I’ve always wondered about the ideal lover in bottle form. Past boyfriends have primarily worn colognes made “pour homme” and smelled pleasant enough, if not derivative. We grow up thinking masculine scents must contain some aspect of an aftershave accord when that simply isn’t the case. In fact, my top two favorite fragrances on men are actually marketed towards women. They contain drier notes than most “pour femme” scents and as such, exude a unisex profile. Men own and love them.

 

A leather-clad, raven-haired James Dean on motorcycle slows to a pulsating stop towards me. With sandalwood cigarette wedged between pillowed lips (which, in many a ridiculous daydream are heavy, ripe currants aching to be plucked) he blows a long cloud of indigo smoke before uttering, “Your heart’s running.” I faint.

This is the beauty of Tom Ford Black Orchid. He is deep and rich but also mysterious and unpredictable. Like James Dean or any other elusive bad boy, Black Orchid doesn’t come around often but when he does an interesting, adventurous occasion is assured.

For the other 80% of the time, my lover is Hermes Eau des  Merveilles.

 

On Sunday mornings he heads out the door in a soft cotton t-shirt, smelling of freshly washed skin and the tiniest hint of salt.  He parks a mug of black coffee on a flat stone beside the petunias, eager to finish yesterday’s gardening work. In the evenings Eau des Merveilles waxes Nietsche over vanilla bourbon.  He is relaxed but responsible, a thinker but practical. Eau des Merveilles is kind, knows what he wants, and goes about getting it oh so effortlessly.

The opposite sex need not look to the men’s section exclusively to smell great. He can take a trip to the women’s department and explore with an open mind. And if he happens to get his hands on Black Orchid, perhaps my fantasy can be a reality.