Personal fragrances; or, How to become popular by smelling like a muffin


Partner and I both cultivate a palette of personal fragrances.  He has a variety of favorites: there’s a Halston fragrance he likes, and a L’Occitane, and sometimes he branches out (I found a bottle of Sean John’s “Unforgivable” on his shelf the other day, and was very impressed that he’s branching out into hip-hop).



I am faithful to my favorite L’Occitane fragrance, called simply “L’Occitan”; supposedly it has notes of black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, and burnt wood, all twined around a musky base.  I like to think it makes me smell mysterious.  On ho-hum days I get by with a spritz of L’Occitane’s Ambre, and I keep their Eau des Vanilliers in the office for emergencies, although I wonder uneasily if if makes me smell a little too much like cream soda.



You’ll notice a lot of edibles on the above list: pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla.  I always noticed that, whenever I wear something that smells edible, I get a lot of attention.  (One day, when I was wearing bay rum, a person sitting next to me in a meeting leaned close to my ear and whispered, “You smell just like a muffin!”  I chose to take it as a compliment.)



I get most of my New and Trendy Information from my work friend Tab, who is considerably younger than me; I believe he actually graduated from college after the turn of the millennium.   We were hashing over the subject of fragrances, and he brushed aside my old-lady obsession with fancy scents.  “There are really only two fragrances in the gay community today,” he told me authoritatively.  “Older men -“



“Like you?” I said innocently.



“Well, yes,” he snarled.  “Anyway, we wear Drakkar Noir.” 



“And the younger men?”



“Ah,” he smiled.  “’Fierce,’ by Abercrombie and Fitch.”  He smiled dreamily.  “Whenever I smell it, it puts me on alert.  I know there’s something interesting in the vicinity.”



So, kids, you know your choices.  You can smell like burnt wood and vanilla orchids, like me; you can smell like a hip-hop megastar, like Partner; or you can smell young and cute.



Or you can smell like a muffin. 



Which – trust me – will make you popular with a lot of people.


About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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