A Scent-sitive Subject

As my mom and I were driving home this afternoon, I was listening to the radio and the host of the particular show on at the time, recalled a story she came across a bit earlier:

A woman in Calgary was kicked off a bus on Friday because the driver said he didn’t like her perfume.

The driver had apparently given her a warning the day before not to wear the perfume again or he wouldn’t let her ride. Nonetheless, she boarded the bus the next day, and – true to his word – the driver told her to get off.

His reason? He said the perfume interfered with his ability to focus and operate the bus.

The woman said she felt she was being unfairly singled out, just for trying to smell nice.

A city spokeman said the incident was being investigated, but it appeared the driver may have overstepped his bounds.

I’m not sure exactly what to make of this. But I guess my first question would be: exactly how much of the stuff was she wearing?

I’m not normally a perfume-wearer and nowadays for me, it’s a conscious decision not to, because so many people either have or have developed allergies to perfume.

Unless it’s maybe the most special of circumstances, I’d put a little on, and even then, it’d be only ever so slight.

But there are people out there who seem to bathe in the stuff – to the point where the scent might remain in the room minutes after the person wearing it has left.

I remember, working my first part-time job in high school, having to deal with a customer who made my eyes water because she was wearing so much perfume. At the time, I thought maybe something burning in the area was causing my eyes to water. I didn’t clue in until she’d left and my eyes stopped tearing.

I remember a co-worker telling me a few months back about a colleague of ours who’d been wearing enough perfume to cause another co-worker to cough and feel unwell because of it. And when she was told, instead of understanding the situation, she actually took offense, going so far as to say it was part of her identity, and why should she have to change?

Um, isn’t one’s identity comprised of things like, oh, personality? Intellect? Beliefs? Individual style? Smelly water can be a part of one’s identity? Not at the risk of someone’s health-related reaction, I don’t think.

Wanting NOT to smell like B.O. is not a crime in the least. Sure, who doesn’t want to smell so-fresh-and-so-clean?

But if people are having physical reactions to your fragrance and they have to tell you to dial it down a couple notches, they’re not doing it to be mean. It’s ’cause you’re wearing so much, you don’t even realize it! Or maybe you’re not wearing the right one suited to your physical chemistry.

I think wearing perfume is an exercise in subtlety. One should wear enough so that the slightest whiff causes a head or two to turn and wonder where that heavenly scent is coming from.

Your scent shouldn’t be causing people to pinch their noses and cover their faces.

What do you think?

One thought on “A Scent-sitive Subject

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think we live in a society where we associate smells, particularly nice fresh smells, with cleanliness. For example, there is an idea that the bathroom isn’t clean if you can’t smell the lemon tile spray when you walk in. Or a person hasn’t showered if you can’t smell their shampoo, perfume or soap products. It’s as if an absence of smell, just like a bad smell, is problematic, at least sub-consciously. Maybe I’m off in my assessment but, if so, why is everything we buy scented, even subtley? You have to go out of your way to look for the unscented version of products. Just my two cents.


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