Why a girl uses perfume can pose a mystery to you. Perfume doesn’t make her any prettier, nicer or smarter, so why does she bother with the stuff? It can be surprising when your favorite female pal shows up at your house to play video games smelling like cupcakes or fruit punch or a bunch of flowers. Come to think of it, your mom probably wears the perfume given to her by your dad, or maybe a sweetly scented lotion her best friend bought her for her birthday. So it seems that there’s some connection between being a grown-up and wearing perfume. Hmm … now you’re on the right track.

Perfume’s History

Here’s a secret about perfume that you may not know: Girls have been wearing it since the time of ancient Egypt. The perfume girls wore all of those centuries ago probably smells nothing like the fragrance your mom buys at the department store. Egyptian girls put on fragrant oils made of myrrh, frankincense, rose and peppermint. They used these in religious ceremonies, but older girls also put on perfume oils before they held hands with a boy they liked so their skin would feel soft to the touch.

What Makes Her Wear Perfume?

There are many reasons that a girl first starts to put on perfume. If her friends wear perfume, she probably will, too, so she feels like she fits in with the rest of the crowd. Sometimes she might have a favorite movie star or pop singer who creates a perfume, such as Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears, Hilary Duff, or Gwen Stefani. Many girls want to be like the stars they idolize, so a girl might wear a perfume made by someone famous–even if she doesn’t really like it.

Perfume Has Personality

Some girls don’t care what Britney and Jessica are wearing and are very decided when it comes to the types of smells they like. When a girl selects one type of perfume over all of the others, she wants to tell you something about her personality you might not know. If she’s always happy, she might wear a perfume that smells like spring flowers of hyacinth, lily-of-the-valley or freesia. If she’s active and spontaneous, she may smell like a combination flowers and fruit, especially pineapple, raspberries and peaches. If she’s very mature for her age, she may wear a perfume that smells powdery. A girl who is outgoing but whose mood you can always predict may wear a perfume called a “chypre,” which smells green, leafy and fresh.

Perfume & Memory

Scientists have discovered that the sense of smell is directly tied to memory, especially if it’s the memory of someone a person loves. If a married woman whose husband has died is shown a picture of him, it won’t cause her to remember him as intensely as if she smelled a shirt he wore. A certain smell can make people laugh, rejoice, feel nostalgic and even cause them to cry if the scent is tied to a very powerful memory, such as losing a person they loved. The same is true for perfume.

“Remember Me”

When a girl wears perfume around you, she wants you to remember her fondly. If her perfume smells of a certain flower, such as a gardenia or jasmine, she wants you to think of her whenever you go out into the world and smell those particular flowers. Consider it a compliment if a girl wears a perfume in your presence, especially if it’s a girl you are fond of. For her next birthday, you might even want to give her a perfume that you think smells good. If she’s fond of you, too, she’ll wear it–even if she doesn’t really like it.