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McCoy: Disco man feels a little scent-imental
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We find powerful scents all around us, don’t we? Go to the mall, and you can almost see the pink clouds rising from the perfume counter. Visit the grocery store, and you’ll be bombarded with scented detergents and shampoos and soaps. Sit in any meeting, and you’ll whiff dozens of perfumes and aftershaves, if you’re lucky. Toilet water, colognes, deodorants, detergents — it’s a treasure trove for the nose, everywhere we go. 

Back in my teen years, I discovered English Leather cologne and aftershave. I had the regular kind, and the lime one, and one called Timberline. I wore those scents everywhere, especially Timberline.

If you’d known me back in the day, you’d have been able to find me — say at the disco — just by using your nose. “OK, I smell Timberline! Yep! There’s David!”

All the guys drenched themselves with cologne back then. Whether it was Brut, or Hai Karate, or Canoe, or British Sterling, we men went for the big smell. 

By the way, if you smelled Old Spice in the ‘70s, you were smelling someone’s dad, and you weren’t at the disco. You were probably at the auto parts store.

As I grew up, my cologne habit grew, too, even though my spare cash didn’t. I splurged for Polo in 1981 only because they were giving way luggage with the purchase. I needed luggage.  And then in 1982, I made friends with a girl who worked the cosmetics counter at South DeKalb Mall, and she gave me free samples of everything masculine and smelly.

Those tiny samples taught me to conserve my colognes; gone were the days of splashing on inexpensive Timberline. The new rule was “get the best, but make it last.” And now, even though I’m no longer a poor college kid, I still love free cologne samples. 

You know something? Writing this column has made me rather sentimental. All my Timberline dried up with disco, but it was my original cologne, my first smelly love. I should buy another bottle. I could pour it on, just like I did in 1978. And I could boogie down, just like I did at the disco in ‘78. Wouldn’t that be a sight?

Yes. It would be a horrible sight! I’ll just have to do my dancing down at the auto part store. I might even teach those Old Spice guys a few moves!


David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Covington. He can be reached at