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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Yes, I Can Smell You

I work in close proximity to the Minneapolis Macy’s, and the skyway that takes me from one building to the next runs right through their perfume counters. Walk by them: there are offers of samples, spritzes from bottles, multiple gift-with-purchase incentives.

I’ll always take the samples sprayed on paper, by the way. I put them in my underwear drawer, where they enjoy a short-lived, smelly-paper life as undie-and-sock-scenters.

Moving on!

More and more, however, even when I’m not at the Macy’s perfume counter, I am surrounded by people not trying to sell me perfume but who instead are surrounding me with clouds of bottled smells.

As a teenager, and when the idea of “scenting myself” first came to mind, I was told that perfume was specifically for the people who would be closest: friends giving me a hug, lovely males nuzzling my neck.

But someone’s forgotten to tell the teenagers and younger folk of today. There are people climbing on the bus, walking in the skyways, leaning in close at work, drenched in smell, veritably swimming in an orgy of sneeze-able stink.

Could I interest you in the layering of scents?

Yes. They’d like you to “layer” your scents. You can wash with it, powder with it, moisturize, clean, bake, and change your car’s oil with it.

I might be exaggerating there – might! – but how hard would it be to convince you that Lancome has come out with a line of new scents for your car’s engine?

Smells like gardenias!

Between the dryer sheets, the perfumes, the hairsprays and the lotions, some people are smelling like anything, but, uh, people. They’ve taken the word of the advertisers that everything they own should smell of something else.

And just for the record? I’m against it.

That is all.

27 comments:

Douglas said...

My mother used to say about my father...

"I love your father but he stinks!"

Dad was not into deodorants. Or showering more than once a day. And he worked. Hard. All day.

Bella@That damn expat said...

There is nothing more off putting than meeting a person for the first time and they smell like they just came from a perfume factory.
I've been using the same perfume for over 10 years so I can't even smell it on myself anymore. That's why I make sure I use very little of it.

SUEB0B said...

I have a super sensitive nose. I can smell people with or without scent on. If someone uses too much scent, it hurts me. Literally hurts, just as if they had come up and poked me with a pointy stick or something, and sometimes I get a headache that lasts for hours.

It isn't socially acceptable to tell people they are hurting me with their cologne, so I try to give them room. But I have been stuck at concerts or lectures, suffering, because of some dunce and them being hard-of-smelling.

The Retired One said...

I agree. I used to work with a dear lady who was about 60. You could tell for about an HOUR after she had been in an elevator that she had been there because her cloud of perfume was still there. What was so funny is that she would make fun of others who "wore too much perfume". To this day, when I smell the fragrance she wore, I get a suffocating reaction. Maybe back-in-the-day it was to cover up for lack of showering opportunities or something!!!

IB said...

I think that the natural smell of people is over-rated. I'm OK with the layering of scents. Just an FYI-

Happy Sunday, Pearl!

derfina said...

Speaking of which, why the fork do they find it necessary to make lemon/berry/oceanbreeze/etc scented dishwashing liquid? I don't want my dishes smelling like anything but dishes.

Under the Influence said...

I prefer a "hint of aroma" vs. the overpowering need for a gas mask.

Michelle said...

Pearly-Q I totally concur!!!

Even deodorants reek of not so nice smells.

I will admit though in the summer time after i go for a run, I STINK!!! BAD!!!

It's all good though. I like the smell of a funky smelling human!!! Without perfumes and colognes!!!

HAPPY SUNDAY GIRLIE!!!

Douglas said...

When I was 6, I was assigned to the auditorium doors for an assembly at school. This meant that I (and the other boy) had to sit next to the principal during the assembly. The principal was an older lady with gray hair and lots of powder and makeup and perfume, A lot of perfume. A gaggingly lot of perfume. And the powder stank too. Every time I get on an elevator where an over-scented woman has ridden in the last half hour, or walk past one in a mall or store, I am taken back to that torture.

Blue Eyes said...

We have a trend here (perhaps it happens on other countries too, I don't know) of scenting your home. You can buy these horrendous electric plug-ins which spray out chemical odours at preset intervals. They are universally nasty, chemically smells which make me feel slightly woozy.

Why oh why do these things get popular?

I am with you on the perfume thing 100%!

underOvr (aka The U) said...

