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Bad Perfume: The Solution

I’ve written extensively, or perhaps twice, about an experience I had with a bad perfume. Because I don’t like when folks point out problems but never help with a solution, I will provide a simple and effective way to eradicate the issue of people who bathe themselves in scent.

My solution is simple and non-violent. There will be no need for legislation or protest marches. The problem demands unified action by all those affected by strong perfumes and aftershave.

The Sphere Of Scent

English: Diagram representation of personal sp...

Personal space. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I thought about this problem, the concept of the sphere of scent came to me. People who douse themselves in fragrances create a space around their bodies that is full of their particular aroma. Those spheres reach us, typically 8-10 feet before the body generating them does. Being enveloped in the scent sphere of a stranger is as much an invasion of personal space as having them come up and stand belly to belly with you.

We all know people who stand too close to us. And the reaction to such those who invade our personal space is universal. We back up to reestablish out personal space and our comfort. If being overwhelmed by someone’s perfume or aftershave cloud is also an invasion of personal space, shouldn’t our reaction be the same? I believe it should.

So i call upon the vast Blurt audience to fight back in the same way that we fight back against space invaders. At the moment you detect someone with a scent sphere, back up. Back away and maintain a distance equal to the space that was between you when you first smelled that person.

I promised you simple and non-violent. That is what I’m giving you. Now, let’s move on and consider the consequences of what I’m asking you to do.

For Example…

Suppose we use the bagel shop situation I wrote about earlier as an example of how the personal space solution would work. Let’s walk through it from the point of view of the woman who was inside her scent sphere that morning…

Español: Interior del Museo zona de perfumeria...

It comes in a little bottle for a reason.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As she approaches the front door of the bagel shop, she sees a dashing middle-aged man. He is holding the door for her because of his top-notch upbringing. She smiles her thanks and starts toward the open portal. As she does, the handsome gentleman releases the door and backs ten feet away. The door closes and she must open it herself.

Our perfume bather enters the shop. Some diners are pinned to the wall by her scent. As she approaches the counter, the order taker backs up ten feet and calls out “may I help you?” Her order is lox and bagel, but the order taker says, “I’m sorry ma’am, I can’t enter your order because I can’t reach the key pad from here.”

The reaction is the same at the register. She wants to pay, but the cashier is ten feet from his machine and can’t ring up the total. Agitated that she can’t pay for the bagel, then realizing that the order was never put in, she stomps out of the store.

She has similar experiences at the dry cleaner and in her morning meeting. Everyone backs up ten feet. Our scented invader gradually realizes what is happening and resolves to think before dipping her ladle into the perfume barrel the next morning.

The only way this will solve our problem is if we all pledge to follow it. Step back, my friends. Step back and regain your personal space. Step back and get some fresh air.

Step back and teach a lesson.

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26 Comments on “Bad Perfume: The Solution”

  1. John says:

    I agree and I am glad to see that I am not alone in having a problem with this. This issue is especially noticeable during the summer, which I call Stinky-Season, I guess because some people are afraid of a little perspiration. The problem is that the masking agent is far more obnoxious than any natural bouquet. This is exacerbated when folks use the same brand of stinky-stuff over a long period, because they themselves then become “immune” to the specific aroma over time and tend to put more and more on.

    I often do what you suggest – usually involuntarily. If I am walking through a store and collide with one of these invisible clouds of odor I reflexively choke and cough and put my hand over my mouth and try to flee the offending individual, preferably so that they know it. If I am trapped, as being first in a store checkout line, I again hold my nose, move away and breathe through my mouth (although sometimes it is so strong that you can even taste it – yuck).

  2. Katie says:

    But what about when I like the scent? I can’t just be busting up on everyone’s intimate space. …I have a restraining order out right now that says exactly, “Prohibited from busting within one foot of a stranger’s intimate space.”

    Please don’t slut shame me.

    • omawarisan says:

      Oh no, it is completely within your rights to handle business as you see fit if:

      The scent is one you like and the person doesn’t wear so much of it that you can’t get sufficient oxygen to your cells.

  3. Laura says:

    This is great. I’m going to douse myself with perfume the next time I have to get on an airplane.

  4. Blogdramedy says:

    This is a great idea. But she may be closely related to loud talkers who get right in your face no matter how far you back away. That’s when a bottle of Febreze could be critical.

  5. When dining out last Friday evening, a woman who smelled like the clearance section of Pier 1 was seated at the table beside me. I couldn’t get my check fast enough.

    I think your method will, eventually, get our point across.

  6. “My solution is simple and non-violent.” I’m glad you made that clear. I was getting worried.

  7. This is really becoming an issue for you.

    Have you considered aromatherapy?

  8. I like this idea — nonviolent change to end olfactory assaults. You’re like the Ghandi of the nose.

  9. Daile says:

    You should make a t-shirt

  10. pieterk515 says:

    Now I understand why I only get service via drive-thru @ McDonalds, thank you. It will also save me money as I can cut down to two bottles of Hugo a month.

  11. Debbie says:

    Too much perfume or aftershave is annoying; smelly body odor is obnoxious. There’s gotta be a happy medium somewhere, don’t you think?

  12. robincoyle says:

    I went to a production of Phantom of the Opera in New York. The woman in front of me had on so much perfume I could taste it. Ugh. It ruined the experience for me and i will forever equate the Phantom with Chanel No. 5. I like your idea of defensible aroma space.

  13. Too much perfume makes me nauseous. So, this approach is non-violent which is good. But what about the perfumed, scented person? I have a feeling this person could start to lose it and resort to violent or forceful means to get to that bagel. Otherwise, I think your plan is superb!

  14. Count me in. I can do backing up while using my inhaler to get my lungs open again.

  15. […] Bad Perfume: The Solution (blurtblog.net) […]

  16. vino4 says:

    I enjoyed your previous posts about the scented offender but somehow lost track of your solution. But, I’m glad that I found it now. Bravo


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