Is Wearing Cologne on a First Date OK?

men's cologne bottle

When you aren’t sure if it’s OK to wear cologne.


Hi, Jack,

This may sound like a silly question but here it goes. I am wondering if it is OK to wear cologne on a first date? There’s a lot of advice on the web. What’s the scoop?

-Just wondering


Hi, JW,

You have asked something that a lot of guys are curious about but aren’t sure who to ask. This makes sense because it’s not like we go around talking to our buds about these kinds of things.

The simple answer to your question is: YES, but with a major caveat. Be mindful of who you are with, where the date will take place and what kind of message you want to send.

I can imagine that you, wanting to make a good impression, are hoping to put your best foot forward and come off as attractive as possible. There’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, all of us should aim for this goal.

But getting her interested in you should be a multi-prong approach that includes confidence as a big part of the dynamic. If wearing cologne helps to bolster that confidence, it’s completely OK.

However, before you go splashing on your favorite scent, it’s important to think about where this first date will take place. Let me give you some examples.

Let’s say that the two of you decide to meet somewhere informal, like at a coffeehouse. Will wearing a men’s fragrance really be a smart idea? The answer is probably not.

Picture it – you are at a specialty café. The aroma of freshly ground beans fills the air. Some smell rich. Others, subtle. And even a few more, bold.

Do you want your cologne interfering with that experience, particularly since it could be an excellent topic for conversation?

Let’s look at another scenario. Assume your first date is to take place over a meal – like at a restaurant. Is it OK to wear cologne in this kind of situation?

Well, depending on the establishment and food being served, yes, it is probably OK. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to wear something that is overpowering because it might interfere with the aroma of the food – particularly when sitting in close proximity.

But if it is something subtle, like an aftershave, you are going to be just fine.

A final “first date” scenario I’ll give you is the outdoors. Examples include meeting at a public park, a street fair or a festival. Is it cool to wear cologne in situations like these?

The quick answer is – yep, it sure is. Just make sure you don’t overdo it and spray too much on. Speaking only for myself, I am a big fan of colognes that give off a woody scent, like Paco Rabanne 1-Million. Not only does a little bit go a long way, the scent itself is woody without being too bold.

As a side note, give some thought to the type of message you want to send. While there is no hard and fast rule to men’s fragrances, a general guideline is this:

If you want to vibe out laid back, go for a citrus scent. On the other hand, if your goal is to come off as dominant but mysterious, aim for woody.

Now all of what I am saying is predicated on who you are going on a date with. Believe it or not, there are a lot of people who don’t like the smell of fragrances and are very sensitive to certain smells.

There’s really no way of knowing for sure if she doesn’t like cologne. You may need to lean into your sense of intuition.

This is why I am suggesting that if you decide to spray something on, be extra conservative about it and don’t go overboard.

See this page on how to wear men’s colognes the right way to learn more.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this JW. What would it be like if you skipped the whole men’s fragrance thing entirely and instead, opted for a body wash that has a manly scent?

I’m mentioning this because a lot of products on the market today are designed to do just what I am talking about. That is to help you smell good but without overpowering.

I’ll include a line here to the best smelling men’s body washes so that you can look the page over for some ideas. The benefit to using this approach is simple – you’ll get to know her likes and dislikes on the first date without having to find out the hard way.

Moreover, if things do go from zero to sixty on that first encounter (it happens) then you’ll still smell good because of the body wash.

Make sense?

Well, good luck to you and here’s to having an awesome first date. Who knows, she could be “the one”.  If others want to chime in with thoughts, please do.

Think you could use some dating tips? Email the Dating Guru at

About Jack Heart 16 Articles
Jack is a wise but curious figure whose exact whereabouts and identifying details remain unknown. What we do know is that he's really, really good at matters of the heart. He’s been on more dates than you can imagine, and he’s here to help other guys step up their game.

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