You’ve been there before, had a much anticipated date turn sour simply because you couldn’t stomach the overpowering smell of grandma’s roses wafting off her skin. Or maybe it was your own cologne that got you in trouble and alone on a Saturday night. Fact is: not all is fair in love and war, especially when it comes to the way you smell. Here’s what you need to know to ensure your scent isn’t a dating deal breaker.
Less is more
Rule of thumb for all first dates: go easy on the cologne. “You don’t know if your date is sensitive to scent,” says Paula Pulvino, the founder of VOTM Perfume Villa of the Mysteries in Brooklyn, New York. “One way to ensure you’re not wearing too much fragrance is to spray it into the air in front of you and walk through it.” Aim to spritz twice, maximum, about a half hour before you head out the door. This will give the fragrance time to settle onto your skin and clothes.
Wear what you know
A first date is not the time to try a new scent. Wear what’s tried, tested and true. “Something that makes you feel confident and happy,” recommends Pulvino. After all, the more at ease you are the more comfortable you’re going to feel on your date. Have more than one favourite scent? Pick the lighter and fresher smelling one. Clean and subtle eaus tend to make the best first impression, as they’re not overpowering. “Your date wants to get to know you for who you are,” adds Pulvino. Not your cologne.
Message in the bottle
“Scent says something about us; it telegraphs who we are even before we speak,” says Pulvino. Our sense of smell is very closely linked to our memory. Think about it. Who hasn’t inhaled a heady, floral perfume and been transported back to the ’80s and high school hallways? Or had a whiff of pipe tobacco mixed with shaving cream and thought of Dad? “Smell is a subconscious and visceral thing,” affirms Pulvino. “We make judgments about people and things all the time based solely on how they smell.” Makes you think twice about the message you want your date to receive about your personality, doesn’t it. Pick your bottle wisely.
Follow your date’s lead
You’ve made it past the first and second dates, but want to ensure they keep coming. Start looking and listening for cues. “Maybe your date has said that they like the smell of lavender or orange blossom, for example,” says Pulvino. “You could try a new fragrance that incorporates those notes.” Should you go the shopping route, test out several scents and sprits them onto your skin before you buy. It’s important to experience how the cologne wears and if it smells good on your skin. Last but not least, make sure you like it. “Never wear anything just to please someone else,” affirms Pulvino. It’s a dating deal breaker.