At this time of year, the stores are filled with beautiful scented candles reminiscent of pumpkin pie, crackling fires and cozy sweaters just brought in fresh from the line.
When did it become offensive for our homes to smell like, well, our homes? What horrible odor are we trying to mask by burning scented candles, plugging in a little oil filled dispenser into an outlet, or spraying cans of scent throughout our home? We can't all have wet dogs or have been filleting fish.
As well, I think at this present time, most of us bath on a regular basis. We all have access to deodorant and antiperspirant. It is doubtful that many of us stink. However, there are isles filled with perfume, cologne, body spray, the dreaded Axe for men. Why are we masking our own inoffensive scent?
When you launder your clothes, you are cleaning them of any dirt or nasty smells that may have accumulated on them. Why then, do you need to add more scent to your freshly washed clothing in the form of dryer sheets, liquid detergent, or softener? Isn't being clean and free from noxious smells enough?
I wouldn't have been writing these words twenty-five years ago. I enjoyed wearing perfume. I had a selection of day time and evening scents. I burned scented candles. I even enjoyed little glass dishes of potpourri and I burned incense. I didn't know it might cause someone problems.
But then my body, or should I say my respiratory system, turned on me. I often deal with sinus issues and had a cough that literally did not go away for two and a half years which was so severe I would tear the cartilage between my ribs from coughing so hard. I had allergy tests, breathing tests, saw an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor... but the bottom line turned out that I am incredibly scent sensitive. Just being in the same room as someone who is wearing scent gives me immediate nose and throat effects.
Yesterday I was doing my usual weekend grocery shopping. I ended up in an isle with a gentleman who, I swear, went swimming in cologne prior to coming to buy his groceries. Even after he left to go down another isle, the smell lingered in the air. As I continued with my shopping, I was essentially following him and dying in the process. My nose started to fill up and irritate down the back of my throat which led to coughing and further congestion.
I have asked my coworkers to refrain from wearing scent. Most comply, some do not. I was trying to find a dress to wear to a wedding this December (again!) and was in a department store. The dress area was next to the cosmetics and fragrances. It was unbearable. Someone must have sprayed something to entice people to come and make a purchase, or perhaps a customer was trying a new perfume. I literally used my long hair as a filter, breathing through it so I could continue looking at the clothes (no, I didn't find a dress).
About a week ago, as I was listening to the radio while getting ready for work in the morning, the DJ was talking about a recent study that said that wearing Axe makes a man more desirable to a woman. For those of you who do not know, Axe is a brand of body spray, deodorants, shampoos, etc. for men, and more specifically young men or teenagers. It is strong. Overpowering, even. I cringed when I heard that. Just what we need. Even more men who will coat themselves in scent in the age old quest to attract a mate.
I wanted to be able to pull this man in the grocery store aside and let him know he was trying too hard. Or perhaps he had lost his sense of smell and did not realize there was a cloud of scent surrounding him everywhere he went. I wanted to say, "A little dab'll do you!" Better yet, just smell fresh and clean. That's a good thing, being fresh and clean.
I don't think we will ever go back to an unscented world. Nature is full of beautiful scents with some of my favourites being lilacs, peonies, lime, and that camping smell of earth, pine, and wood smoke. Concerning the unnatural, human manufactured scents, it's big money. If you convince people that their homes, cars, hair, babies, dogs, clothing, and bodies require additional sweetening up, the consumer possibilities are endless!
However, I often feel that we, or our future generations, will discover that all of these chemical scents are messing with us somehow. If I cough and hack and get a sinus headache because someone has lit a "Harvest Kitchen" candle, surely there are others who suffer similarly. I make a point of purchasing unscented products like laundry detergent. I wash my floors with a little dish soap, hot water and vinegar. Growing up, houses were "aired out". You would open the windows on opposite sides of the house and let a good breeze freshen things up. I still do, and like to sleep in a bedroom that has had a good dose of fresh air flowing through it.
What about you? Are any of you scent sensitive?