 🙂

    There is a scent that brings the hubby closer, and men at large frequently comment on it too: Chsmpagne de Bois. It’s very sweet and creamy on me–a very sophisticated dessert!

    1. I must try this Champagne de Bois! I do think that men (and women too) of these generation really go for the dessert-like fragrances, so a sophisticated dessert is even better.

  9. Terrific post, I didn’t know perfume tastes bad, so thanks for the info! Regarding the classics I can personally attest to the fact that Mitsouko works like a charm…

  10. I have probably talked waaaaay too much about my teenage daughter and her scent tastes here, but I’ll throw her into the conversation again. Please excuse the bragging: I can claim very very little of the credit!

    She’s fiercely intelligent; she is currently nailing A’s in all three of her college-equivalent Governor’s School classes (chemistry, statistics, advanced algebra), as well as in her AP history and English classes. Currently captain of the science academic challenge team, despite being only a junior. She’s quite athletic; she’s a three-season long-distance runner on the cross-country, indoor track, and outdoor track teams. She’s a band geek. She can quote lines from Princess Bride, Monty Python’s The Holy Grail, and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. She loves football and can talk sports stats/predictions with every jock guy she knows. She’s 5’1″, 108 lbs, has hips and thighs and a contrastingly small waist, eschews all makeup except the occasional dab of concealer and maybe some Dr. Pepper Lipsmackers, and keeps her long strawberry blonde hair in a ponytail all, I mean ALL, the time. Packs an amazing, world-class Death Glare (to be aimed at annoying little brothers or slacking saxophone players).

    And she is probably more likely to squee over cute widdle doggy ears than kitty feeties, but she still loves Harry Potter and strawberry cheesecake.

    She likes DK Gold but has recently stopped wearing it in favor of wearing Hanae Mori, that enormous Stay-Puft marshmallow man scent decorated with lotsa berries. Why Hanae Mori? … it makes her smell friendly, she says. Also, her boyfriend likes it.

    Thus proving your point about smelling cuddly.

    1. Those are all some of my favorite movies!!! Your descriptions of Bookworm have always reminded me of a bright, wonderful young girl I know. I feel protective towards her already! And she is clearly smart enough to know how to use perfume to “soften” one’s image. NOT to hide yourself, but to make the potent combination of beauty and brains seem a little more approachable. I will never get tired of hearing about her academic and social successes. They give me hope for my young friend, who I often worry for.

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