Part 4 of 4

I’m listening to James Brown singing “Try Me” as I’m writing this post, and I think he captures perfectly the essence of what Ageless Fantasy bestows upon the wearer. He sings, “Try me / Try me / Darlin’ tell me / I need you / Oh I need you (I need you hoo hoo).”

Whether or not this perfume camouflages aging pheromones. Whether or not it increases a male’s penile blood flow upon his taking in of the fragrance that is wafting from the crook of your neck… The real promise that Ageless Fantasy ($120, 3.04 oz) gives the woman who wears it is the permission to walk into the room and ask the object of her desire to “try me”.

I don’t think that the perfume alone does the trick—although it does smell good, like the clean, alluring scent a fragrant soap may leave behind on your skin (more on the scent)—but rather it is the confidence that it leaves behind. The tacit acknowledgment a woman makes in her head that she indeed wants men to find her attractive and that she has indeed prepared herself to make it just so.

So is it the sweet, soft smell that lures in the suitors? Or is it the jutting hip, the inspired opening line, “Is my scent increasing your penile blood flow?” that will turn heads? Or is it, as Rene Descartes said in 1649, that “the principle effect of the passions [the perfume?] is that they incite and persuade the mind to will the events for which they prepare the body”?

I like the way Ageless Fantasy smells on me. To quote one male friend after he released me in a longer than typical hug-of-a-greeting, “Damn, girl! You smell good!” And I will continue to use it as I press on in 2009 with my single, twentysomething girl-in-the-city endeavors. But did I have a more amorous than usual winter break, you may ask?

Well, yes. I would say so. Not that I took up any extraordinarily passionate love affairs, or had men laying garlands at my feet, but I did find myself as the center of attention more often than not. I flirted, I laughed loud and often, I stood poised with my shoulders back and engaged every man in the room.

At one party, I was playing cards with a group of people, of which included a quite handsome firefighter. I let my girlfriend know that I found him attractive. Later that week, when she saw him again, she told him so. His response: “Really? The girl in the black dress? Well, how can I get in touch with her?” And then later, it was overheard him saying to a friend, “Did you know Claire Daniel thinks I’m cute? Why does she have to live in Brooklyn?” And you know what, he facebooked me at 2 am on New Years day. (Ahh, the peculiarities of courtship when coming into maturity during the digital age!)

But perhaps the stars were aligned just so for my love life in the New Year. In fact, out of the blue I found emails in my inbox from not just one but two ex-boyfriends on Christmas day inquiring of my health and happenstances, and each ending the letter with an open-ended question designed to keep the conversation going.

What are the laws of attraction? And, really, when competing for the fickle attention of gentlemen, how important is it for women of a certain age to consider men’s olfactophilic response when designing their repertoire for the game of love?

I would say it is powerful. Smell brings us back to a remembrance of things past. And when it is pleasant, it has the power to elicit the most primitive and enlivening desires in the hearts of men. Just consider the power of Proust’s teacup and madeleine:

“An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory - this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me it was me. I had ceased now to feel mediocre, contingent, mortal. Whence could it have come to me, this all-powerful joy? I sensed that it was connected with the taste of the tea and the cake, but that it infinitely transcended those savours, could, no, indeed, be of the same nature. Whence did it come? What did it mean? How could I seize and apprehend it?”

Related posts:

Will a fragrance fool men into thinking you’re younger than you are?

The science of scent: increasing penile blood flow, making women feel better about themselves

An olfactious examination of Ageless' anti-aging perfume

Dept of Daft: Pheradore

Related links:

Economist, How Perfumes Work

"... that in all your Amours you should prefer old Women to young ones." Benjamin Franklin, Advice to a Young Man on the Choice of a Mistress (1745).