2013-06-27 / Lifestyles

Giving my two scents

Lois A. Corcoran

She occupied the cubicle next to mine. Though I found the new gal pleasant enough, her perpetual cloud of perfume left me gagging for air. To make matters worse, she’d top it off at noon. Thus, my morning sickness lasted from nine to five.

Women aren’t the only ones who overdose on scents. I know a guy whose nauseating aftershave precedes him by a good 20 yards. You’d swear he marinates in the stuff. Makes me wonder what he’s trying to hide.

Commercials are partly to blame for aroma abuse. Clueless cologne users take their cue from the actor who applies the product far too liberally and the actress who responds with a sensuous smile. Little do they realize she’s thinking, This guy smells like a toxic waste dump.

Fragrance is nothing new. According to Perfumes.com, Cleopatra rode to Egypt “on a ship with perfumed sails. [Her] arrival was announced by clouds of perfume before her barge came into view.” She must have bought the giant economy sized bottle.

Regardless of when it started, it certainly is big business today. WorldWidePerfume.com reports “Consumers Spend $5.1 billion a year on fragrance.” The way some people wear it, I wish it were a little less successful. An innocent hug and you smell like them for hours afterward.

I’ve never been a perfume kind of person. Unnatural smells make my nose hairs curl up. Natural ones, too, at times. Nevertheless, my Avon Lady faithfully includes a sample with each catalog she drops off, much to my cat’s delight.

Most people find subtle scents attractive though. A friend told me she had all she could do not to tackle a passing stranger who smelled yummy. He apparently knew enough not to use it by the gallon, unlike that acquaintance whose cologne doubles as repellent.

If you’re one of those people whose fragrance wilts plants, pay heed: When it comes to applying scent, less is more. For guys, a finger tip of cologne on both sides of the jaw. Same amount for gals only behind the ear lobes. Just think of the money you’ll save by wearing it as intended.

And don’t compound the problem by using scented deodorant, scented shampoo or scented soap. All those smells will only duke it out and your social life will be the casualty.

Moderation is the key. It’s only, well, common scents.

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