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Thursday, February 14, 2008

From the Mouths of Husbands: True Romance

Roses are Red Violets are Blue You know I love you Colombina So c’mon lets … scrap this idea of me writing some sort of top ten this or top ten that lists for Valentine’s Day.

Everybody and their uncle are writing the top 10 most romantic, most exotic, most erotic … most sensual, most sensuous (is there a difference?) … best to wear on Valentine’s Day lists. And the likelihood of me knowing ten perfumes, top or otherwise, is as about as likely as a Bush winning a spelling bee.

So Colombina’s choices are basically:

1) Get someone’s uncle’s lists …


B) Let me write it just a little bit differently.

I am going to name a few men’s fragrances I have worn. I will tell you why I thought they were romantic, exotic, sensualuous etc.

Keep in mind that prior to Colombina, I rarely EVER had more than one bottle of cologne in my medicine cabinet unless I’d had a really bad Christmas that garnered a lot of last-minute “men’s holiday gift packs” … which usually contained Old Spice and soap on a rope (along with … for some odd reason… some golf tees and Hickory Farms smoked beef jerky).

And again, in the BC years (Before Colombina) most times I couldn’t even tell you what the name of the cologne was that I had in my medicine chest much less on my chest. I know I never went the Aqua Velva route but pretty close probably since the ‘ON SALE” tag was probably still on the bottle.

The only “name brand” I can remember actually getting (first as a gift, then liking enough to buy for myself) is Quorum, Which for many years, until I actually READ the bottle, I thought was made by “PIG” (It is made by Puig).

In those days, if I was wearing cologne, you knew I was either on a date or on the pull. And yes I know (now) that whilst all men’s fragrances are collectively called “colognes” that in fact most are technically not. You see, whilst I am still a work in progress, Colombina is getting through to me a little.

It never would have occurred to me to wear cologne … or ‘fragrance’ to a job interview or to work … which is ironic in the sense that the word ‘Quorum’ literally means, “members of a group or organization required to be present to transact business legally.”

I was always a bit of a fragra-phobe. I might speak for a lot of men when I say, it would NEVER have occurred to me to wear cologne without a purpose. I considered cologne like a concealed weapon. You don’t leave the home with it unless you intended to use it.

Wear it just for the sake of wearing it? What a novel concept to the rational male. It never occurred to me that for a lot of women ... leaving the house without wearing a scent was as scary for them as it would be for me to leave the house not wearing pants (usually to my high school graduation in most of the recurring nightmares.)

Colombina will be happy to know therefore, that while for many years, Quorum was my ‘comfy sweater’ kind of fragrance … always on hand like a trusty fire extinguisher in case I needed it … for me it holds no special or even clear association to any woman nor memory. Colombina might argue that until her, I did not know how to make the connection between fragrance and romance, owing to my limited understanding of fragrance.

I would counter by saying that until her, I did not know how to make the connection between fragrance and romance, owing to my limited understanding of romance.

In recent years, Colombina has lavished me with men’s fragrances. Sometimes she presents them to me …but most times they just sort of manifest themselves in the medicine chest … secretly multiplying at night … a sea of bottles with French words on them, expanding like the population of Mexico City. It’s gotten to the point where sometimes I am afraid to open the medicine chest, lest I be besieged by falling fragrances like Jim Kirk in the “Trouble with Tribbles” episode of Star Trek.

I can also say that until fairly recently, when I would see a dozen or so bottles of men’s fragrance in my possession … what I would consider a lifetime supply… my approach was to simply use the same bottle until it was empty …before moving on to the next bottle.

Knowing NOTHING about which one to wear first, I approached my collection and my one-bottle-at-a-time process, the only logical way I knew how … alphabetically.

Women on the other hand, seem to collect and hoard their fragrances, like some sort of fragrant Kellogg’s variety pack and then change up which they wear when … for the sole purpose it would seem (to us men) to confuse us… like some sort of Djedi mind trick

And THEN … to top it off … genuinely get angry at us for not forever memorizing and associating them with their scent.

Men cringe like they would when a high-speed soccer ball is approaching the groinal area, whenever his woman asks things like “which one (of my 27,000 various perfumes …. my weapons of mass distraction… was I wearing on Valentine’s Day 2001?”

Like I said, I am a work in progress.

But like a Pavlovian-trained canine, I have begun to recognize almost predictable reactions from Colombina coinciding almost unmistakably each time I wore a different scent. After many evenings of experimentation, I began making mental notes of this. I thought I was onto something … dare I say … scientific! I began to prepare my Nobel acceptance speech.

Here then are three fragrances I have worn recently…and not one bottle at a time before moving on mind you … given to me by Colombina …and the romantic associations with each.

