As long as we’re on the subject of fragrance ads…OK, as long as I’m on the subject of fragrance ads…I think the latest compaign for Ralph Lauren’s Romance is an interesting example of women’s and men’s differing ideas of what “romance” really is.

Ralph Lauren Romance for Women

The advertisement for Romance for Women is a gorgeous black-and-white photograph of two beautiful people caught in a moment of quiet intimacy:

They stood facing each other. Neither spoke. He reached up with his strong, capable hands and slid her crisp, white blouse off her shoulders and down her arms, binding her wrists delicately behind her. His fingertips traced their way back up her arms. He took her gently by the shoulders and pressed his forehead to hers. She looked down, her eyes gazing first at his chest, then down past his rippling stomach, to where his tanned, supple skin constrasted against the white of his jeans. She closed her eyes, afraid that the moment might vanish, but the warmth of his breath on her soft eyelids told her that this moment — this man — was indeed real.

Her haltered top restrained her heaving bosom but it could barely contain her beating heart. She leaned into him, arching her back slightly to maintain contact. He reached up and lifted her chin. She almost couldn’t bear to look at his face for fear losing herself forever in his deep brown eyes. He slid his hand onto the back of her neck and pulled her softly, gently, toward him…pausing just as their lips were about to touch.

“I will love you forever,” he whispered as the rest of her world melted away.

…or something along those lines. <pause> Whew! <dab forehead> Is it hot in here? Pardon me, I’m feeling a little light-headed. <clear throat> Anyway…

Contrast that with the ad for Romance for Men.

Ralph Lauren Romance for Men

It, too, is in black-and-white, but the tones are much darker. And this is an action shot: the picture is slightly blurred, hair is flying, and the guy has spun around to reveal a chain tatoo on his bulging bicep. As for the woman, you can’t even tell what she looks like anymore, but that’s OK because this ad is all about the guy. Yes, this is a man who is in command of himself and the situation:

He grabbed her roughly and spun her around, pulling her toward him and thrusting his tongue into her mouth.

Now that’s romance. At least men think so…or at least Ralph Lauren thinks that men think so.

I’m not sure what it says about me as a man but, while I think the ad for Romance for Men is perfectly O.K., the Romance for Women advertisement is absolutely amazing.