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Where You Spray Perfume—And What It Says About You


Perfume was over-sharing long before the internet. You might carefully choose a personal scent that fills you with pleasure at every inhale, but it’s a shared decision. This is what I smell like, but this is also what I smell like to other people. We’re all in this together. And where you spray that perfume—a dip on the wrists like in the movies, a spritz on the breastplate before battle—is just as telling. I will take the liberty granted to me by the one and only Emily Ferber, and like Zoltar, I will spout wisdoms and predictions from behind this screen. If you spray...

Behind your ears

Someone once explained pulse points to you but all you know is you’re still alive, so it must be working. There’s never been a rule you didn’t follow, which is why you probably don’t get as big of a tax return as you deserve. Before you grab your keys and bounce out the door, you give a little spray behind the ears and then drive five above the speed limit the whole way to work. Without you, this world would be chaos. Thank you.

Between your wrists

You saw someone glamorous do this in a movie and never stopped to think—this might wash off when I wash my hands, rub off on paper I’m writing, and in what scenario will my potential mate be sniffing my wrists? Either way, seemed like a good idea at the time and habits are hard to change. Every time you sneeze or pick your nose you get a nice whiff of that pricey perfume you took a month to decide on, and that’s what makes it all worth it.

Behind the ears AND between the wrists

Oh, you’re good. Above and beyond. When the teacher said you could either write an essay or do volunteer work for extra credit, you did both and slowly realized that it didn’t even matter in the long run because college admissions are about arbitrary test scores and Daddy Money. On friends’ birthdays, though, you announce it really loudly at the restaurant because free red velvet cake is bomb.

Throat region

You’re ready to take this day by the Reese’s Puffs and CRUSH IT. If the patriarchy is keeping you down, you tweet about it and feel better. You think the guillotine is an underrated form of punishment. I mean, it doesn’t have to be a whole public square thing, but people would probably be nicer to each other if they knew it was an option.

Behind the knees (???)

You’re a scientific mind. If someone says Diet Coke is full of “toxins” you fact-check them and then celebrate with a DC on ice, maybe throw a cocktail umbrella in it. A magazine article from when people read on “paper” said that when you spray perfume behind your knees, the heat from your body makes the scent travel upwards. Well, it’s true for farts so it must be true for perfume, too. Not sure how productive this is if you’re wearing jeans, you still do it and hope for the best.

Inside your elbow for some reason

There are two types of people: those who take the “road less traveled” and those who take the nice paved road that everyone else is taking and hate poetry. But then there’s you, who sees the fork in the road, spins around three times, shouts at a squirrel, and goes back home for snacks. Not everything in life needs to make sense. Go with your gut. Spray that perfume inside your elbow and do a quick round of the chicken dance—start your day with some joy before the horrors of reality set in.


You love the way the perfume makes itself known after a sweaty commute or a particularly stressful meeting. The perfume knows. Plus, spraying it on your boobal region while dressing means a little might get on your bra, stick on the fabric, and embed in your life like a FBI bug in a Russian diplomat’s house. Like you, the breastplate spray appreciates symmetry, is centered, and focused—you’re armed and ready for the day.

Hip area, torso, general stomach area

You don’t spray here every day, but maybe on like, a special occasion when you want to do a bonus spritz and that was the first thing you saw in the mirror. Again, the scent moves up, right? Where did those little red dots on your stomach come from? Why am I suddenly craving a cinnamon roll and a walk in the park? Life is full of questions, most of which have answers but it’s hard to remember them all, so keep asking questions.


You once considered combing your hair with a fork, but spraying perfume in it won out. When you pass people in the hallway at work, they’re like, who’s that mysterious specter? What’s she into and where is she from? Then the scent passes and their mind returns to charts and bottom lines and Everlane returns. You’re an enigma. You smell nice.

“Lady Garden”

I saw that phrase in a Cosmo article about “where to spray perfume” and I wish I’d thought of that more than anything else I’ve wished I’d written, like To Kill a Mockingbird and Peanuts. I’d trade those in for coining the term “lady garden.” I guess you do this for cool sexy reasons, but while other people might hesitate for hygienic and skin reactive reasons, you go ahead because life’s too short for cotton panties. Or any panties, really.

—Alex Beggs

Photo via ITG.