Gender seems to me a strange thing to assign to a mood or mindset. Take, for instance, the personality trait known as 'confidence'-- a manly trait in men, apparently, but a UNwomanly one for a woman. Yet I know too many timid men and ballsy women to believe that the trait is determined by gender. More likely it's determined by other people, who insert their own judgments accordingly.
By the same token, I tend not to think of fragrance as a gendered thing in itself. You can say that a fragrance was created with men or women in mind, or that it has been marketed to one or the other. But the scent itself cannot possibly be male or female-- can it? Any person can wear any fragrance-- this is what I have always firmly believed.
Today I wore Eau Sauvage and tried to square what I was inhaling with the ideas outlined above, along with the questions they raise. Eau Sauvage is a "men's fragrance", overtly intended for the sort of big-shouldered, cleft-chinned centaur featured in any number of René Gruau illustrations, narrow hips swathed in pure white bath towel. But is Eau Sauvage male? Does it turn into something different when a woman wears it? Is the woman who wears it borrowing a man's power? Does she gain any extra dimension that she herself did not already possess?
Nah. I would say not. But I might say that Eau Sauvage would cause a shy person (whatever their gender) to raise their head -- or their voice -- just a bit more. This is a very confident, optimistic, uplifting scent-- all sunny citrus and herbs à la Méditerranée, with a squeaky-clean jasmine for that just-shaved-and-toweled aura, and a generous slug of musk to remind people you're a warm-blooded mammal, just like they are. One is unlikely to turn inward or go all tongue-tied in mixed company while wearing something so frisky and frank; it chases away the snares of one's own inchoate thoughts and says to others, "Talk to me. I'm open."
I don't feel more male, or less female, when I wear it. I just feel more friendly-- and that's what really counts.
Scent Elements: Lemon, basil, petitgrain, rosemary, jasmine, rose, iris, oakmoss, vetiver, musk