Yatagan: Despite being towards the back of the alphabet, this one gets put near the front of the medicine chest. And (apart from Quorum), I can honestly say is the only one I would recognize by (of all things) SMELL!

You’ve probably read before that I jokingly refer to this fragrance as “Yet Again!” since I did seem to go through a period where it was worn quite frequently by me. Perhaps that was partially due to me … like being in a 12-step program … trying to break the habit of wanting use up the whole bottle before moving on. But by the point the medicine cabinet situation was getting dangerous.

The pressure on the cabinet latch was nearing critical mass… and at one point I am fairly certain led to the Department of Homeland Security issuing an orange alert… fearing a China Syndrome release of weapons-grade men’s fragrances.

The bottom line with Yatagan is simply that I like it. And men …read this part slowly as it is quite the revelation.

I seriously think it is quite possible that many of the nights that I wore Yatagan, that spontaneously became romantic, was only PARTIALLY due to Colombina liking the fragrance on me. There MAY have actually been a contributing component to the romance that involved me just being in a good mood in part, due to ME liking how I smelled. Amazing, yet again,

Oh by the way Colombina, we are out of Yatagan. Too late for Valentine’s Day I s’pose but our wedding anniversary IS coming up.

Tom Ford for Men: I liked this one, once I got past the fact that I was wearing a fragrance designed by a Texan. No offense but I mean… I think Texas and the smell that comes to mind is rodeo.

Once I got past that and the soft-core advertising that shows more women’s skin than a Porky’s movie …like some sort of cleavage cologne holder, mouth-agape blow-up doll (not that’s there’s anything wrong with that) … I actually liked the smell. And I know I am still new at this game. But that’s kind of the point … isn’t it?

When I am wearing a fragrance that I like and one that I know Colombina likes on me … I do know that I do feel romantic and sexy … in a too sexy for my shirt kinda way… So sexy it hurts.

As far as how it works in the romantic department? Well all I can say is that I am wearing tonight as I write this. So perhaps I’ll tease and say that I’ll tell you how it worked in the comments …same blog time … same blog channel.

Fou D’Absinthe: OK, so I suppose the big question is … Does absinthe make the heart grow fonder? And the answer is … yes and no. You see, I’ve come to the conclusion that fragrance is not in and of itself some elixir … “just add eau” magical love potion. But I do think whilst fragrance can not independently change a mood or create a mood of romance, it can and does enhance the mood. I mean you probably would not sit down and eat a jar of mustard, but put it on a hot dog and it sure makes the dog better.

Fou D’Absinthe is therefore (forgive me L’Artisan) like mustard, making this old dog a little easier to digest, a little more palatable … and yes … a lot more romantic when the true mood of romance makes its own natural appearance.

I wore this fragrance last night but the results were inconclusive since even the most powerful of scents is powerless against a good stomach virus … poor Colombina.

Fragrance therefore is a metaphor for Valentine’s Day. I speak for almost all men when I say … we KNOW Valentine’s Day is contrived. It was men who contrived it…. The men who are part of the great conspiracy of perfumers, florists, greetings card companies and (oddly enough) the men who wrote the Warren Report. We know we can’t be automatically romantic just because the 13th of February has gone quietly into the night, giving way to the 14th.

BUT …if we DHs reach down and find (no not that) … reach down and find our inner romantic dude, then we are complimented, perhaps even less inhibited because it is Valentine’s Day. Or because we smell nice, or at least …nicer than usual.

Happy Valentine’s Day Y’all!


Blogger tmp00 said...

Yikes! I don't think I could tell you what I wore last weekend much less what I wore 7 years ago. But I am of course a guy..

Happy V-Day everyone!

10:48 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was just lovely; I'll have to show it to my bf who I've been trying to indoctrinate ... er, introduce to the idea of wearing fragrance himself (he's a big fan of fragrance on me). He'll have something to say about that 27,000 weapons of mass distraction bit, I'm sure.

Tribbles made me smile ... so, Trouble With Tribbles is to our generation what Fibber McGee's Closet was to our parents?

11:31 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post. I too was once one of those men who thought you had to rush through using an entire bottle before buying another. Now that I've discovered the world of decants, I'm becoming a mad hoarder. Muhahaha.

Even if I don't like something I sample, I like to keep it anyway just as part of my olfactibrary, just like I keep books I may one day like to read or refer to out on the bookshelf. Someday, when I get my first Serge Lutens bell jar, it will be prominently displayed---oh come on, like you all don't put War and Peace out there in the front?

1:06 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wondering if Colombina's Mr. Big likes Paco Rabanne XS pour homme ?

