Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Before I dive in and actually begin reviewing scents, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to the tiny handful of people I expect to visit this blog. For those of you who don’t already know me, here’s a brief introduction:

I am a 30-something professional copywriter, editor, and journalist. I live in the small, cold, gritty city of Lewiston, Maine, with my partner of eight years – my “wife,” though we aren’t legally married – and four ill-behaved pets (two cats, two dogs).

As the subhead to this blog notes, I am “genderqueer” … that’s just a trendy new way of saying I’m a biological female who doesn’t feel any real affinity for traditionally “feminine” things. At least, that’s my definition. Ask anyone else who self-identifies as genderqueer, and you’re likely to get a different response. Any discussion of gender identity or roles raises a number of complicated issues, and I don’t really plan to analyze those issues here. Suffice to say, in my case, my gender identity means that, among other things, I dress like a man, walk like a man, sit like a man and, when it comes to choosing fragrances, prefer to smell like a man.

Of course, I realize “smelling like a man” is about as subjective as “smelling good.” Still, I suspect fragrance reviews written by a biological female with a strong preference for traditionally “masculine” scents may be just different enough of a take to be intriguing to some readers. Or so I hope …

I started this blog to serve as a living document of my search for a new fragrance to replace the same tired old bottle of cologne I’ve been dragging around for years (more on this later). I stopped liking the smell of it some time ago, and the bottle has gone practically untouched since we moved to our new house, so I decided it was time for a change. I don’t really know anything about fragrance but, as the saying goes, “I know what I like.” The only trouble is, how do you find what you like when you don’t know where to begin? So, several weeks ago, I asked my perfume-loving friend Julie for some advice. She made a few recommendations, I did a little research and ordered a few samples. Those samples led to more research and more samples until, before I knew it, sniffing had become a minor obsession.

Since then, I’ve been emailing  some tentative reviews to Julie, who thought it a shame they were wasted on her eyes only … so here I am.

Finally, though I’m a professional writer – or maybe because I am – I no longer particularly enjoy “writing for fun.” I’ve started other blogs in the past, but invariably lost interest after a handful of posts. As such, I expect this blog to be sporadic and short-lived. To be frank, I’m a consummate dabbler, and don’t even know how much longer my interest in fragrance will last. For that reason, I’ll apologize now to anyone who enjoys reading what I have to say here. You’ve been warned!

Image note: Neckties and dogs are two traditionally "masculine" things I love. This photo is a bit silly, but I couldn't resist ... Besides, dogs have an acute sense of smell, so this little guy seems like a fitting mascot for my first entry.


Julie H. Rose said...

Hurrah! As you wrote about what I wrote, your reviews were just too good to waste on me alone.

As another dabbler extraordinaire, I assume you will lose interest in this new hobby, but I've been surprised at how long it has lasted with me! It's lost the urgency of any new obsession, but I can't imagine losing my interest entirely.

I'm looking foward to your reviews. And, as you probably expected, I'm adding you to my blog list!


Anonymous said...

Yay, Jamie! Welcome to the beginning of your scented downfall...er fragrance discovery. It's a slippery slope, before you know it, you'll be up to your ears in cologne samples:)
However long it lasts, have fun!!!

Abigail said...

Enjoyed your first blog entry!

Ohhh, my dear, I don't imagine that you'll tire of sniffing. The addiction sounds like it's setting in. This perfume-junky syndrome happens to a special few of us ;-0


The Left Coast Nose said...

Well, hello there, Jaime!! This is Rita at Left Coast Nose, on the other side of the continent from you, but, from the look of it, your neighbor in the blogosphere. While not genderqueer myself, everyone, including my husband, is around me. So it was nice to find you.

Sorry to see that this looks like a semi-abandoned project, but I'll be checking in from time to time to read your back posts.

All the best from rainbow San Francisco-- Rita

jmcleod76 said...

Hi Rita,

Thanks for finding me! Yes, I suppose I have pretty much abandoned Smells Like Boi. Like too many things in life, that wasn't a conscious decision, but there you have it ... no posts in more than nine months = abandonment.

Part of the problem was that I realized I am a winter sniffer. When summer arrived, I found I could only bear to smell the lightest, most unchallenging scents. I alternated between wearing nothing but d'Orange Verte and Caldey Island Lavender for months. Any deviation from that routine usually resulted in a headache. Once it grew cooler again (understatement of the week! This is Maine, after all), I did dig out some of the samples friends had sent me. By then, though, I was out of the blogging habit.

These days, I have an even bigger block to my olfactory pursuits. Just last month, my employer unveiled a new "fragrance-free workplace policy." It seems they'd received numerous complaints from workers who were annoyed by others' perfumes and colognes. I doubt I was an offender. I tend to wear only enough to be detectable by those within my "personal space." The policy is rather broad. In addition to banning perfume, it dictates that there should be "no detectable fragrance" on our persons from soaps, lotions, etc. I've only ever encountered such a strict rule before, except when visiting a Zen monastery, where all forms of sensory input are deliberately kept to a minimum. I'm afraid this seems to be the way the world is going.

None of this, though, is reason enough not to blog. Hell, I have reviews that are 3/4 of the way written, or more, that I've never bothered to post, and dozens of samples I haven't uncapped in months. Perhaps I'll come back to this blog sometime soon.

Either way, as the headline says, "Welcome!"

The Left Coast Nose said...

Oh, I feel you, Jamie, about the whole "scent-free-zone" thing, living as I do here in the Bay Area.

Not to push my own material on your site, but one of my favorite postings I ever did was on the intersections of personal "space" and political correctness-- check it out when you have a spare minute.