Smells Like Teen Spirit?

Not yet 18, Justin Bieber is already following the scent-trailing footsteps of Elizabeth Taylor or J Lo or Beyoncé. His first fragrance ‘Someday’ was launched yesterday in the US, apparently to countless screaming girls. Was it floral oils at work, or pheromones?

The Biebs (sounds to me like ‘the plebes’ or some disease) is not new to the beauty business. Early this year, he offered ‘One Less Lonely Girl’ range of nail polish to fans of an age group that should not be considering cosmetics in the first place. It is, however, not the age, but the product category that is rather intriguing to me. Perfume, is understandable, but teen-focused nail polish is so Barbie-esque that it is really amazing that any guy mindful of his machismo (fully developed or not) would even consider it.

Justin Bieber is not the first male popstar to do a fragrance. In 2005, Sean Combs (or P Diddy to some of you) launched the indefensible ‘Unforgivable’, followed, three years later, by the egomaniacal ‘I Am King’. In 2007, Usher gave us the gender-unambiguous ‘He’ and ‘She’ and then the insipid UR, not forgetting the unimportant ‘VIP’. By so many accounts, these fragrances ended in discount bins, alongside, dare I say, “classics” such as Jōvan Musk!

At the moment, I have no way of smelling ‘Someday’, but if names can arouse olfactory curiosity, then Someday isn’t it. I mean, what kind of name is that? Visualise: a girl asks her BFF, “Do I smell nice?” and the friend exclaims, “Someday!” A fragrance can be appealing if you can’t quite figure out what it is evocative of, but if the name suggests uncertainty, where’s the pull? Imagine a champagne called Perhaps!

Once, as early as the days of Shawn Cassidy or as recent as Jonas Brothers, if songs alone were not enough, pop stars availed signed photos of themselves to fans. Concerts were the ultimate treats, of course, but these could not be had frequent or close enough. In present times, even Tweets are insufficient for followers who must cling to a star’s every word, or be connected unbroken. Now, as seen in the launch of ‘Someday’, the girls seemed to be saying to their idol, just as Gwen Stefani did with her fragrance ‘L’: “I want you all over me!”

To which I would add, constantly.


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