What's that smell?

Scented candles for men will bring the fragrance of urinal cakes into your home at last.

Published August 29, 2008 7:58PM (EDT)

Are you a guy who loves the idea of scented candles but not the oh-so-girly scents? (No? Shh, play along.) A company called Hotwicks is now offering a solution to your burning (ha!) dilemma. "You won't find candles that smell like mountain breezes, lilac mornings or heavenly honeysuckle here," says its Web site. "Our mission is to make one of a kind candles that remind you of cool things."

The scents include campfire, grass, coffee, popcorn, pancakes and dryer sheets, all of which I'll grant are cool things. But I'm a little less convinced that the beer, football and new-car smells fall into that category (at least in terms of filling your house with them), and I'm a lot less convinced by fragrances called -- are you ready? -- "stripper" and "urinal cake."

As you can imagine, I approached finding out what these guys think a stripper smells like with some trepidation, but the description isn't quite as disturbing as I expected: "Just imagine the perfume counter at your local department store times a thousand ... then add some glitter." (It is, however, every bit as sexist as I expected: "It's a candle and an alibi all in one! You don't smell like a stripper, you just smell like a candle. " Charming.) Likewise, the urinal cake candle actually has "a cinnamony floral smell." But wait, aren't those actually just like a gazillion other candles on the market already -- you know, chick candles? Are the manliest of manly men really going to buy those fragrances just for the name? "Dude, why does your house reek like a perfume counter?" "Shut up! It's called Stripper!"

Maybe the market for scented candles as gag gifts is bigger than I realize, or maybe I just don't get it because I'm a woman. And hell, I would probably prefer dating a guy who set the mood with a cinnamony-floral "urinal cake" than the pothead I did date whose apartment was so thick with cloying incense I half-expected him to offer Mass. But still, when the description of your product begins, "We're often asked if [it] smells like pee," I'm thinking that might just be a gender-neutral failure.

(Via Buzzfeed.)

By Kate Harding

Kate Harding is the author of Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture--and What We Can Do About It, available from Da Capo Press in August 2015. Previously, she collaborated with Anna Holmes, Amanda Hess, and a cast of thousands on The Book of Jezebel, and with Marianne Kirby on Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere. You might also remember her as the founding editor of Shapely Prose (2007-2010). Kate's essays have appeared in the anthologies Madonna & Me, Yes Means Yes, Feed Me, and Airmail: Women of Letters. She holds an M.F.A. in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a B.A. in English from University of Toronto, and is currently at work on a Ph.D. in creative writing from Bath Spa University

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