The Non-Expert

Men’s Odor

Experts answer what they know. The Non-Expert answers anything. This week we cover the basics on choosing a cologne while everyone else covers their noses.

Have a question? Need some advice? Ignored by everyone else? Send us your questions via email. The Non-Expert handles all subjects and is updated on Fridays, and is written by a member of The Morning News staff.


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Question: You’ve told us how to look and what to say, but what are we supposed to smell like on a date? —colin

Answer: You’re on this date to find love, so, yes, you’ll want to be attractive in even the most olfactory sense. Napoleon may have told Josephine not to wash for two weeks because he found her fragrance de naturel arousing, but that will never do for you. After all, you’re no Josephine. No, you’re a modern man. Which means you should replace your natural pheromones with a commercially available product that gives you the particular scent that a particular other person will find sexy.

Yet you, my odorous friend, need help. So put a blanket over your head, take the Non-Expert’s well-oiled hand, and let us explore many of today’s finest fragrances.

Faberge, 1964
scent: ‘spicy woods’

Parking-lot sexy and extremely flammable. Mainly worn by boys who steal their dads’ Playboys and by those very same dads.

CK One
Calvin Klein, 1994
scent: ‘refreshing,’ ‘fruity’

Contains hints of papaya, pineapple, and green tea and was introduced as the first non-gender-specific fragrance. If you have a non-gender-specific date, then you’re aces. If not, you can at least mix up a quick smoothie.

Contradiction for Men
Calvin Klein, 1997
scent: ‘powerful,’ ‘masculine’

When you pick up your date for the evening, they’ll open the door and say, ‘Military intelligence?’ ‘No,’ you’ll reply, ‘country music.’ You’ll gaze deep into each other’s eyes for but a single moment and then go inside and make it.

Cool Water
Davidoff, 1988
scent: ‘energizing’

You’ve fallen asleep on a beach. You are naked. You are wearing Cool Water by Davidoff. Everything is blue. Your date arrives, naked, riding bareback on a white stallion. Your date steps down from the steed. You embrace. Entwined, you enter the water. The cool, cool water. You wake up. You are covered in something that sure isn’t cool water.

Drakkar Noir
Guy Laroche, 1982
scent: ‘citrus woody’

The scent of choice for scoring at homecoming dances and JV volleyball games. Rent an apartment near the high school. Work—shirtless—on your Celica Supra. But first: Spritz liberally.

Yves Saint Laurent, 1981
scent: ‘luxurious’

Kouros is Greek for ‘boy.’ We cannot judge you.

Calvin Klein, 1986
scent: ‘refreshing’

You are in a black-and-white dreamscape. You are naked. You are stretching against a marble obelisk. You are Robert Mapplethorpe.

Odeur 53
Comme des Garçons, 1998
scent: ‘inorganic’

For gas-huffers, fetishists, and anyone else who thinks the smell of nail polish is sexy. Pros: removes forehead wrinkles, doubles as chloroform. Con: unstable chemical structure.

Old Spice
scent: ‘cool,’ ‘crisp,’ ‘clean’

The classic yet economical fragrance for the man who, while heading out to meet up with his date, realizes he forgot to shower after a day of just getting out of prison for twelve years. Also goes well with a box of tees for dear old dad on Father’s Day.

Paco Rabanne
Paco Rabanne, 1973
scent: ‘rich,’ ‘masculine’

Nothing says speedboats and speed-binges like Paco Rabanne.

Ralph Lauren, 1978
scent: ‘sharp,’ ‘woody’

For those special moments when you have to tell the domestic help that, no, they can’t drive the Mercedes. ‘It just wouldn’t be right.’ Can also be worn while drawing up exclusion laws for your country club. Both could be date activity, if done well.

Gucci, 1999
scent: ‘musky’

You step out of the shower. Your body: freshly shaven. Your hair: thick with mousse. Your face: lean, chisled. Your date: never called you back.

Coty, 1981
scent: ‘refined’

Best worn while kicking the shit out of some half-loaded city-slicker sonuvabitch who thought he could impress everyone by lasting four seconds on the mechanical bull. Don’t even bother wiping the blood off your moustache—your date is already a-quiver with excitement.


Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN. More by Andrew Womack