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Kent Bernhardt: The scent of a man

It’s probably a little late in my life’s journey to be asking this question – but ladies, which men’s cologne smells the best to you?

I’ve struggled with this burning issue for many years now. I’ve purchased numerous splash-ons, sprays, and gels promising I’ll smell better than anyone in the room. All have had mixed results.

My dad was an Old Spice guy for as long as I can remember. I loved the smell of Old Spice, and used it myself for many years until someone convinced me Old Spice wasn’t cool and it made you smell like your dad.

Smelling like your dad was a big no-no when I was growing up. There was only one greater sin, and that was smelling like your grandfather.

I knew I didn’t smell like my grandfather. He was an Aqua-Velva guy. I don’t think I ever owned a bottle of Aqua-Velva.

In my youth, I flirted briefly with the trendy colognes of the 70’s. One particular choice comes to mind.

It was called Hai Karate, and though I don’t remember how it smelled, the TV commercials made it hard to resist. An ordinary looking guy splashed some on his face and he was immediately attacked by an army of beautiful women who had to have him – NOW.

That scenario was every teenage boy’s dream, and I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why he felt the need to fight them off. But there he was, hacking and chopping at those lovely ladies like they were garden weeds. In fact, each bottle came with a pamphlet containing basic self-defense moves.

Hai Karate didn’t stand the test of time, but Old Spice is still around. I think Aqua-Velva might be too, though I’m sure sales have slumped.

Lots of people have given me cologne as a birthday or Christmas present through the years. I always wondered if they just wanted me to have a nice bottle of their favorite after shave, or if they were trying to tell me I stink.

The selection of cologne and deodorant is such a personal choice, and it’s hard to match the person with the right scent. I could probably splash on the same after shave George Clooney uses, and on me it would smell like paint thinner.

As for deodorant, I’ve tried everything from spray-on Right Guard, (someone mentioned I might need some Left Guard too) to a wonderful roll-on I found very appealing until I discovered to my horror it was a women’s deodorant. I’m currently using a rugged, manly variety of Old Spice that gets me through most of the day.

Speaking of getting through the day, I always hate the moment you realize your deodorant has stopped working. Every movement of your arms accelerates the problem, and you feel like you need a little alarm under your shirt to warn people away.

I should also mention there are people who can’t tolerate the smell of cologne at all. At church one Sunday, I tried out a new bottle I received for Christmas that year. Sadly, I was responsible for a new choir rule; no colognes or perfumes in the choir loft.

It seems I caused someone’s sinuses to completely revolt, and they sneezed all the way through the anthem. Unless you can sneeze rhythmically and on key, that’s never a plus.

Still, I like to smell nice, and I’m looking for that magical cologne that will leave others whispering as I exit, “Hey, that guy was wearing two different shoes, but didn’t he smell nice!”

So ladies, I’ll leave it up to you. Which cologne do you recommend? What do you buy for your man when you want him to smell better than the gym socks he just threw into the laundry hamper?

I await your feedback. And everyone, with the exception of that lady in my choir, will thank you.

Kent Bernhardt lives in Salisbury.

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