I Hate The Way You Smell

But There’s Something You Can Do About It

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Photo by Yixian Zhao on Unsplash

Are you wearing too much perfume?

I’m not talking about women who wear a tantalizing hint of fragrance. I’m talking about women who wear buckets of fragrance. Who drench themselves in scent before heading out the door each morning, resulting in an olfactory wallop so powerful you can smell them coming blocks away.

I blame perfume ads, in which a single squirt instantly turns an ordinary woman into a sensual temptress.

And if one squirt can do that, five must be better, right?


Sure, perfume ads are oddly compelling. Who wouldn’t want to live in Perfume Ad Land? Just choose the right scent and voila — you’re alluring! No need to have a personality. Or even a life.

Just bathe in a bucket of “Flowerbomb” and you’re good to go.

But from my point of view? Pouring on the perfume doesn’t turn an ordinary woman into a sexy temptress, but into a stinky disaster.

Why? I’m scent sensitive, one of those hapless folks who, through no fault of our own, can’t tolerate the smell of perfume, body wash, hair spray, fabric softener, room fresheners, and dozens of other artificial scents.

Which means that if you’re Scent Drenched? You make me sick.

For Scent Sensitive folks, too much perfume, particularly in an enclosed space, is excruciating.

In an elevator. Or an airplane. Worst of all, at the theatre. I’ll arrive at my assigned seat only to find that the woman next to me is exuding powerful waves of Amber Musk.

Which, for me, is exactly as pleasant as sitting beside someone who’s just been sprayed by a skunk.

This is why I’ve begun carrying nose plugs with me to the theatre.

Yes, I’ve gotten a few questioning looks as I fish them out of my handbag and place them on my nose. And it’s a damn shame that my fellow audience members now think I’m some kind of weirdo — or else a swimmer who is seriously lost.

But at least I can enjoy the show.

I work in a library. Several of our patrons are, unfortunately, members of Team Stinky. As they approach the circulation desk,, library card in hand, with a stack of books to check out, it’s not okay for me to gasp and exclaim “You Reek!”

Or even, “Mrs. Jones — please keep your distance. You are wearing too damn much ‘Vanille Fatale.’”

People are rarely pleased when you start complaining about how they smell.

So, mostly, I just have to suffer, or breathe through my mouth, until they go away.

How about you? If you use heaps of perfume on the assumption that it’s making you irresistible, please consider the fact that it may actually be making you repellent. At least to those of us who are Scent Sensitive.

You might consider dialing it back a bit. Or even doing without it altogether.

Because? Being someone who is sensitive to the needs of those around them is a lot more attractive than being perfumed anyway.

(If you liked this essay by Roz Warren, you’ll probably like this one too.)

Writing Coach/Medium Sherpa Roz Warren(https://muckrack.com/roz-warren) (roSwarren@gmail.com) writes for everyone from the New York Times to the Funny Times.

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