My new favorite thing to do is to come home, tear off my shoes and all my clothes, change into a bathrobe, and then light up my favorite neck-scented candle. What? If you think about it, it’s not any less arbitrary or weird than a candle scented like a peppery winter squash or a basket of no-longer soiled clothes. Depending on my mood, I either like to ignite Soohyang’s Girl’s Neck or Boy’s Neck.
Necks actually aren’t that strange as a fragrance reference, if you think about it. They’re one of the most scented areas of the body. All the search articles about “How to Spray Perfume” tell you to spray your neck (there’s a good reason for this: it’s a pulse point that emits more heat than the rest of your body, effectively transmitting scent).
Necks are associated with desire and life force, and not just if you’re a vampire. Necking was the old-fashioned term for making out. Back in the old days, a geisha’s neck was often painted with designs that toyed with the idea of concealment and restrained sexual appetite. If you can smell someone’s neck, you’ve been let into their personal space. Maybe you’re in the crook of their neck because you’re resting your head on their shoulder on a long commute. Maybe you know exactly what their neck smells like when they first wake up because you’ve been sleeping alongside them for a decade. Maybe you’re giving them a long good-bye hug because they’re moving to L.A. As close as you might stand to a stranger on a packed subway, you’re never in their neck space.
Soohyang Kim thought a lot about necks when she was creating these candles for her eponymous home fragrance brand, which is a best-seller in Korea. Both Girls’ Neck and Boys’ Neck smell like teen spirit, Sofia Coppola movies, and nostalgia. (They’re purposely not named Woman’s Neck and Man’s Neck). Girls’ Neck smells like powdered sugar, soft florals, and everything nice. It smells like girls hastily spraying Love’s Baby Soft after changing out of their gym clothes, and the wind gently lifting the hair away from their faces. Boys’ Neck is a bit of a greener, earthier fragrance. It smells like the dirty cleats of a crush you had in Junior High and the memory of seeing him come off the field with the ends of his hair a little damp with sweat. You may not always be in the mood to fire up some wax of teenage angst, but it’s there if you want it.
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