Yes, Chanel No. 5 May Attract Men … With Oedipal Complexes

Scent is certainly a powerful element in generating attraction from the opposite sex, but when a new study came out this week pointing to Chanel No. 5 as the perfume most likely to seduce a man, we were doubtful. The idea that you could bag a guy with a specific perfume seems far-fetched as it is, and the claim that one in 10 women met the men of their dreams while wearing No. 5 seems even further from the truth. Have you smelled the stuff? It’s one pungent aroma that came into style in the ’20s and smells like it’s been in the same bottle since then.

Yet, an article in the French version of Marie Claire (December 2009) provides evidence that potentially supports this argument. Chanel No. 5 may attract men, but they might not be your dream guys.In one of your typical ladymag pieces, Marie Claire questioned a group of four handsome male actors, singers, and chefs about women and perfume. At the end was a blind sniff test where each celeb gave his opinion. One of the mystery perfumes was, ta-da: Chanel No. 5. Two out of the four men replied with similar reactions—the scent reminded them of their mothers or grandmothers.

Julien Boisselier, a French actor, said (my translation), “It’s a maternal odor. Even if I’m almost 40, it puts me in touch with what I was feeling when I was five years old. The flash back is more powerful than if it were visual. These memories are tender and magical.”

Jonathan Zaccai, an actor and director, recognized the scent immediately: “My grandmother had a lot of style and wore No. 5. This version [of the perfume] is like similar, but more modern and its traditional nature pleases me. I like that a young woman would choose this, and especially if she wears it with jeans and a t-shirt. I love the gap between modern and mystery, it’s very Chanel. I’m pretty nostalgic, I like smells I know. This one’s my favorite.”

There’s a strong connection for both men with Chanel No. 5, but Zaccai’s testimony is especially striking because it blatantly screams Oedipal Complex, as he makes the seamless transition from his grandma to the idea of a sexy woman he’d like to see.

A bit weird, non?