The idea for this article came one evening when two friends and I were discussing the challenges of dating. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy dating, but it occurred to me in that moment when I was discussing my latest dating “failure;” that actually the excitement of dating can wear off like my perfume.

“What’s she talking about?” you’re probably thinking, but please, bear with me. I promise I’m making sense. Think about it: logically, there are five obvious stages of dating that do resemble the five stages of wearing a perfume. Let me explain.

Stage one: Finding your type.

There’s always that one perfume you go back to, the perfume that leaves you wanting more, that attracts compliments, and people ask you what it is. For me, it’s Hypnotic Poison Eau Sensuelle by Dior; and I’m often told how alluring it is by the guys I date. So, finding your signature perfume really is like finding your type. We usually don’t stray from our “type.” Tall, short, employed, non-smoker, mommy’s boy; the list is endless and I bet when  you think of the last few guys you’ve dated they all have more similarities than you realized at first.

Stage two: Dating.

Imagine when you first spray your signature perfume, you see how it fits, you question its smell, how it feels, how it makes you feel. You do all of this in exactly the same way you measure up a guy when you first start dating. I’m not talking about midnight booty calls or late-night phone conversations – I’m talking about actual dates. Walks in the park, a meal at a local restaurant, drinks in a bar – you get the picture. You see if he makes you laugh, what his political views are, if he smells nice, and how strong his arms are when he holds you. So, you see, the initial dating process really is like the first few times you spray your perfume.

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Stage three: Meet the parents.

Walking into your perfume is a piece of advice I received from my grandmother on the night of my prom. I was wearing an expensive ball gown and she advised me to spray the perfume, and then walk into it, so I didn’t ruin or stain the dress. When you walk into it, she said, you can see where it lays and the ‘good parts’ penetrate your skin leaving you smelling divine and your dress still intact. This reminds me of stage three of dating, meeting the significant people in your partner’s life.

Personally, I’ve only met the parents of one guy I have dated but I’ve met the majority of their friends at some point. It can be a daunting experience that leaves you anxious and self-conscious, and sometimes you’re not sure what to expect. However, you smile, walk into it with an open heart and mind, and hope it doesn’t go bad or ruin your dress.

Stage four: Settling.

Once the perfume has settled on your skin, and your clothing, you really know how it works and it if can be your scent of choice. Does it compliment your shower crème and your moisturiser? Does it stick and irritate your skin? Or does it merely feel right and attract compliments from many? This stage of wearing a perfume that becomes like an old friend is exactly like the fourth stage of dating. After the honeymoon period of dating is over – for me that’s after a month or two – you truly know if it’s going to work. If they’re starting to annoy you over the little things so early on, or start controlling any aspect of your life, they might not be the right one for you.

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Stage five: The break-up.

Now, if the previous four stages went well, you’ll probably find you’ll be wearing your signature perfume for the rest of your days. Or, if you’re like me, once a month when I actually decide to be sociable and a student and go to a local club for a few hours. Unfortunately, if the perfume is too strong, or too sticky, or it doesn’t smell right, it may be time to call it quits and continue your search for one that really works for you.

Sometimes perfumes wear off, and leave us feeling vulnerable and incomplete. We all deserve a perfume that a loved one could smell and instantly be transported back to a memory they shared with you. Like searching for a new perfume, breaking up with the person you’re dating and continuing your search can be challenging, time consuming, expensive and daunting, but in reality, it might just be the best thing for you.

What’s your signature perfume, and what’s your favourite stage of wearing it?