Was it the cologne,
Or perhaps a cocktail of pheromones?
The gardenia, sandalwood and patchouli,
Flirted with my hormones.
My essence, did he fragrance.
A languid love threat, am I to fantasize.
For a majority of our modern existence, Seduction was a victim of our civilized evolution. It was sexualized, penalized and deemed as a Dishonest's attempt to a successful life.
The Art of Seduction were about building up, optimizing and harnessing the energy of the mind, body and the soul to generate the Ultimate Power: the Kundalini energy.
The Kamasutra lists out 64 Arts of Seduction, deemed as a necessity for all members of the society. People, were not only expected to harbor the required knowledge of the 64 arts, but were also advised to understand the nuances, the expertise and the finesse with which they were being seduced.
One such Art of Seduction was entitled the Perfuming of the Body. Centuries of human civilization has looked at perfuming as an existential necessity. From temples to the kitchen to boudoirs, scents engulfed their daily rituals.
In ancient Egypt, Perfume was considered the sweat of God - to have arisen from Ra's perspiration itself. However, as Ra wasn't so easy on the eyes, ancient Egyptians turned to Nefertem, the God of Sunlight. Mythological texts do reference Nefertem as emerging from the Egyptian Blue Lotus Flower.
Inoculated into a daily lifestyle, Egyptians were very fond of scents such as Henna, Lotus, Water lilies, Roses and Cinnamon, soaked in carrier oils. In fact, in the 16th-11th century BCE, at the New Kingdom Egypt, there was quite a fashionable trend, set in motion: the perfumed hats.
Confirmed in 2019 by archaeologist, Anna Stevens, Egyptians preferred wearing perfumed hats while drinking wine. Some even wore perfumed cones made from beeswax and oil scents.
While the Egyptians were gallivanting about with cones atop their heads, ancient Greeks and Romans, were infusing Frankincense in olive oil. In fact, at the height of the Roman Empire, 3000 tons of Frankincense per year was recorded to have been infused for baths and beauty rituals.
Across the globe, in China, perfumed pouches reigned over dynasties. Referred to as the Xiangnang, Xiangbao and Hebao by the Tang, Zhou and the Shang dynasties, these perfumed pouches were sachets made of silk, adorned with silver or gold beads, were treated as a luxury commodity.
In a land far, far away, Avicenna, a Persian Philosopher (an avid perfumer on the side), was believed to have invented the alcohol distillation process, leading to the birth of liquid perfumes.
In medieval England, members of the upper class, would carry around Pomanders, small scented balls at the end of a chain, filled with herbs, spices and ambergris (intestinal wax from a whale's belly). It was believed that perfumes even kept the Black Death at Bay.
As ambergris was pretty darn expensive, so perfumes were later concocted from secretions of deer (known as Musk today), beavers and cats. There even existed a popular scent formulated from cats' anal gland liquid secretions.
Medieval Italians discovered alcohol perfumes. The first liquid perfume, Queen of Hungary Water consisted of Alcohol, Mint and Rosemary.
Eventually, the Aqua Mirabilis was born: the inspiration behind Eau de Cologne.
The French in the meantime, were introducing perfumed gloves as status symbols to the court upon the orders of Catherine de Medici: its nose, Rene le Florentin.
While applying a modest dab of perfume is an inexcusable part of hygiene routines today, the medieval French were a bit addicted to perfumes. Infamous was their consumption that Professor Parvez Harris of the De Montfort University of Leicester even commented upon Napolean's consumption of 162 bottles of Rosemary scented Eau de Cologne in a 3 month period.
Perfuming was a skilled craft in India, where seduction wasn't just an event, it was a mood, a feeling, a desire, brought upon by the ocean of intoxicating scents, a body was made to absorb.
Perfuming rituals were far too complicated and was graced with the ideology that one's lingering scent had to be embedded in a lover's consciousness.
Flirtation began with scented hair: khus, the fragrance of sunbaked earth and fresh rain, was allowed to seep into partially wet hair prior to it being rolled into a bun. The saturated scalp was then let loose in the evening, rendering the individual as a walking cloud of erotic promise.
To conjure the imagery of innocence and invitation, the neck was perfumed with jasmine or tuberose.
The breast or chest was massaged with an oil made of saffron or cloves. The bellybutton, with a heavy musk, so as to draw a lover down to it. The curve of the waist, with Akund (Crown Flower). Now, as Crown flower is toxic, I generally substitute this step with either Sweet Orange or Grapefruit or even Rose.
The treasure hunt however, begins when a lover is expected to follow a trail of Sandalwood dotted upon a person's back.
A perfumed breath fragranced with betel leaves, mango shoots, camphor, cloves, etc was also recommended. Additionally, the Kamasutra, recommends cigarettes to be smoked prior to sexual endeavors. Cigarettes were rolled with fresh sandalwood, khus and oysters to fragrantly smoke the room of festivities.
Seduction by employing perfuming rituals is an arousal in a bottle. I encourage you to embrace this amorous dalliance and flirt by creating perfumed trails up and down your body.