A Love Letter to a Big Stinker:
other day while on my lunch break downtown, I got caught behind a man
wearing a cloud of fragrance that sent me screaming back to the eighth
grade. This man had apparently just bathed in a bathtub of Polo cologne,
and I was hopelessly left in his wake.
At first I coughed - and then I smiled, altering my route to follow him an
extra block – no joke.
Polo cologne, hitting the scent scene in 1978, was a young man’s 80s
staple. Drakkar Noir and Cool Water trailed far behind Polo - the
official king of pre-teen-boy-stink. The smell of Friday nights, school
dances, and first kisses in the back of movie theaters.
Every boy in junior high was wearing the stuff in the fancy green bottle –
the poor school bus driver, the bus just reeked of the heavy, woodsy
smell. My gaggle of girlfriends and I loved it and drank in the smell on
the Member’s Only jacket’s lent
to us by various fourteen-year-old-crushes.
Ricky – he wore Polo – and had a moustache.
The Ralph Lauren website describes Polo as follows:
“Celebrating the timeless appeal of the sporting lifestyle, Ralph
Lauren's legendary Polo fragrance blends the very best of wood, leather
and other natural scents to convey a handsome, enduring character.”
I don’t think many boys at my junior high school celebrated “the sporting
lifestyle” – I think mostly they celebrated their Camaros, Foreigner and
eating as many rolls as they possibly could at school lunch.
Marc – he wore Polo and dressed like a businessman.
And here’s the thing – the cologne wasn’t/isn’t bad – it’s just SO
FRIGGIN’ STRONG – combine that with the fact that these were young boys
who didn’t know that less is more. You can compare it to when us girls
could clear a room with our stinky Obsession
or Poison perfumes – again – less is more. Much less, in fact.
The sight of that hunter green bottle with the little gold man on a horse
at the men’s fragrance department makes me all nostalgic - I’ll sneak a
whiff and breathe in 1985 for a minute or two. Then I cough and wonder
who’s buying this stuff today? I mean, besides that guy who sent my
scent-memory into overdrive the other day? Perhaps this guy? My freshman
year homecoming date?
Anthony – he wore Polo and had a curly perm. And a moustache.
Yep, probably this guy.
Lori Ferraro is the author of
the website Drawn to
the 80s where the greatest hits of the 1980’s are illustrated by her
five-year-old son. Her blog
www.onceuponaproduct.com is where you can read about her obsessions
with make up, food, Mick Jagger, big hair, boys and yes...the 80's.