Google Something Clever 2.0: You Stink

Aug 13, 2012

You Stink

I came across this sign on Passive-Aggressive today. It was a little poem requesting that bathroom patrons not try to cover up the smell of poop with perfume, because that just makes it worse.

It got me thinking about perfume. I think most people would agree with the sign. Perfume does not erase another smell; it only adds one. But under what circumstances is it okay to use perfume? According to me, none.

I have a really sensitive nose, like a bloodhound or a pregnant lady or a sommelier. This is more often a curse than it is a blessing. For example, I instinctively begin breathing through my mouth as soon as I enter a bathroom, subway or elevator. It may make me look like a dullard, but it’s a small price to pay when the alternative is dry heaving. That’s not an exaggeration. I dry heave from bad smells constantly, and it’s quite awkward in a crowded elevator.

Oftentimes, the cause of my near-puking is perfume. Most perfume is just not pleasant to me. Nobody should take offense if I don’t enjoy their perfume. Did you just grab it of the shelf, or did you smell it first? Right. And did you love the first one you smelled? No, you didn’t. But a whole team of people worked very hard to create that other one, and they think it smells great. It’s subjective. So why do you assume everyone you come into contact with will agree with your taste?  Did you pick the one scent that everyone on Earth loves?

There’s one particular perfume that’s rather popular with older ladies. I don’t know it by name, but I always recognize that scent immediately. It smells exactly like the Glade air freshener my parents used to (unsuccessfully) mask the smell of my beloved cat’s decomposing body when we discovered her a week after she’d gone missing. So now, whenever I smell that perfume, which is perfectly lovely to many a grandma, I do a charming combination of gagging and tearing up.

Putting aside personal taste, and whether or not your eau de toilette conjures memories of grief and putrefaction for a small percentage of population, why are you treating strangers to a scent, anyway? I don’t believe you should be able to smell anyone if you aren’t hugging them. I shouldn’t be able to smell your cologne when I pass within ten feet of your cart at the mall, man with pointy shoes. And if you come to my house and sit on my couch, I do not want to smell you on my throw pillows the next day (yes, this has really happened, more than once).

What goes on in the mind of the heavy scent wearer? Do they not realize that others can smell them from across the room? Do they think they’re providing a helpful service by choking us all in a cloud of lilies and orange blossom? Or are they really protective of their personal space, and use scent as a deterrent, like a human skunk? As far as I know, perfume and cologne are designed to attract or entice a mate. I feel uncomfortable when I can smell it on anyone I’m not sleeping with, as if I accidentally caught a glimpse of their underwear. Surely they didn’t intend for me to smell their secret sexy smell! I actually feel a little guilty sometimes.

Let’s make a deal. I know I can’t get all of you to just stop wearing perfume, so from now on, could you please just spray it on your thighs, instead of every “pulse point” on your body? That way, the right people will still get to enjoy it, and I can breathe in peace. Thanks!

ckOne photo by Gonna Fly Now (CK One) [<a href="">CC-BY-SA-2.0</a>], <a href="">via Wikimedia Commons</a>