Sunday, May 1, 2011

Manhood, masculinity and scents - PART ONE

To Liam
Continuing inspired by barbershops and masculine products, I decided to research a little bit more about this world that fascinate all of us women. What are the scent, smells, aromas, fragrances connecting men to their manhood? Which are the olfactive memories that we have collected during all our lives that immediately bring us the image of men? Is there such a thing as "men's smells"?
Before any feminist jumps and makes angry remarks, I will list activities and things that TODAY may also belong to the feminine world, but due to the fact that they were originally, and for a long time associated to the masculine world, they are scent-connect to them:


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It might be stinky for some, even offending for many, but the fact is, that for others, cigar  scent brings the olfactive memories of beloved relatives and friends. They feel secure once they are around it. I heard many people saying that he/she relates to the smell of cigars as an olfactive memory of their childhood.
Cigars were always related to the image of success. A pleasure for the elite, for men of wealth. Many private clubs had a lounge where men could gather to smoke their cigars and make business. Fine mansions used to have a library with leather chairs where men would sit, enjoy a good reading, and smoke his cigar. Some Gentlemen Private clubs, besides being a sanctuary where women were not allowed in, were places to savor a cigar.

Tightly rolled fermented and dried tobacco leaves are enjoyed by men since the early ages. The fermenting process is responsible for the cigar aroma, as the leaf dies slowly and gracefully. Unflavored cigars (the preference for purists) have a aromatic, honeyed, sweet smell.

"Eating and sleeping are the only activities that should be allowed to interrupt a man's enjoyment of his cigar" - Mark Twain

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Although polishing shoes is not just for men, women tend to buy new ones when the ones she has in her wardrobe are not shinning as new anymore. I personally have Mink oil cream by Kiwi, to preserve my hiking boots, but mostly, the smell of polished shoes is one of the top listed smells of men. Also to remember, most men relates to military service memories when it comes to shoe polishing. Polished shinning boots is an order when Army is concerned. If not, army jail or 200 push ups in the middle of the night...
Polished shoes smells like a combination of leather and waxes. It can have a turpentine, bee wax, minky, carnauba smell combined with leather, depending on the product used on the shoes. A bit animalic, a bit chemical. The fact is, polished shoes comes also with the idea of a classic man, a refined man. A man who cares about his looks.

"you know the kind of man you are dating my darling, just looking at his shoes" - my grandfather wisdom.

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I know, I know...women wear plenty of corduroy! The thing is...we also wear a lot of scented products, including perfumes, that masks the scent of the fabrics we wear. When men wear winter suits, such as tweed and corduroys, the smell of the fabric is easily noticed and captured. Corduroy is a textile made of twisted fibers that are woven to be paralleled and form a cord pattern. Good corduroy is made of cotton and it has a typical man scent.

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When women smell recently mowed grass, only one thought comes to her mind: my husband did not cut the grass as I told him to do it last weekend! Sometimes we also think about fragrances like Untitled by Margiela, but mostly, we think of men. I think it is because grass mowing is a hard job requiring some strength. The smell of recently cut grass is very green, fresh and said to be very relaxing. Freshly cut grass also brings the association of the sports played on field, mainly played my men originally. Today we have soccer, baseball polo female teams... but originally, they all were played by men.
The scent of cut grass is spread on the air when the blade cuts the fibers of the leaves. Volatile gases are released on the air and captured by our noses. To me, the smell of recently cut grass takes me back to my childhood, when I used to attend to Golf Championships. I loved to see men swinging their golf clubs. I also remember the joy I had to walk barefooted and feel the grass tickling between my little toes. All golf teachers were men. So to me, I relate to manhood 100%. 



Liam Moore said...

What a nice compendium of masculine related aromas. I think I have to agree with every one of them. Funny that the smell of shoe polish would remind me of my childhood and getting ready for school :)

I look forward to the second part!

+ Q Perfume Blog said...

I thought of you so much while writing it!!! XX

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