Monthly Archives: March 2011

How are Colognes and Perfumes determined?

I don’t mean how do they make it, I mean how do they determine which scents are colognes (for men) and which scents are perfumes (for women)?  I thought of 2 main possibilities.

One is that scents work biologically.  Acting like pheromones to arouse interest in the opposite sex, or to make oneself more attractive in general, whatever.  So the best perfumes and colognes will be the ones that have the best biological effect.  So some scents, those that best mimic female pheromones, would be perfumes, and similarly for colognes.

But if there is no intrinsic biological effect, then it’s possible the scents are more associated with existing scents, like flowers or bonfire or leather (Sort of random choices, but I like these smells).  But then the choice between which gender gets which smell is more societally determined.  For instance, a woman would smell like flowers because flowers are feminine.  But flowers being “feminine”, like many other gender associations, is a social construct.  And social constructs are used by companies to keep people buying things to allay their insecurities.  So the underlying meaning is that the perfume/cologne companies are choosing for us what we’re supposed to smell like, in the same way that clothing companies are choosing for us what we’re supposed to wear.

It’s probably a bit of each (no false dichotomies here!), but I like the natural beauty of the former, while the control from above in the latter creeps me right out.


Ad Idea: Ritz

Inspired by Mitch Hedberg, who said he didn’t get Ritz crackers to eat with toppings (“They’re not little edible plates!”) and would rather have a Ritz on a Ritz.  I think that would be a great ad campaign.

Ritz crackers – so delicious, you’ll top them with more Ritz.

Now I’m Just Being Paranoid

At the airport for a recent flight to the States, I saw a shoe shining station immediately after leaving security.  Two guys were working, polishing shoes for one man and one woman.

It’s paranoia for sure, but I got the tiniest feeling that such a shoe shining place could be a front.  Extra plain-clothes police officers?  Maybe somewhere, it’s for real…

Blue t-shirts

Blue t-shirts are the worst.  They rarely look good with jeans because of the colour.  Most other pants (khakis, cords) are usually worn with some sort of collared shirt.  You really only get the chance to wear a blue t-shirt when you’re wearing sweatpants, but then you’re probably wearing one of your least favourite t-shirts and the pair of underwear with holes in it.