the man’s guide to buying perfume in under 1200 words



Women, as we know, are predisposed to receiving gifts.

Whereas men, for the most part don’t really give a shit, for women it’s a genetic thing and considering womankind’s last great gift to we men was Eve’s apple, it’s probably best that they stay well and truly on the receiving end as far as giving goes.

This doesn’t men however that we can take our gift giving for granted and the saying “it’s the thought counts” is woman-speak for the thing-you-just-gave-me-is-pretty-much-rubbish-and-I’m-obviously-not-worth-the-effort.

So, in light of such things, it is best to er on the side of gift giving caution, which is the reason perfume was invented in the first place. Though it is still a minefield fraught with danger, it is quite possible to excel admirably if you follow a set procedure and don’t take the enterprise lightly.

So, read on good fellows. It’s all here for the learning.


Buying perfume takes time. Therefore you will need to train so you can think and shop like a woman. Practice lingering and walking slowly without any recognisable pattern. Learn to change your mind numerous times with no ready excuse for doing so.  Do training runs to ensure you can leave a store having purchased something totally unrelated to the reason you first went in.


On buying day, prepare yourself mentally in the men’s department of your choice. Ensure that you are comfortable. Engage in light banter about manly subjects with a salesperson to clear your mind. Urinate one last time. Once you have composed yourself head directly to the perfumery. Do your best to avoid the lingerie department en route and never, ever stop there otherwise people will look at you. Oddly.


Once in the perfumery take your time to adjust yourself to the ambience. Be conscious of your body language. Remember your training: Reach, Pause, Linger, Move on. Once you are ready to make your first choice go ahead and select confidently. Ensure that you spray the stuff on a little cardboard strip to smell it, being mindful to wave the strip in the air numerous times before doing so. Remember, this will portray your knowledge and worldliness to the five sales-people already hovering discreetly in your aisle.


During the wafting stage (see above) do not succumb to temptation and spray a mist of Eau de toilette onto your own wrist. Mental awareness here is crucial and it is vitally important that women’s perfume NEVER be transferred to a man’s skin unless said perfume is also attached to a woman. Please note that once you begin self-transferring there is a chance that you may not stop. Women’s perfume is highly addictive and works subliminally on an emotional level that men don’t understand. You know you don’t want to smell like a woman but then again…


When the time comes, and it will, you will be approached by a salesperson. Accept the offering of assistance because you both know that you need it. Be casual and moderately charming without appearing to leer or letch. Be extremely careful if said salesperson is stunningly beautiful, tanned or both. Never look directly into her eyes and understand that she is a Shaman trained only to take your money. Resist all urges to sniff the air then ask what perfume she is currently wearing. This is because vinegar would smell good on her and you will become distracted and have your judgement clouded.


Once in selection mode proper, never use the word scent when considering a perfume’s qualities. Language such as this will make you appear foppish and exclusive, which you’re not. Other terms to avoid are fragrance, bouquet and aroma. These are words favoured by French dandies and Formula One drivers. If a particular perfume pleases you, simply say: “yes, that smells nice”, in a thoughtful and mature manner.


Remind yourself to be discerning and never be fooled by fancy bottles and/or trendy packaging. This is a rookie error and gives the impression that you are shallow and superficial. Remind yourself that the shape and feel of the bottle has no direct correlation to the quality of what it contains. Also, never select a perfume endorsed by someone impossibly beautiful or more attractive than the intended recipient. This has the potential to make her think you want her to be that person and will lead to ‘talks’ about emotions, feelings and where your relationship is currently heading.


As selection draws closer do not be afraid to boldly request to sample from the top shelf. This will give the impression that you are a discerning gent with a worldly knowledge of what women want and prevent you being considered as cheap. DO NOT however point and ask: “how much is that one?” This is crass and another obvious rookie error. Not asking the price will prevent the tragedy of you saying: “Jesus how much”? in a voice two octaves above normal when the price is disclosed. NEVER ask the price. Simply let the price be offered and then show no emotion at the figure, no matter how ridiculous that figure may be.


Finally, be constantly mindful never to confuse quantity with quality, which is the third and possibly ultimate rookie error. Do not, under any circumstances purchase a litre of ‘sunset stripper’ thinking it good value and long lasting. Mind you It WILL last. Mainly because it will never be used. This is one of the few occasions that a woman will agree that bigger is not necessarily better. Use this to your advantage. A smaller bottle gets used sparingly as the woman will not want to waste it, therefore making it cost effective. A smaller bottle also hurts less when thrown.


Once you have changed your mind enough times go ahead and make your selection. On payment accept the offer of gift wrapping because you know you can’t wrap for shit. This will also save you the trouble of having to select the paper plus you will probably get a little bow thing added as decoration which adds heavily to the overall effect on presentation.

black coffee only


On leaving the store, do not be ashamed by the little carry bag that contains your purchase. Display it proudly knowing that other men will see it. This promotes confidence and will possibly elevate you to the status of perfume God or slightly lower. If you choose to partake in a refreshing beverage after your expedition go with black coffee, no sugar. Place the carry bag on the table and select a gender neutral magazine then flick idly through its pages. This will prevent you opening the bag a little and looking inside, which is a definite no-no. If you find yourself actually thinking or saying: “no, no”, do not be alarmed. This is the residual effect of shopping like a woman and will pass in good time. Finally, never put the carry bag on the ground at your feet because ultimately, you will forget it when you leave.

Because this, my friend, is what makes you a man.



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