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Portland, OR

I exist to help dads learn to communicate and engage with their young adult daughters.  I provide resources from my vast amounts of research and experience with dads and daughters, and this is the place where you'll find the tools you need to become the hero you've always wanted to be.


Scents and Sensibility: How a Dad Can Make a Forever Investment in His Daughters Life

Michelle Watson


Per·fume [pərˌfyo͞om] · a fragrant liquid typically made from essential oils extracted from flowers and spices, used to impart a pleasant smell to one's body or clothes.
Day [dā/] · a period of twenty-four hours as a unit of time; a particular period of the past, an era.
Per·fume Day [pərˌfyo͞om · dā/] · one of Dr. Michelle’s favorite days of the year when her dad extravagantly spoils her by investing in the perfume of her choice, all with the goal of creating:

  1. a forever memory

  2. a wonderful sensory experience that that lingers throughout the year while serving as a reminder of her dad’s love for her every time she wears it.

I imagine by now that the majority of you have heard me talk about my annual adventure with my dad that we affectionately call “Perfume Day.” 
(If, by chance, you haven’t read about it in my book, “Dad, Here’s What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart” [] or listened to the story in my book [on Audible at] or heard my interview with my dad on The Dad Whisperer [], I’m excited to share more about it with you today so that you can invest in your daughter’s life in a powerful way with one aromatic experience!)
It’s worth noting that my dad had absolutely no template of how to be a father. His dad wasn’t present for much of his life, and when he actually was home, he was often in a drunken stupor with unbridled anger. When my dad was a young adult, his father lived in a railroad boxcar, homeless and alone, suffering from the devastating effects of alcoholism.

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Then years later when my dad was in his late 30’s, he attended a conference where the men were given a challenge. In his own words my dad says, “we men were asked to think about ways we could be special to our kids, and since I had daughters I thought that perfume might be a good thing.”
And with that, Perfume Day was born.
This year my challenge to you as dads is this: why not approach the topic of creating a lasting memory with your daughter from a creative angle that involves a sensory and fragrant interaction between the two of you. Let me share why this one act will go a long way to reaching her heart.
First, did you know that some experts say that our sense of smell is the strongest of our five senses? Not only that, but olfactory nerves activate the primitive part of our brain that stays in our long-term memory and corresponds to motivation and emotion. This intricate wiring in our noses means that a certain scent can activate a powerful memory because it often outlasts other memories that are carried by our other four senses.
Dad Translation: By creating an experience with your daughter now that revolves around choosing her favorite perfume, you are giving her a sensory memory that will last a lifetime. The perfume itself will provide a tangible reminder of your love for her because of the way that actual scent will be attached to her memory networks for the rest of her life. From this day forward, every time she smells that scent, it will remind her of you.
Talk about a deposit with dividends that exceed the investment!
Second, this idea of perfume being a memory that can last a lifetime is rooted in history, going back a lot farther than my dad (who has been doing this at Christmas with me for 27 years now!).
Whether or not you’re a Bible reader, I’m hopeful that you’ll find this story relevant in light of this theme.
Just before Jesus’ death, his friend Mary poured expensive perfume on his feet, an action that was met with ridicule by some of the men who watched it happen. One in particular noted that it was a waste since the money could have been given to the poor.
Jesus came to Mary’s defense and told them to “leave her alone” while highlighting that she actually was preparing him for his upcoming burial. He told them that the poor would always be with them, but He wouldn’t. Mary seemed to understand something deeper than those around her and she communicated with her actions that the One she loved was worth this kind of costly investment. 
I guess you could say that “Perfume Day” had it’s beginning between a woman and her Savior.

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Author Ken Gire says it this way:
We all grow up and grow out of our childlike enthusiasms. But maybe something of the little girl in Mary never did. And maybe one of the reasons she  meant so much to  Jesus is because sitting at his feet and anointing Him with perfume came as naturally as children throwing their arms around their daddy’s legs and showering Him with hugs and kisses.
Mary’s response to her Friend tells me that He had previously invested well in her, which resulted in her enthusiastic response back to Him out of a relational overflow.
Dad, if you’ve never done it before, I encourage you to take the step this year to make Perfume Day a new tradition with your daughter.
(And if you’re like some of the men I’ve spoken to who say that their daughter “isn’t into perfume,” perhaps you’ll create a different kind of forever memory by together making a plate or bowl at a “Make-Your-Own-Pottery” store. I realize that her sense of smell won’t necessarily be activated, but it’s still a great alternative as she’ll have that piece for the rest of her life as a reminder of you).
I wish each of you the best ending to 2018 and look forward to staying connected in 2019 as I continue bringing practical action tools that you can add your fathering toolbox.
But before I go, here’s a couple of pictures from Perfume Day with my dad. I trust you’ll enjoy this walk down memory lane as I’m sure it will inspire laughter at my expense once you see some of my hairstyles!

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“Thanks Dad for creating forever memories with me and letting me know I’m worth your investment. I love you, Michelle”