Men in America don’t have the first idea about scents. That’s what Steve Demercado, vice president of perfumery for Fragrance Resources, told us. “Advertisers don’t market scents,” he explains. “They target your lifestyle.” Further, it’s rare for American men to wear a scent that wasn’t given to them. In Europe, men don’t necessarily wear cologne to attract a girl. It’s simply an element of their wardrobe, a part of who they are. We also spoke with Ron Slomowicz, who runs notablescents.net, and Susan Sexton, owner of Atlanta’s BLEND Custom Parfum. Here’s what they told us about what to wear when.

The Situation: Business Meeting
What You Need:
Lavender
Why It’s Perfect:
You might think lavender is a little fruity for a business meeting. Think again. It conjures up the barbershop, a place of great power and camaraderie. Make sure to choose a scent that doesn’t project too much. Something casual with notes of musk and wood will help, and the scent of mint added into the mix will help keep you alert.

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You don’t want to smell like a burger. You want to smell closer to sweet things such as honey, cocoa, citrus. This makes your date want to get closer.

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The Situation: Hot Date
What You Need:
Anything that makes you smell like sweet food, wood or leather
Why It’s Perfect:
You don’t want to smell like a burger. You want to smell closer to sweet things such as honey, cocoa, citrus. This makes your date want to get closer. Throwing in the muskier, woodier scents puts a manly veneer on top of a more traditionally ladylike smell. Scents in the Oriental family are best, including patchouli, amber, lots of different woods, incense, spice and vanilla.

The Situation: Playing Sports
What You Need:
Anything citrus
Why It’s Perfect:
When you smell like citrus, you smell clean, refreshed and uplifted. “In a sense, what you want for sports is the opposite of what you want for sex,” says Demercado. Slomowicz cautions against reaching for the fresh aquatic scents men usually go for in these situations. “Be a little different,” he suggests.

The Situation: Out at the Bar
What You Need:
Your personal favorite.
Why It’s Perfect:
“Rule out anything conservative or sporty,” says Demercado. What you want during a night on the town is to leave an impression. How do you do that? Slomowicz stresses the need for something strong that cuts through smoke, sweat and booze to help you stand out from the crowd. Specifically, he recommends anything with agarwood tree resin.

The Situation: Traveling
What You Need:
A mellow citrus.
Why It’s Perfect:
It’s a pleasant, non-intrusive odor that basically anyone can agree on. “Keep your fragrance toned down, more personal and not interfering with other people’s space,” advises Demercado. Bottom line? You don’t want to be smelling all Pauly D when you’re on an airplane… unless your goal is to get thrown off mid-flight.