Stinky Stuff

aquaWhen I was a boy, my father wore Aqua Velva or Old Spice … my Mom wore Chanel No. 5 cologne.  That’s how it was back then, men wore after shave shave, women wore cologne.  When I started shaving, I got to splash on a little of my Dad’s Aqua Velva and thought I was officially a man.  By the time I went away to college I was wearing English Leather and, yes, it said cologne on the bottle.  I also wore something called Jade East but English Leather wasenglish my stand by.   I was wearing it when I met a pretty young woman during my Junior year.   She was wearing Shalimar.  Yes, I remember.  These days, Muri wears lighter fragrances from places like Bath and Body Works but if we walk through the fragrance department at Macy’s and a trace of Shalimar is in the air, I still smile.  Me?  Somewhere along the line, I stopped wearing colognes.  It may have been partly because one of my kids (I can’t remember which) started calling the multicolored bottles under my sink Stinky Stuff.  That took some of the romance out of it.  It didn’t help, either, that men’s colognes evolved into sweeter and heavier fragrances, many as male versions of women’s colognes.  These days, I stick to Nivea After Shave Balm which is good for the skin (and scalp, since I shave my head every day) and has only a light fragrance.

I bring this up because last week I was in a local department store looking for a small anniversary present for Muri and stopped by the perfume counter.  I found myself faced with a problem I’d never faced buying perfumes back in the good old days … what female celebrity did I want the love of my life to smell like.  Britney Spears?  Uhhh, too sleazy.   Paris Hilton?  Worse.  Lady Gaga?  Seriously?   How about Jennifer Aniston?  Well, I’d heard a rumor Jennifer doesn’t believe in deodorants, so I didn’t risk it.  Taylor Swift?  Don’t you think she could smell off key, too?  In the end, I settled for Faith Hill.true  After all, Muri’s a country music fan … and the fragrance was nice and light.  When I gave it to Muri on Sunday, I asked who Faith Hill was married to, trying to be funny, wondering if I shouldn’t wear her husband’s cologne if he had one.  Tim McGraw, Muri said.  Trying to be funny again, I said, Oh, then I should smell like alcohol.  Muri, not thinking I was all that funny, said, He doesn’t drink any more.  She did like the cologne, though.

I checked out the Men’s Colognes while I was in the store.  Same thing there … David Beckham, Prince, Antonio Banderas, yes, even Tim McGraw.   Oh, yeah, Justin Beiber.  I guess twelve year olds are wearing cologne these days.  Do grown men REALLY buy colognes named after other men?  Or boys?   Then there are the overpowering European brands like Versace Eros and Les Beau Male, apparently designed to attract women from several counties away.  Nope, I’m not going back to Stinky Stuff … I’m sticking with my Nivea Shaving Balm.  By the way, I discovered an interesting fact while I was writing this post … Aqua Velva was introduced as an alcohol-based mouthwash back in 1929.  And it was the aftershave of choice of the Lone Ranger … who also had excellent breath.

TSTSo, this week’s Two Thoughts for Top Sites Tuesday concern fragrances, aka Stinky StuffThought Number One is that the sense of smell, more than any of the senses, brings back memories.  That’s probably why fragrances are so popular and why after all these years, Aqua Velva says Dad and Shalimar brings back memories of college with Muri.  Which leads to Thought Number Two: Do any fragrances bring back memories for you?   While you’re thinking about it, why don’t you push my button … gently … to make me Number One on Top Sites Tuesday #216. Thanks for stopping by.

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9 Comments on “Stinky Stuff”

  1. The men’s fragrances from days of yore you mentioned really do evoke many, many memories for me. One other men’s product I liked back then and rarely have seen it -Spanish Bay Rum -not applied heavily, just a light touch. VERY nice!

  2. oldsunbird Says:

    Channel #5, still my number 1! Only, no cologne now Have to buy toilet water. My husband wore aqua velva and old spice. So, yes! Brings back a lot of memories for me. My mother wore Evening in Paris. That was a looong time ago.

  3. Yes. Yes yes yes. My father wore Aqua di Selva or Brut. I don’t smell it much these days, but it was a very common scent in our home in the 80s. My mother wore Obsession when it was at the height of its popularity. My grandmother (mom’s mom) wore Ciara, and sometimes I smell it when no one is around and say hello to her. A good friend wore Aqua di Gio and every time I smell it I think he’s nearby. Jack wore Ralph Lauren Blue – you can imagine what happens when I smell that. (I wouldn’t mind if it was discontinued.)

    I personally have long worn Bath & Body Works’ Warm Vanilla Sugar, and I’ve been told it’s a “signature scent” for me – people smell it and think I’ve been where they are. This spring/summer, I’ve been wearing Vera Wang perfume (I acquired a free sample). I don’t typically care for perfumes because they’re expensive and wear off quickly compared to lotions, but it’s a lovely scent that’s not too sweet or flowery. Check it out for Muri, as it is by virtue of its creator more class and less crass. 🙂 (Vera Wang has multiple scents: this is the one that is just called Vera Wang. She also has Vera Wang Sheer Veil, Vera Wang Look, Vera Wang Lovestruck, Vera Wang Princess, Vera Wang Glam Princess, Vera Wang Preppy Princess, Vera Wang Bouquet and Vera Wang Anniversary.)

    Lots of other olfactory memories for me… the oddest one being the occasional whiff of something resembling the fetal pig I dissected my sophomore year of high school. That happens more often than you’d think!

    • oldereyes Says:

      My interesting non-fragrance memory has to do with being on the high school swimming team. We practiced at an indoor YMCA pool that was very strongly chlorined. The first several weeks of practice were brutal each year … we usually ended up barfing in the showers. And forty years later, if I walk into an indoor pool and the smell of the chlorine hits me, my stomach does a little somersault.

  4. cherperz Says:

    Yes, fragrances definitely bring back memories. My dad also wore Old Spice and I am sure if I smelled it, it would take me back…well at least as far as memories go. Is the Old Spice version of that era still being made?

    Here both Wayne and I have tried a variety of scents but neither of us has bought a fragrance named after a celebrity. I still keep a bottle of Chanel #5. It’s a classic.


  5. Wolfbernz Says:

    Hi Bud,

    For me it would be Old Spice. My father always wore Old Spice. I remember growing up as a little boy and he would fix my hair getting us ready for church and he would always put a little bit of his Old Spice on me. Good memories!


  6. Trina Says:

    I think my one cologne would be Calvin Klein’s “Be” When I smell it I remember High School. That’s what we were wearing most of the time and I always thought it smelled so good.

    I don’t wear perfume much, Only when I’m going “Out”. Mostly I stick to scented Bath and Body Works lotions… They moisturize and smell good – Win Win. Plus it’s simple enough that I get to smell a little like a girl even when I’m working a rough job 😉


  7. gpcox Says:

    Oh, I remember it well, same with my parents, and dad kept ‘Canoe’ for special occasions.

  8. Rick Gleason Says:

    White Shoulders reminds me of my mother. From the 1940s and still available.

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