Has anybody noticed how many different men’s colognes there are today?

While stopping at a department store counter last week, I quit counting around 50. Maybe that’s why it seems they’re really grasping for what to call them. One wants to take you on a Voyage. Who knows, it might last an Eternity? Some keep it simple by choosing a color like Blue. Another is actually the absence of color, Black. A nearby fragrance called Double Black must really pack a punch. Some offer a personal attachment with one-name familiarity — Armani, Gucci, Versace and Lacoste.

There they all were. Fifty various bottles in all shapes and sizes. By the time I had tested close to 15 of them, I was dizzy. Actually, it’s possible Dizzy was the 12th fragrance I sampled.

Once upon a time, there were six, maybe seven different colognes for men. They weren’t even really colognes, but were more commonly referred to as aftershaves. These were the only tried-and-true fragrances most men would comfortably apply. See if just by calling the name or remembering the bottle a scent comes wafting your way. In no particular order they were: Aqua Velva, Old Spice, British Sterling, English Leather, Hai Karate, Jade East and Brut. That’s it, choose one of those, wear it and like it. The Old Spice bottle looked like a buoy. The English Leather bottle was topped by a big wooden lid. Hai Karate promised the wearer would have to fight off the ladies. Brut was promoted by NFL quarterback and infamous carouser, Joe Namath, so it must be good. We conveniently forget he also advertised pantyhose. Selling a smell was, and still is, big business.

Colognes don’t smell the same on everybody. We all have different body chemistry and just because something smells good on a friend doesn’t mean it’ll smell good on you. In addition, women have a sharper sense of smell. She’ll remember a man who smells good, which also means she’ll remember one who doesn’t.

Were we better off when we only had six or seven choices? It certainly made the decisions on what to buy easier.

Nowadays, there’s the option of going with a scent that’s clean and fresh versus the woodsy and spicy. There also are entire websites devoted to buying discount fragrances online. Magazines sometimes offer a scratch-and-sniff sample of the product.

The sense of smell is usually considered to be the one that lingers with you the longest. Some of us saunter past department store counters sampling the options. Other men might even slip a couple coins into the machines that dispense the scents in some nightclub restrooms.

With so many, there’s certainly little excuse for all of us not to smell like something! Granted, some don’t always know that less is more. Most men usually believe that if she liked a little of it, she’ll really like a lot of it!

So as you remove that huge wooden cap from the English Leather bottle this morning or before you forget to stick that small gray stopper in the top of the Old Spice buoy, just remember, men all smell different — but we all smell.

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