Many outspoken male fragrance enthusiasts share childhood memories of being captivated by their mothers’ perfume. It’s such an iconic moment among non-gender conforming male perfume connoisseurs that it deserves its own film sequence: the mother sweeping up her little boy in a cloud of No. 19, Diorella, Chloe, or Halston. And then his secret missions […]Read More Gender-bending fragrance choices: The courage to be queerly perfumed
It is popular in North America to insist that we make choices about how we present ourselves for our own comfort, self-expression and pleasure and not to impress others. In fact, many of us in the U.S. would be almost embarrassed to acknowledge that others’ values and tastes shape our style. “I wear it for […]Read More Beast-mode perfumes and unspoken rules: How much is too much?
As discount store shelves sag with unwanted boxes of Brittney Spears Fantasy Rainbow Unicorn or Nautica Voyage Blue Macho Intense, the price of perfumes from the likes of Memo Paris, Tom Ford and Clive Cristian creeps ever northward. With the bottom of the cheapie range dropping ever lower, there has been a sort of olfactory […]Read More Limited edition: The romantic quest for perfume exclusivity
My strongest, earliest, and best memories of childhood are infused with scent. Though the combination of hair spray, menthol cigarettes, and Breck shampoo may not sound inviting to most, to me it is the earliest, and most abiding, aroma of love. For my mother, who both gave birth and died too young, there was great […]Read More Cigarettes, Aqua Net, and drugstore perfumes: My mother’s scented legacy
The very notion of finding a commercially available scent that somehow expresses one’s unique style, flair and presence, is paradoxical, if not downright contradictory. And the goal of selecting a mass market olfactory symbol that both captures my uniqueness, but also guarantees I will be lost in the crowd, reflects much of what is mythical […]Read More Signature scents and the myth of unique individualism
When political prisoner Ingrid Betancourt was released after six years of captivity, she was asked how the experience had changed her. Her complicated response included a commitment to “always have flowers in my room and wear perfume.” The experience of being brutally treated, and, she emphasizes, isolated from most of the human cultural forms she […]Read More Perfume as luxury, art, and consumer compulsion