I Am Woman, Smell Me Roar: What Happens When You Wear Christina Aguilera’s New Perfume For Three Days
“You smell like the Nittany Mall at Christmas.”
That’s what my boyfriend said after he hugged me the other day while I was wearing the new Christina Aguilera perfume, “Woman.” It’s described as “a sensual combination of golden amber and white flowers — radiating femininity the way a woman does.” It also apparently radiates Central Pennsylvania holiday shopping excursions.
This isn’t Aguilera’s first fragrance. She has six others, each of which has its own persona. There’s the starter house of Aguilera fragrances, the eponymously named “Christina Aguilera.” Then there’s the “flirty” By Night, the “luxurious” Royal Desire, the “empowering” Secret Potion, the “seductive” Red Sin, and the “timeless” Unforgettable. Now comes Woman, and its adjective is—most definitely—”feminine.”
“Every year that passes by I realize more and more what being a woman means to me,” Aguilera says in a press release. This makes mathematical sense because, well, the longer you’re stuck with a vagina, the more keenly you understand the implications of having one.
From my fortysomething point of view, this understanding now includes epiphanies like, Being told to smile by men you don’t know year after year actually decreases the likelihood that you’ll ever smile in public, and Holy shit, that’s why Mom has so many pairs of tweezers.
At any rate, Aguilera is still young and she’s got seven fragrances to my zero, so she knows plenty (her next one should be called “Money”). This latest fragrance has ingredients that “represent the qualities she sees in herself”—qualities, we are told, that are inherently feminine.
So what is a woman, in Aguilera’s opinion? Taking the information from the press release, I have come up with the answer that she should turn into a new song. If she does I will go on The Voice and sing it:
- A woman is a juicy pineapple.
- A woman is a golden pear.
- A woman is a vivid pink pepper berry.
- A woman is the bright, fruity scent of self-confidence.
- A woman is a gentle white magnolia.
- A woman is fresh and lush inner femininity.
- A woman is soft velvety petals caressing the skin.
- A woman is the life source.
- A woman is the representation of beauty, fertility, perserverance and perfection.
- A woman is a golden amber tool of seduction.
- A woman is long-lasting musk.
- A woman is curvaceous glamour.
- A woman is first-class luxury.
- A woman is a warm, radiant center.
“Okay, yeah, whatevs,” you’re saying–“but how does Woman smell?”
I put it to a test by spraying it all over my body with the kind of abandon I reserve for rainforest shower heads at a spa. I did that for three days along with all the normal things I usually do—took the train, went to work and bothered people, kissed my tiny dog’s head 50 times in a row because I couldn’t get over how cute she was. Et cetera. Nothing new.
Did I feel more womanly? Or at least more soigné? I did not, but that doesn’t mean anything. It takes a lot for me to feel womanly and soigné. Not only that, but I don’t have a very discriminating nose when it comes to fragrances. I took home an Hermès Eau De Parfum that everyone in my office declared repulsive because, hey, it was in a bottle and smelled okay and was Hermès. I’m not one of those people who says things like, “I prefer notes of caramel and butter-smoked clouds.” I prefer Dry Idea.
So as to elicit feedback rather than silent, judgmental nose-wrinkles, I told people I was testing a fragrance and asked for opinions. The following list of reactions were proffered separately.
Male, 30s: “No one will doubt that this is a woman wearing this.”
Female, 50s: “Masculine.”
Female, 30s: “It smells like a high school girl.”
Male, 40s: “One word comes to mind: ‘Mommy.’
Female, 20s: “It’s powdery.”
Male, 40s: “Not too powdery.”
Male, 40s: “Talcum powder?”
Female, 20s: “It’s mature.”
Female, 20s: “Girly.”
Female, 20s: “Not too floral.”
Female, 20s: “Very floral.”
Female, 20s: “Fresh and sophisticated.”
In the damning with faint praise department, there was:
Male, 30s: “It doesn’t smell bad or cheap.”
Female, 30s: “It’s not old lady or overpowering.”
Two fortysomething men proclaimed to smell citrus where there was none.
Other adjectives applied were “fresh and clean,” “not overwhelming,” “oaky,” “not too froof-y,” “overly sweet,” “gentle” and “not annoyingly overwhelming.” One of my colleagues told me he didn’t feel it was my usual scent.
But the best reaction by far was my boyfriend’s, whose invocation of the Nittany Mall was just about perfect—but not quite. See, “Woman” will be offered exclusively at Kohl’s, which doesn’t have a store at the Nittany Mall, but which is scattered in great profusion throughout the Delaware Valley (and online, of course). “Woman” will be officially released on January 1, 2015, for $37-$44.