Men receive long overdue candle rights

When I was listening to NPR the other day, there was discussion of the recent trend of special candles made just for men. Given my disdain for the proliferation of candles in general to the point you can purchase them everywhere from office supply stores to truck stops, I had to further investigate so I could further pontificate on the topic.

Let me say I like candles, but in moderation. It was my frugality, not affection, that led me to stop by Swan Creek Candles in Jackson this week to obtain extra wicks so I could re-melt and re-wick a couple of larger candles I didn’t want to just toss.

I used to place wickless candle remnants on a candle warmer and cook the scent out of them, but stopped that practice after my kids knocked over a candle warmer and hot wax spewed on the window sill, wall, hardwood floor, magazine rack and couch. Don’t worry, I took a photo to chronicle the debacle and grueling, three-hour clean-up, which will be held indefinitely over their heads.

Inside Swan Creek, I asked if the store carried any of the new “man candles.” Following my description of lively scents such as frying bacon, fishing trip and old tires, I learned their male customers usually request clean, neutral scents to mask household odors, chiefly those associated with pets. An earthier scent, patchouli, is also popular with and familiar to men, as it’s the basis of many men’s colognes.

My Swan Creek sniff tour noted lemon grass, crisp cotton and sun-washed lemon as fresh scents favored by men. Also thrown in was the store’s most male-oriented scent, “Fireside,” of which they still had one container from last year. I wondered what kind of guy would buy or make candles from it. Scout leader? Firefighter? Chimney sweep? Arsonist?

Other trademark scents that might appeal more to men than women included Canadian Wilderness, Frosted Spruce, Tranquil Waters, Essence of Tuscany and Espresso. I wondered if you combined Fireside candle wax with Canadian Wilderness wax, you’d get a new scent called Forest Fire, but was too polite to ask.

Of course, the masculine scents contrasted dramatically with those Swan Creek sells mostly to female clientele. Florals, herbs, spices and baked goods dominated the scent scene. I understood the appeal of Hazlenut, Vanilla Pound Cake, Warm Cinnamon Buns and Gingerbread, but both the notion and smell of Sparkling Pink Lemonade, Rosemary and Cedarwood, Olive Verbena, and Citrus and Sage repelled me. Too pungent.

Recalling seduction scenes in which I may have been involved prior to the heavily scented candle era, I wondered what kind of effect Sugar Cookie scent would have had on the object of my affections. Would it have warmly reminded him of his grandmother, thereby cooling his libido? Would I have been better off touching off a Tart Cherry votive to further my motive? I’ll never know. I do know Wedding Cake scent seemed to work its magic on my now husband.

Now back to the manly scents. According to the first man candle website consulted, Candles on Testosterone, “No matter how strange it may be, every man has a favorite smell.” Stench is more like it, judging from those sold there: Amsterdam (brothel?), Auto Shop, Dirt, Gunpowder, Kegger, Skunk, Stogie and Woodshop, to name a few.

A second website,, featured Popcorn, Cut Grass, Leather, and Buttermilk Pancakes, among others. Still more offerings were found on a third website, There, I was amused to find Beef Jerky, Poker Room, Pot Roast, Par 4, Road Kill and Mary Jane (reefer). The latter cracked me up because people often use candles to hide its aroma.

Based on what the men I know favor, I’m submitting the following ideas to the man candle makers: Messy Car, Forgotten Sandwich Keeper, Open Wound, Bean Backlash, Smelly Socks, Unmade Bed, Recycled Underwear, Burnt Toast, Major Deodorant Failure, Expired Dairy, Favorite Weekend Shirt, Dorito Breath, Full Catbox, Musty Wallet, Party Hearty Upchuck, and Gym Bag Towel. Please share your scent ideas so I can forward them, too.

In the interim, join me in lighting a single candle to illuminate men’s newfound rights in the scented candle arena.


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