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I am a 21 year old college student just trying to find my way in the world. At this point in my life, if I’m going on a date, it’s a step up from going to the movies, you know? I’m wondering when it is appropriate and not appropriate to wear cologne? And, in situations that merit cologne-wearing, what is the best method of application?
I LOVE scents. Maybe that’s predictable for a chick, I don’t know. Either way, I’m SO excited to answer this question. Hurrah! And bless your heart for just trying to find your way in the world. I remember being 21…sort of…that was the semester I was drunk.
Elizabeth Taylor said, “I never face the day without perfume.” I think that’s a fine motto, and one I use myself. You can wear cologne in most situations. Work, school, running errands, dates, etc. Wearing a scent makes you feel more put together, more confident, more capable. Really, the only time it’s dumb to wear a scent is when you’re at the gym or out on the lake fishing or something like that. The key, as you wisely mentioned, is application.
First, it is much, much, much worse to wear too much cologne than none at all. We’ve all been made aware of someone’s arrival via scent, right? Someone walks into a room, you think you’re at the bottom of a Drakkar Noir bottle. Someone gets into your car and it’s like the 7th grade Spring Fling dance all over again. Fellas, don’t be that guy. As a woman, I feel that cologne is best when I’m standing close to a man, and as he moves or gestures, I get the faintest whiff of scent. The goal should be to make a woman wonder if it’s cologne, or if you just smell that good naturally.
All colognes have different strengths. This depends upon the actual notes in the scent. For instance, a scent that is primarily citrus is going to be more subtle than a scent that is primarily musky (it’s usually not this simple–colognes and perfumes are a complex arrangement of different scents coming together, and peaking at different times, but for the purposes of this column, yadda yadda yadda). So applying the same amount of different types of cologne can get you different results. Plus, where you apply it on your body also affects it’s strength. This is because different parts of the body (wrists, neck, chest, behind the ears) heat up differently. And, scents work with your specific body chemistry so they smell a little different on everyone.
As with so many things, application is a matter of experimentation. For a really powerful scent, spray the air in front of you, and then walk into it. The fragrance will be mostly attached to your clothing, so it won’t heat up and get stronger. Then see how the scent lasts through the day/evening. (You may need to employ the help of your long-suffering friends on this one, since wearing a cologne makes you less likely to notice it as the hours pass.) If it fades too quickly, then next time you probably want to dab just a bit in the hollow of your neck in addition to the walk-through, and see how it fares. For subtler scents, spray directly on your body, starting with one body part the first time, and then adding more in subsequent tries if the scent didn’t last long enough.
Hey, remembered when I confessed that my first crush was an androgynous David Bowie in The Labyrinth? Yeah, still love that movie. Especially the scene where the group has to cross over The Bog of Eternal Stench. Never gets old. Maybe that’s why I love perfume so much?
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