Sunday, September 26, 2010

You Do What?

Random perfume discussions are streaking through my life at odd moments lately.  Some of those are satisfying, and some are just...weird.

Take Friday, for example.

I arrive at work to find that one of my directors has on the very same color scheme that I do.  Black pants, a black top and a wine colored jacket.  We laugh about this with the usual "'ah, you got the memo!' pleasantries. 

'That's so girly to compare clothes, shoes and purses!' my colleague says.

'Huh,' I think, because I don't usually notice much about other women's clothing, shoes or purses.  In fact, my sister pulled me aside several months ago to say, discretely, 'you need better purses.'  So I bought better purses, but god knows when I would have thought of that on my own.

Girlyland is just not a place I hang out much.

'I know you're girly because you like perfume,' my co-worker says.

'Actually, a lot of men are into perfume, too,' I respond.

'Don't you mean cologne?'

'Well, many of us see perfume as genderless - we wear it all.'

She looks at me  - her head cocked like a confused puppy -  as if I have lost my mind and temporarily forgotten The Natural Order of Things. 

Realizing the extent of explanation that would be necessary to set her head straight again, I start wondering how I can silently back out of the room and act as if the conversation never happened.  

Miraculously, my pager goes off, giving me an easy exit.

Usually, I enjoy sharing information about perfume with others.  But sometimes, it feels like explaining space travel to a caveman.

Picture from


  1. Yeah, the whole "women wear perfume - men wear cologne" is pretty deeply ingrained. I find myself telling my husband I have a great new "cologne" he should try, even though it's a perfume and I'm wearing it too.

  2. Hi kjanicki - what a brilliant idea! It seems more acceptable for women to wear cologne, but men wearing perfume? That's the one that gets them.

  3. What funny encounters you are having lately! I so agree with your caveman analogy. I have this on a daily basis with Mr Bonkers, but somehow we manage... : - )

  4. Great post Josephine. As a guy, I suffer from the gender profiling quite a lot. When my friends find out I actually wear perfume, they tend to look at me askance, and I just know they're thinking "gay, gaydar flash". I'm quite comfortable with my sexuality and quite frankly, don't really care all that much about what people think, but it's there in their eyes.... Even my wife is pre-programmed to think girly/manly.

  5. Hi Flitter - my perfume life is a bit weird lately! I can go for months without discussing perfume with anyone and then, suddenly, everyone's all about perfume.

    No sense acting like I don't love that...

  6. Michael, I can imagine you are 'profiled' quite often. Yes, people can't hide their gadar arousal, can they?

    When my husband and I go shopping, I usually play with perfume and he shops in housewares. He gets the look askance as well. Personally, I find open gender boundaries quite sexy, whether it's the perfect serving platter or the perfect perfume.



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