Whenever he thought about it, he felt terrible. And so, at last, he came to a fateful decision. He decided not to think about it. ~John-Roger and Peter McWilliams
Question #78616 posted on 08/11/2014 11:36 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What perfumes do you like to use or smell? Men, please contribute if you know what scents you like girls to wear.

Thanks,
sweetly scented

A:

Dear scented, 

I prefer vanilla based scents. They're sweet and light. One of the few things I absolutely cannot stand is overpowering perfume. If I can taste how you smell, we've got a problem. 

-Ms.O'Malley (who would like to point out the best scent a dude can wear is Old Spice)

A:

Dear Sweetly,

I use the Coach poppy line or a simple vanilla scent if I wear perfume (which I rarely do). Otherwise I use tropical body wash and that usually leaves a faint coconut smell. 

-Concorde

A:

Dear you,

My two perfumes are C.O. Bigelow Lemon and Bath & Body Works Be Enchanted. However, I will observe that based on my experience a man is much more likely to notice the scent of your shampoo/conditioner ("Your hair smells good,") than your perfume ("I like your perfume").

~Anne, Certainly

A:

Dear Cinnamon,

I tend to use body sprays. I have one vanilla lace, one white citrus and one lemon cream (which smells like a combination between the lemon and the citrus). I do have one perfume, it's more of a musky scent and I use it infrequently.

-Marguerite St. Just

A:

Dear scented,

I prefer clean, light scents with just a bit of fruitiness and light floral tones. I don't have any perfume, but my favorite lotion is called "white gardenia," and I also like the smell of this perfume. In the summer, I lean toward things with the word "tropical" or references to water or cleanliness, or are packaged in green or blue; in the winter, I prefer vanilla/cinnamon/brown sugar types packaged in brown, gold, or cream. I avoid anything colored pink or purple because I think those tend to make you smell like potpourri. (With the exception of sweet pea! I love sweet pea.)

As far as guys go, my experience is similar to Anne's. Generally, guys mostly just notice if you smell good but don't really care if it's your perfume, shampoo, or whatever, and I've found they don't often pin down specific scents beyond "smells bad" vs. "smells good." If you follow the archive trail starting at Board Question #44901, you can get some more opinions.

-Owlet

A:

Dear Sweet,

I'm sorry to hold this question over for you but I noticed that none of the men from the Board had given their responses and I felt you deserved hearing from a male writer. So without further ado here is input from me, the man.

Men in general: I'd have to mainly agree with Anne and Owlet. Most men smell a fragrance (whether shampoo, lotion, or perfume) and think, "that's a nice smell." I'd have to disagree and say that the average guy does recognize a difference between perfume and shampoo... I think most guys can tell even if they don't or can't verbalize it well. I think perfume plays a few roles, but some may be subconscious effects that most guys don't even think about:

  • First, it serves as an indicator that you take care of yourself and care about your appearance. That's important to guys and almost any fragrance fulfills this role. The typical "clean" fragrances work best at this: citrus, marine, some spice, and fresh scents all indicate that you have good hygiene.
  • Second, it can serve to create memories. If you frequently wear the same fragrance guys will notice and associate it with you. Scents are proven to create strong memories. You might consider sticking primarily with one fragrance as a "signature fragrance."
  • Third, they help you stand out. Unique fragrances are awesome, they make guys think, "wow, she smelled great. I wonder what that was." I'm not saying that it will take you from hideous to most attractive at BYU, but it can help you stand out at a party. I'm also not saying that only a Tom Ford or Creed fragrance counts as "unique." There are plenty of fragrances that come off as unique and special.
  • Fourth, fragrances set the mood and define "you". People get a sense for who they are talking to based on hints around them, and smells matter. There is no doubt that fragrances adjust the atmosphere and mood. If you want something "fun" go with citrus, tropical, or fruity; for serious go with something that could be used in the office like a toned down spicy/fresh scent or marine; but if you want something sensual then the florals, vanillas, musks, and woody smells are best. Obviously not everyone who wears vanilla is going for sensual, but if you wear vanilla properly you can set the mood.
So that's a lot of information and doesn't really answer "what do men like?" I think the answer is that it depends on you, it depends on the guy, and it depends on the season (seriously, some scents are best for winter and become awful and gross in the heat of summer). A lot of people wear fragrances primarily for themselves because they like the smell. Go for whatever suits you, knowing that most guys will just think "she smells nice!"

Me: I have a very sensitive nose and get headaches from certain fragrances if they are too strong. I like light fragrances on women, preferably citrus, light spices, some florals, and some woody smells. Fruity smells are great for about five minutes and then give me a headache, as well as vanilla. I'm very picky though, I know for a fact that most men aren't like me. So don't base it off of me!

Hopefully this was worth waiting a few more hours to hear from a "real man" of the 100 Hour Board. Best luck with your fragrance hunting!

-Ozymandias