I’ve always wanted to be one of those nice-smelling women. You know the ones – there are some who breeze into a room on a cloud of subtle yet delicious-smelling perfume, waft delicately around and then exit swiftly, leaving a faint scent of flowers, talcum powder, and longing in their wake.
I have no idea what perfume it is they’re wearing – it’s certainly not one of the ones I’ve tried, as all mine do is make me smell decent for about half an hour or so then eventually give way to the much longer-lasting odours of cheap laundry detergent and even cheaper supermarket vodka.
Anyway. How I smell is beside the point. If I can make it through an evening without killing someone with garlic breath or sweating like a bigamist at a polygraph, I’m happy. What I love more is how guys smell.
There are a few aftershaves that smell like misery: it has little to do with the smell itself and more to do with quantity. Like the smells worn by teenagers who haven’t yet learned that nice aftershave (like almost none of the other good things in life) is best used in moderation. For these people the Lynx effect doesn’t so much moisten knickers as invoke a flood of bitter, eye-stinging tears.
But some guys know how to use aftershave – really know – and those men smell sexy. A subtle spritz for certain people induces that wafting cloudlike effect that I mentioned before – a trail of something yummy-smelling, that makes me think only of how I’d sense them coming into the room and running their hands around my waist before leaning in to growl sultrily in my ear then ravish me on the kitchen floor.
It helps, of course, if one of the scents you have chosen is one which I already associate with hot sex. I once followed a man around a shopping centre for about five minutes because I couldn’t work out why I fancied him. Eventually it hit me that he was wearing the exact aftershave that my first two boyfriends wore. Despite his advancing years, everything about this man screamed ‘teenage sex’, and I almost had to go for a lie-down.
This category contains pretty much any product that’s specifically designed for men that smells anything other than neutral: shampoo, shower gel, moisturiser. For similar reasons to the aftershaves, almost any of these products can make me weak at the knees if you come and nuzzle me post-shower and let me have a whiff.
Frustratingly, this is almost certainly the product of clever manufacturers convincing us that men and women must (even when the scents are artificial) smell different. I’m supposed to smell like strawberries, you can smell like musk. It’s irritating because, you know, you should smell like bloody strawberries if you want to. But in the meantime there’s something about the smell of the products that aren’t meant for me that make me want to lick you.
The masculine/feminine scent distinction smells vaguely like bullshit to me, but the fact remains that it’s the difference that’s hot. Your maleness is highlighted by how different you are.
This one’s a bit more open, because not all hair products are gender specific. And delightfully, I have no need of hair products at all (not because my hair is perfect, you understand, just because I’m far too lazy to maintain a haircare routine), so all of the smells are different enough to my own that they’ll produce a powerful sexy feeling.
The smell itself doesn’t matter, it just has to be unusual. Something suprising, and unique, and not mine. Which leads me neatly onto the last, and best smell of all:
Oh God yes. Let me bury my face in your armpit, in your neck, in all of the cracks and crevices where you’re hot and wet and smelling so different to me. Let me lick the droplets that run down the centre of your back and breathe you in as you press yourself into me.
The sweat you create when you’ve just got off your bike after a long ride. After you’ve run from the bus stop to my house, concealing an uncomfortable erection. The sweat we work up together during a nice, active fuck. If you announce, post-workout, that you’re off to jump in the shower, I’ll appreciate your desire for cleanliness but a tiny bit of my heart will break that I can’t make the most of the smell that says ‘you’ more than anything you could ever buy in Boots.
It’s better because it’s natural. Because it’s so unequivocally you. Because, no matter how hard you try, you probably can’t bottle it.