Shalimar can't ever, ever, ever be worn by a man, can it? There are times when I go on about fragrances having no gender boundaries and how people perceive things differently when they smell them on men versus women and how I can wear anything at any time, I'm completely free when it comes to perfume (though, let's face it, only then). And then I try something like Shalimar and I shut up in a hurry.
When I met Mark Behnke (aka Basenotes' “Somerville Metro Man”) at Sniffapalooza last year, he staunchly declared that Shalimar eau de toilette is the way to go for men. He told me he'd decanted some for a guy friend who fell in love with the stuff, not knowing it was a woman's perfume.
Van Cleef and Arpels Midnight in Paris and all of its powdery vanilla ilk, Shalimar seems more pour les dudes than ever. But yeah, it is a big lady smell, and if the comfortably opulent L'Instant de Guerlain pour Homme is the one putting pep in your step these days, maybe just stick with that.
Shalimar eau de parfum seems crazy heavy powdery vanilla, very dense and sweet and just too much. But then I washed it off almost right away. I'll give it another go later, for Metro Man.
I'm currently thinking about how I'm going to get that Shalimar back onto my skin, and reflecting on Metro Man's eau de toilette recommendation (which I had originally considered, too). And I think his logic is flawed, unless your only goal is to wear something out of a Guerlain bottle.
It's like sending a gorgeous gown back to the designer and asking her to get rid of all the excessively female elements so a man might be able to wear it.
|"Does my neurosis look big in this?"|
And then getting back something that sort of resembles the original gown, but without all the frill and cut to look like a slightly long shirt. What's the value in that? Leaving the house without embarrassing oneself? Is that the goal? Because surely a watered down version of Shalimar isn't anyone's best bet.
If I can't figure out how to wear this, it won't be Shalimar's fault. And I won't send back the gown.
Fumies -- anyone out there man enough to wear Shalimar?
Photo: Dior ballgown, 1950 by Louise Dahl-Wolfe
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