City Style: Fashion Masochist: Pheromones

By Rachel Baker | Boston Magazine |

Think love potions are hocus-pocus? Rachel Baker dares to douse herself in a new breed of fragrance.


The technology: Next-generation per-fumes, including the new Molecule 01, promise to make the wearer irresistible by mimicking the effects of pheromones, those chemicals our bodies produce to draw us to one another. Sultry celebs like Kate Moss and Dita von Teese are fans.

The experience: My first thought: I’m nervous. Will I be bombarded by hordes of young single guys, all with Leonardo DiCaprio–like looks and David Letterman–style wit? I wait until lunchtime, when the office is near empty, then muster up the courage to spritz. When a coworker returns from her midday meal, she’s struck—and not by love. “What is that?” she exclaims, then accuses me of spraying perfume on her desk chair. Later, a male coworker is taken with the scent of Molecule 01—on himself. After learning the fragrance is unisex, he comes sniffing around my desk, repeatedly. The guy’s got a history of overdoing cologne, sure, but I begin to wonder if—like too much Drakkar Noir—this brew can prove addictive to the wearer and not necessarily anyone else.

As I carry on with my everyday routine, I watch for signs that I’m lustily intoxicating all who cross my path. A week in: nothing. If anything, people seem less friendly. The Whole Foods cashier who regularly compliments me in French as I buy my tofu lunch utters not a single “très jolie.” While shopping, I find the service is no better, and possibly worse. On Friday night, I’m shoulder to shoulder with sweaty indie boys at the Paradise. I’ve had great luck here before. This time: nothing.

Back home, however, I finally get some extra attention. Well built, blond, and handsome, Teddie lives in my building—and he’s all over me. Alas, Teddie is a golden retriever.

When I lay off the pheromones and return to my standby scent, Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue, the results are immediate. I get a discount on my laundry; the guy even hauls the load to my car. In line at Taco Bell, an extremely cute boy winks.

The verdict: Maybe finding the right pheromones, like finding a signature perfume, requires trial and error. In the meantime, unless I decide to get a job as a dog whisperer, I’m going to stick with my tried-and-true D&G—and let the cologne-hound a few cubes over take the Molecule 01 all for himself.


Molecule 01 and Escentric 01, $140 each, Stil, 170 Newbury St., Boston, 617-859-7845, and The Mall at Chestnut Hill, 617-527-7845, stilinc.com; N. V. Perricone M.D. Neuropeptide Synergy Pheromone, $250 for set of two, Sephora, Prudential Center, Boston, 617-262-4200, and The Mall at Chestnut Hill, 617-964-0800, sephora.com.