He's brimming with good scents

Kevin Cowherd

March 30, 1992|By Kevin Cowherd

Let me begin by saying that I am not a man who is overly concerned with his scent, OK?

Which is not to say I'm oblivious to my scent, or that every once in a while I don't think of splashing on something with a sandalwood base instead of the same old after-shave.

It's just that I don't dwell on my scent the way I dwell on, say, the NCAA basketball tournament.

Now, if my scent were offensive in some way, I would, of course, take appropriate steps to correct the problem.

But as far as I know, people don't notice my scent. Although all that might change after this incident in the department store, when that saleswoman sprayed me with the nutmeg and mandarin fragrance.

We'll get to that in a moment. Please, don't rush me.

Some people have a flair for tastefully bringing their scent to the attention of others. I know a man who smells so good that you would take a ticket and stand in line to get a whiff of his cologne.

There is no need to embarrass the man and print his name here because . . . oh, hell. His name is Kenny Cooper and he is the coach of the Blast, Baltimore's indoor soccer team.

Let me tell you something. When Kenny Cooper walks into a room, people actually begin sniffing the air and smiling. I've seen it happen literally dozens of times.

I have even been at social functions with Cooper and watched women detach themselves from the crowd and walk up to me -- me! -- and say: "What is that divine cologne your friend is wearing?"

Now, a less secure individual would not react gracefully to such a question.

A less secure individual would get all teary-eyed and stomp off to the bar for a shot of Wild Turkey.

Or a less secure individual would stab a fork into his potato salad and snarl: "Look, I didn't dress the man, OK?!"

But I don't do that. Because I am secure in my unscentedness (if there is such a word.) So when people ask me what Kenny Cooper is wearing that smells so wonderful, I simply turn to him and ask: "Coops, what's the flavor of the day?"

(Honestly, I'm surprised his wife Irene lets him out of the house wearing whatever that cologne is that he wears. You talk about secure. Irene Cooper could write a book on the subject.)

I see we've gotten slightly off the track here, since this was not intended to meander into the personal scents of other men.

This was supposed to be about that incident in the department store, where that woman (who seemed very nice, although in a brusque, no-nonsense sort of way) was spraying fragrances in the aisles like a crop duster.

Yes, well, I'm getting to that now. Have a little patience. That's the whole problem with society today. Everybody's in a hurry.

Anyway, the whole thing began as a routine shopping trip to a well-known department store for a pair of pants.

Normally, I avoid shopping in this particular store because to get to the men's department, you must negotiate a series of aisles where strange women lunge at you with perfume atomizers and spray colognes and say things like: "This is an interesting new amber scent . . ."

Or they'll say: "Papaya and jasmine with a hint of vanilla?" and then give you a hurt look if you refuse a sample.

About the only thing you can do when confronted by these women is to sprint in the opposite direction, although some of the more aggressive ones will actually race after you. Some of them are very fast, too.

Anyway, as I eased my way toward the pants, a woman suddenly materialized at my elbow with a bottle of cologne and said: "It's a new scent. Versus. With a nutmeg and mandarin base."

Well. I don't see how you can say "no" to that combination. Nutmeg and mandarin? Even though I had already dropped into a sprinter's crouch, I agreed to let the woman spray some on the back of my wrist.

I . . . I'm not exactly sure what happened next. I remember it smelled wonderful. Clean. Fresh. Nutmegy. Mandariny. Not to put too fine a point on it, but it was about the best thing I had ever smelled in my life.

Just to be sure, though, I spent 45 minutes at the men's fragrance counter, which I had never done before. I sprayed on Aramis and Polo and New West and Sung Homme and who knows how many other colognes. After a while, the scents all sort of blended together, to the point where I got giddy and began waving a $20 bill in the air and yelling: "Drinks for everyone!"

In the end, I bought a bottle of Versus. I am wearing some even as I type these words in a crowded newsroom.

The response thus far has been less than overwhelming.

Although one woman did ask if I had recently baked a pie.

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