Gender bending with Bernard Chant
Today I am very happy to participate as Guest Reviewer of the Day in one of my favourite blogs, Nero Profumo. If you would like to read my take on the classic Aramis 900 and whether it really takes some effort to cross the gender barrier in perfume, please read here my review. And also take a look at Nero Profumo’s previous posts. They are really clear, personal and down-to-earth. Unapologetic fragrances and the art of guerrilla reviews.
, gender barrier
Scientifically minded but obsessed with the subjective aspect of things.
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Christos, I enjoyed your article and tried to comment at Nero Profumo’s blog (made several attempts) but couldn’t do so due to problems with trying to use either my Google account and WordPress account there. Probaby my fault, rather than his site’s, but at any rate … good article. My husband wears Montale Black Aoud, which, as you know, is rose heavy, so I agree with you on the whole gender bending thing in theory. However, I would say that the mindset does exist and it takes some courage for a man to say, “I’m going to wear Quelques Fleurs (or Lyric Woman or what-have-you) because it smells good on me.” — because that gender divide is there at the store and on the faces of certain SA’s they approach. (I’ve read of men being scolded by SA’s for wanting to wear something like Jicky for cripessakes.) Whereas a woman who wants to wear a “masculine” has it easier, I think. She’s allowed to steal his scent, whereas he’s not (is the mindset that I think a good many people have).
Suzanne I am sure it is not your fault.I have had to give up using my wordpress identitty in all blooger sites and still sometimes it is not very straightforward to use my google account.
I agree with what you say but what you describe has nothing to do with the gender of the perfume. It has to do with social concepts and the fact that in our deep subconscious the male is considered a higher level of evolvement (and don’t get me wrong, I am talking about the lowest common denominator in our societies). This is why a man wearing woman’s clothes is a laughing stock while a woman wearing men’s clothes is considered sophisticated and sexy (did you say Marlene Dietrich?). I don’t like this concept but we cannot overlook it. It will take a lot of hard work for this to change.
The point that I wanted to make is that the juice, the perfume, what we smell, has no gender. If Aramis 900 could be marketed as masculine and sold to men back in the 70’s while being nothing but a floral variation of Aromatics Elixir, created by the same perfumer and obviously based on the same formula, what more proof do we need?
Oh, agreed. I did get your very well-made point about the perfume itself having no gender and that it’s only marketing that assigns it one. The reason I got off-track with my comment (my apologies for that) was in thinking about your statement, “The truth is there is nothing sophisticated about wearing fragrances marketed for the opposite sex simply because the barrier between masculine and feminine scents is nothing but a thin line drawn by advertisers to attract the originally less interested masculine audience,” and (my) focusing too much on the first half of that statment … going beyond your discusssion of Aramis 900 in my head. Because I was thinking, yes, I agree, but it does take a certain sophistication of mind for the person to cross over that line that is drawn by marketing and say I’m choosing this. And I suppose I was thinking about that in terms of being in an actual store, where it can be intimidating. But yeah — sorry, I know you weren’t really addressing that aspect in your post. 😀
Sorry Suzanne :), I think I was a bit aggressive there…
I just cannot believe that men find easier to wear fragrances like Paco Rabane Black XS for Men for instance instead of let’s say L’Agent by Agent Provocateur. It is easier for them to wear the bubblegum strawberry of Black XS instead of the bitter leather of L’Agent, just because it is marketed in a black bottle and labelled a masculine. Given half the chance, let’s say in a blind sniff, most men would easily go for L’Agent.
No problem — I didn’t think you were agressive at all and had every right to wonder where I was taking the conversation. 🙂 And now that I’ve taken up your time here in my usual fashion, I’ll say adieu for the day … and btw, I’m very behind on getting your fragrance package in the mail but it will be going out to you tomorrow. Scout’s honor! 😀
Please do not hurry. I haven’t managed to prepare yours either. You are always welcome here.
I don’t know that blog/author so I haven’t even tried commenting there.
If we’re not talking about perfumistas (it doesn’t matter, men or women), it does take some “degree of sophistication and dare” to cross the line – not even between masculine/feminine scents – between two sides of a fragrance counter. Not everybody can power through SAs’ comments: “Oh, this one is for women/men.”
I hate the SA rulership over what one should or should not try. Maybe next time it would be a good idea to rub A900 and AE in their noses just to let them see that in reality fragrance has no gender.
Hello Undina, I see you subscribed to my blog and just wanted to say thanks. Don’t be afraid to leave a comment, you’re more than welcome. If you want to know me better I have more than 800 reviews at fragrantica and over 700 at Basenotes (in which I also count around over 6000 posts). Thanks for your interest.
@Crhistos: amazing review (as usual). Thanks for the contribution.
Thank you for the opportunity Alfarom, I love your blog and the style of your criticism.
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