Can Cologne Change Your Life? The Experiment: Part 6, Conclusions

Will he, or won't he... become a cologne user?

If you missed it, Paul’s been experimenting to see how his life will change when he starts wearing cologne

About twelve weeks ago, I started living my life with a new scent. I wondered if it would change my life. I started with Creed Green Irish Tweed. A few weeks ago, I tried out six more scents. Here’s what I think of the latest:

  • Chanel Bleu de Chanel – smells like a just-opened package of red liquorice sometimes, smells powdery other times, my wife swears it smells like electronics, like Best Buy’s off-gas.
  • Guerlain Vetiver – on one hand, I like this scent a fair bit, on another, it sometimes smells like I’m a guy covering up his smoking habit with cologne … and I don’t smoke.
  • Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme – top billing when in the bottle (from wifey) but not on my body. Too “pour femme” for me.
  • Creed Aventus – fresh smelling, some say pineapple. Not a bad smell at all. Most expensive of the bunch and maybe not worth it. I like the next two more.
  • Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme – soapy smell, makes me think I just got out of the shower. One of my favorites.
  • Tom Ford for Men – my favorite by a good margin. Smells the most ‘manly’ of the lot – like standing at the border of a tobacco field butting up to an old cedar and oak forest.

Pauls samples

The Wrap Up

While Tom For for Men is my favorite of the samples, this experiment was never just about finding a cologne I liked, it was about seeing if wearing cologne would change my life or, at the very least, change how I lived my life.

While I was a bit dubious at the outset, some things did change. The airline thing, for one. I’ll always dab a bit before flying to see if I can score another upgrade (though not enough to fog-bomb my row). I started shopping for nice clothing again, though I’m hesitant to pull the trigger on a Dragon Inside blazer, and I missed my chance to score a Brooks Brothers Golden Fleece suit on Rue La La. The biggest change, however, has nothing to do with clothing or grooming. It’s this: my resting heart rate has dropped 20%.

Spray cologne and get fit?

In case of fatigue, break glass.

In case of fatigue, break glass.

This is the weirdest change, but hear me out. After starting the cologne experiment, I began running. I haven’t been consistent about running or exercise for over a decade. I’ve tried before (many times), but I’ve never been able to keep it going longer than a week. Now, I’m on week ten and feeling almost as good as I smell. A number of things have changed in my life in the past months, but the cologne experiment correlates to the change best.

So spray cologne and get fit? Maybe. Maybe just paying ever-so-slightly more attention to my body and appearance was all I needed to get into the habit again. Maybe I’m subconsciously running from fragrances I sometimes associate with grandfathers, fleeing the thought of old age. Whatever the reason, before the cologne experiment began, my resting heart rate was somewhere in the lower 60s. Now it’s consistently in the high 40s / low 50s. I can’t give cologne all the credit, but surely it deserves some.

Can’t guarantee it’ll work for you, but it’s probably worth a try if you’re looking for a new source of motivation. It’s certainly one of the more inexpensive get-fit options out there, but I don’t really know what P90X runs relative to a jigger of Creed in the long term.

So all’s well then? I’m a cologne guy?

Well, not exactly.

Yes, I enjoy the smell to certain extent. I’m more fit. I like the airline upgrades. I still think there’s a chance for some cologne-induced escapades. But. Well.

I feel a bit like I’ve invited a religious missionary into my home. I’ve admitted to wanting to be saved for all eternity. I’ve acknowledged that this particular religion is the one true religion and is the only path that leads to salvation. I’ve attended a few services and enjoyed them. And I’m still not ready to convert. Something’s holding me back. I’m typing this sans cologne, haven’t applied for days.

There’s this one quote that keeps running through my head. It’s from In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. He writes: “Be the kind of person who buys multivitamins. Then save your money.” Cologne feels like that to me. I like everything it’s done to my life, but I can’t shake the feeling that I could have done everything without it. Maybe it was the kick in the ass I needed, but I’m now living in a post-ass-kick world. I don’t think I need it anymore. I think I can save my money.

But if this running thing stalls, I’ll be back on the juice. Same with the next time I fly. I’m saving the last couple drops of my Tom Ford sample to score a seat in first class.

What do you think? Anybody else out there having trouble committing to cologne?