Pearl,

I have been blessed (or cursed) to detect even slight aromatic changes around me. I suffer from irritated eyes and sneezing. Chemical household cleaners take my breath away. There are times when I think someone has deliberately dropped a bottle of perfume in the elevator.

But what can one do? We live in a scent-obsessed society. I believe the phrase, "less is better" was coined for our use of scents.

underOvr

Eric S. said...

I have a few friend that insist on using way too much perfume. I always thought it should be used to create something faint and tantalizing, hinting of wonders to experienced and felt. Certainly not in your face blatant and overbearing.

Irish Gumbo said...

"...an orgy of sneez-able stink." My, oh my, what a turn of phrase! I wish I'd thought of that.

So, what's your opinion on bacon funk and fryer grease? A little behind the ears, maybe? :)

Vic said...

Recently, at a restaurant, we actually had to get up and move to a different part of the restaurant because they seated a women next to us who had at least an entire bottle of perfume on. I literally could not taste my food.

Jeanne said...

Agree with you on the smells -- and envy you working in downtown Minneapolis. One of the things I loved about living in Minnesota was the fact that Minneapolis still had a thriving downtown district.

Eskimo Bob said...

Isn't it interesting that cologne rhymes with alone?

SweetPeaSurry said...

You've just hit on one of my pet peeves. There's a woman that I work with (that no one really likes btw) that comes to work smelling like she bathed in a bottle of vanilla. UGH. I don't even LIKE the scent of vanilla.

Grosses me out!!! (to the max man!)

Pearl said...

Douglas, one of the reasons I broke up with a guy was his smell. While I actually do like some people’s sweat (I know, I know) this guy smelled like a wild animal when he perspired. Could stink up whole rooms.
Which is not to say that I think your father may have smelled like that…

Bella, I have two perfumes which I use – just a spray on the back of my neck. It’s not meant for everyone!

SUEB0B, I’m a sneezer myself. *hard-of-smelling* :-)I like that.

Retired One, No, now that you say it, there’s a woman at my work than you can smell before you see. A “cloud of perfume” is too poetic to describe her, though. More of a “fog”.

IB, I will keep that in mind for your birthday. :-)

Derfina, you and I are in wild agreement. The smell of clean dishes.

Under the Influence, just a hint is nice.

Michelle, I agree! Some people actually do smell good when they sweat! Hope you had a good Sunday!

Douglas, smells can illicit strong memories, can’t they?!

Blue Eyes, it’s here, too. Why? No one knows. I personally think it’s yet another ploy to separate us from our money with false references, but that’s just me.

underOvr, hmmmm. I’d want you with me in case of a chemical spill but maybe not while flipping through magazines with those perfume samples…

Eric S., I agree. I think some people think that EVERYONE should get the opportunity to smell their perfume, whether they’re hugging or sitting across the table…

Irish Gumbo, bacon fat: yes. Fryer grease: how old?

Vic, yeah, I believe it. I wonder if she has any idea how selfish that is…

Jeanne, you lived her a few years ago, didn’t you? I do love downtown. Minneapolis is pretty vibrant, with people on the streets and in the restaurants and bars. You have no idea how excited I am to go downtown this coming summer!

Pearl said...

Eskimo Bob, now that you mention it...

SweetPea Surrey, we've got one, too. You can smell her coming down the hall -- kind of like a bell on a cat. :-)

Ann's Rants said...

Miss Pearl? You snuck a real-simple-mommy-blogger tip in there! Next time, I'll take it on paper for my unmentionables. Gracias, chica.

KMcJoseph said...

If I karate chop a perfume salesman, is that a misdemeanor?

Pearl said...

Ann, de nada.

KMcJ, I believe it's a smellony.

De Campo said...

I just don’t see how scents like gardenias and lavender are supposed to get men worked into frenzy. If you’re determined for neck snuggling just show up to the blokes house reeking of buffalo wings, gunpowder, and fresh mulch. Irresistible!

Pearl said...

De Campo. Fresh mulch. :-) The loamy, fertile earth. I'm going to smile and shake my head for a while now...

Smart Mouth Broad said...

I blame the perfume police at the Macy's counters and aisles. They've convinced everyone they should smell to high heaven.

J'Ollie Primitives said...

Picture a Russian secretary telling off an Egyptian MD "GO AVAY. YOU STEENK TO DE HEAVENS.I CAN NO BREEZE ZE AYRE."
Daily.
Pew.

Braja said...

I tend to like only my own smells. I know how that sounds. Shut up.