Man, I Smell Like A Woman


Ditch the spray on testosterone, says Daniel Maier. Real men wear girls’ deodorant.


It’s weird. Though the boundary between male and female fragrance is long-blurred, men’s deodorant remains a world of dry-boakingly unhelpful gender assumptions. Colognes, of course, come in many shades – from light floral through sharp and citric to smokier, boskier scents. Men’s deodorant, on the other hand, runs the gamut from teenage bedroom to gym locker. Essentially, any chap who doesn’t want to smell like the olfactory equivalent of banter is shit out of luck. Why? Why does an industry – one that knows most men with even a microclooney of sophistication would rather stay in and do the dishes than have to head out wreathed in Lynx Ladmag – continue to limit consumer choice this way?

I don’t need a surreptitious spritz on the wrist in the aisle of Superdrug to know that Adidas Pure Game and Right Guard 3D Energy Zone say nothing to me about my life. Gillette Arctic. Sure For Men Lotus F1, for the love of God. They posture on the shelf like adrenaline-pumped stag buddies lining up for The Running Of The Bulls. I recoil from any anti-perspirant with ‘sport’ or ‘active’ appended to its name. Not just because I’m as athletic as a walk-in bath, but because I know they’re going to ming of priapic, pec-twitching, alpha-wang.

So I use women’s deodorants. Dove, mainly. The blue one. The green one with the cucumber slice on it. The no-stain one, despite having no LBD to fret over. Because even the mens’ range of unmacho brands like Vaseline, Nivea and Dove itself fall prey to the same overpowering, jock-pong assumptions about how men want to smell.

This heady tyranny is doubly annoying – because not only do men’s deodorants smell rubbish, they’re pervasive enough to nix any attempt at being masked. My aftershave of choice can sit agreeably over the top of a subtle women’s deodorant, but over the dominant adolescent hum of the men’s equivalent, a complex cologne is hopelessly compromised.

Men’s scents are rendered in body wash, shampoo, even shaving cream form as well as simple colognes. So why not in deodorants? When Tom Ford bungs Neroli Portofino in an anti-perspirant, I’ll be all over it. Or at least, it’ll be all over me.

‘Til then, my underarms are happy with the scent of a woman. Hoo-ha.

Related - Columns , Men

SALI LOVES: Lisa Macario’s slogan sweatshirts

Any words you want, hand-stitched on a flattering sweatshirt? Sali Hughes is spoilt for choice

Sacred Brows

Comedy writer Sarah Morgan gets microbladed and finally sees what all the fuss is about

Balls Boutique

Daniel Maier discovers if an intimate men’s range is goolie scrumptious - or just cobblers.

Sponsored Post: Harvey Nichols Holy Grail Edit, Week 5

The best foundations, as chosen by Sali