There is an inescapable problem with cologne. It requires a leap of faith by the wearer that those in (hopefully) close proximity to him want to smell him. And not only is he assuming others want to smell him, he assumes that their preference of smell is similar to his, and that what smells good to him, will also smell good to them.
That violates the golden rule. Some would consider it, maybe, slightly arrogant.
Smell isn’t sight. You can look away from the person wearing the offensive hat or shoes. That’s not tough. It’s fleeting. Your olfactory sense is more like hearing. A smell can be like the loud couple at the table behind yours. Even if their conversation is funny or interesting, they’re still loud. Ignoring it takes sustained effort.
Counter Argument #1: But everything is scented these days! Deodorant, hair product, etc.
True. So, more is more? Deodorant and hair products have other primary uses (kill arm-pit bacteria, hold hair in place). Their main objective is not smell. And therefore, chances are they’re nowhere near as severely scented as something that was designed to smell. Layering another scent on top of the pile might only make things worse.
Counter Argument #2: But I don’t apply my cologne in excess!
This is where I feel for most of you cologne wearers. If you’re on this site, and not one of the high-fashion blogs, I’m guessing you fall into the subtlety/simplicity camp. But cologne is a lot like clothes. Repetition can create apathy. Apathy can lead to acclimatization. And then one day, if you’re not careful, you’re nose deaf.
Counter Argument #3. But I wear cologne because I like it. I wear it for ME.
If you only wear cologne so you can smell it, for yourself, why not stick the bottle in a drawer at work and pull it out every so often so you can smell the nozzle? Of course you wouldn’t do that. That wouldn’t make any sense.
Then again, not much about cologne does.
Editor’s Note: I’m quite aware that this post won’t be well received by many. And I admit, I honestly can’t remember the last time I smelled someone else’s cologne (perhaps that’s by lifestyle design). This is more an exercise in thinking through one of the more expensive markets in the men’s style world. Just be careful out there fellas. As the adage goes, people won’t remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel. Clothes talk. Often loudly and persuasively, but it’s talk. Cologne can create “feels.” And that’s a huge risk if you don’t create the right ones. Want to write a counter to this post? By all means. You can send your post in to email@example.com.
(Top Photo Credit)