1:11 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

Once again, a wonderful post! When I first met Mr. Lily, his only cologne was a (very old) bottle of Obsession for Men that a previous girlfriend had given him. Now, his three favorites are
Montale Cuir d'arabie
Le Labo Vetiver
Frederic Malle French Lover.
Strangely, though i love Yatagan, I have never tried it on him; I must want to keep it all to myself. Must share!!

6:54 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

Great post! I'm afraid my DH still is completely unable to identify any scents at all and doesn't wear any. His one concession to my scent obsession is that he lets me use him as a skin chemistry guinea pig when he is sure that he will not be in sniffing range of any other humans for at least 12 hours - and, trust me, I'm very grateful to him for this.

7:12 AM EST  
Blogger benvenuta said...

Djedi mind trick

8:10 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your potential was recognised,Mr C! Yatagan is one of my faves too. It smelled good on my ex and you like it so I live in hope I will meet someone else with whom I can share a bottle. Happy V Day!

10:14 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post. Three great scents (although I tend to lean toward Tom Ford Extreme, more than Tom Ford for Men...)!

Colombina's good taste is wearing off on you.


11:46 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy St. Valentines' Day to the Colombinas, and to everyone else here at PST. Great fun, your article was, although I had to skip the Tom Ford section since I had to quickly scroll past that graphic (at work, you know). Sorry to hear Colombina is not feeling well, though.
Divalano - Yes! Tribbles must be our generation's Fibber McGee's closet!


12:40 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marisha, I love your husband!:-))
Happy V-day!

(By the way... You have told to me once that Tumulte homme is a masterpiece - I have believed to you and I have bought it. Now it is a favourite perfume of my husband. Even his love to eternal Antaeus has faded away.)

Love. Genia

12:48 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very funny, Mr. Columbina! Marina's a lucky gal..I wish I could get the bf to wear anything, and Fou d'Absinthe and Yatagan especially would be wonderful.

Happy V-Day to you both.

1:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(P.S. That was, of course, your cue to say, "I'm the lucky one!")

1:01 PM EST  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Hey Tom,

For me the key to remembering what I was wearing was always keeping the selection low.

Colombina ... had other plans.

But I'm getting older so I can always blame that for my poor scent-memory.

Always great to hear from you.


7:40 PM EST  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...


I can picture all the reader's saying "Fibber McGee? Who is that?" But I could 'hear' the crashing in my head as I thought about his closet.

Good luck with the indoctrination. Have you considered electro-shock therapy for him?


7:43 PM EST  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...


Good point about the 'War And Peace display'. I could not agree more!


8:24 PM EST  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...


"Mr. Big" eh? I am getting that a lot lately. I wonder what's up with that? Has Amander been talking again?

Not sure if I have ever tried Paco Rabanne XS pour homme. Though I would consider combining it with Billy D's "Serge Lutens bell jar" and create a new smell I like to call ..

"Paco Bell"


8:27 PM EST  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Hi Lily,

Funny thing your comment made me think about ... the "old bottle an ex-girlfriend gave him" found and usually discarded by the new female ...keen to mark her territory.

I'd like to try a little French Lover ... and the Malle scent might be nice too!

So you are a Yatagan fan? You just rise high up the respect ladder.


8:31 PM EST  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...


There are exceptions of course, but I think for most men ... the ability to recognize a fragrance by smell is somewhere on the priority list below learning Swahili.

I wonder if your DH would be such a willing guinea pig if the guys were coming over for the Superbowl in an hour.

All the best!

8:35 PM EST  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...


Glad you enjoyed a laugh.

The way to counter a Djedi mind trick by the way is to summon the force ... in the form of CK1 Kenobi


PS: I am your father

8:37 PM EST  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...


Confused ... I am not your ex am I?

Anyway I thank you for the encouragement re my potential though I fear Colombina has set the bar pretty high.


8:40 PM EST  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Hi Mike,

Have not had the 'extreme' pleasure as yet ... can't wait to see the extreme ADS though!


Thanks for commenting and for the compliment!

8:43 PM EST  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...


TWO references to Fibber McGee (and none to Molly ...poor Molly) in ONE post. OUTSTANDING!

Didn't think about the TF graphic and people opening it at work ... will be more careful next time.


8:46 PM EST  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:52 PM EST  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...


Thanks for loving me.

As for the rest, you might as well have written it in Russian for how much of it I did (not) understand.

Tumulte? Anteaus?

(Forgive my spelling ...but phoenetically I would have to say ...

"Ya Niz Nye-yoo"


8:54 PM EST  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...


I AM the lucky one - of THAT I have Gwen Stefani (which is to say ... 'No Doubt').

Happy VD to you as well.


8:57 PM EST  
Blogger Unknown said...

Ha, that Mr. Big reference was probably due to your striking similarity to Chris Noth (well judging from the pic that you have up) and being in nyc and all!

1:34 AM EST  

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