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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Olfactory Invasion

The problem 
I like perfume in small doses. My theory is that perfume is meant to be enjoyed and people who choose to be within six inches from you. Yesterday I was at an office and as I walked down the hall, this overwhelming cloud of some crappy perfume like Britney Spears or J Lo, (something by a celebrity,) overpowered me like tear gas. Men are guilty of this crime as well. 
Celebrity gems like Trump and Usher colognes can be found at Macys and even Nordstrom. (Because the average man deserves to smell like Vaseline, twenty dollar bills, and Aqua Net!)   I have an idea for a new perfume; it is made up of pure bus fumes and is called Metro. 
The subtleties of scent
My theory on perfumes is that if you could eat whatever the scents are, it is probably not too bad. (Vanilla, oranges etc.)  Most colognes and perfumes are really just chemical weapons. I can picture vast armies with gas masks spraying themselves with Poison or Drakkon Noire before loading drums of Britney’s Fantasy and Fergie's Glamorous into tanks. It would devastate and humiliate the enemy while simultaneously acting as a slightly milder version of tear gas.
Men's body sprays such as the infamous Axe have tried to appeal to men through the subtle images of packs or bikini-clad women chasing Axe- wearing men, then jumping them in nymphomaniacal glee. When I run into these guys, they come in two breeds. 1) The Jersey Shore alike: He uses more gel on his hair than I do in a week, wears tight t-shirts, and, probably wears more jewelry than an East Indian bride. Type 2 - Does not believe in showers or baths and covers up this fact by applying body spray from a twenty gallon tank with a hose. Once, I was in the hospital and an orderly started talking to me. He was covered with Axe body spray and smelled like ammonia, gum, and cigarettes. He wondered why the hospital had taken him off of ICU. Sure people there already had trouble breathing, but surely Axe body spray made them happier than oxygen right?

 The solution
I found the sign at the top of the post on Google images that sums up my feelings.
The good people at the Minneapolis airport declared a ban on Axe. I love the women running away in terror. 
How does a polite person approach the chronically overscented? Can you just politely say, “ Excuse me, you smell like a French whorehouse.” Would it be impolite to douse them a fire extinguisher filled unscented Dr. Bronner’s soap and plain water?  I urge the scientific community to create at least one of the following:                              
1.      A bubble that would keep out offensive scents or 
2. An objective scent-o-meter alarm that would wail loudly if an offender was over the limit. Heck, it’s worth a try. If robot dishwashers and spray on tans exist, then certainly we can do this. 
Sensory Comparison
Let’s compare this olfactory invasion to other sensory issues. Would you yell in a person's ear each time you wanted to talk, or if you were showing off your new bracelet, would you shove it up the person's eyeball?  I posit that perfume overdose is still allowed because commenting on something as personal as someone’s scent is a very touch subject.  We think that perfume is a subjective thing and maybe it just isn’t our style. Yet, I would wager that if you are bothered by someone’s headiness, so are your coworkers (except that one lady in finance who has no sense of smell of course.)  It is like walking in an entirely different atmosphere.
Some workplaces and schools have made rules against perfumes in certain buildings. The building where I take my classes has instituted a scent ban. Right next to the sign in the bathroom that says, "Please do not wear scents as people in this building are sensitive to them," are bottles of cranberry spice and pine air freshener.
We've all been out on dates with someone who is perfumed from head to toe and has layered every single product so when the relief of one layer wearing off hits, the next one will kick in just as strong. When in doubt, I say just use a lightly scented or unscented soap, wear deodorant, and clean clothes. However, some dryer sheets smell like grape Kool-aid and stale pork chops, so choose wisely.

Who wants to smell like elephant dung, greasepaint, and sadness ?
Therefore, I declare a call to action.  I know that scent is subjective and any given perfume's popularity waxes and wanes with popular culture. For all those hipsters out there who want to ironically wear Old Spice or Drakkon Noire, Bijon, or Demeter's Funeral Home, remember that anaphylaxis is neither stylish nor ironic. Many perfumes have crazy notes like vanilla, verteviert, varnish, or lime, leather, and Lysol. I also have to note the new scent by Britney Spears (who I like actually,) which is called Circus. So it smells like elephant dung, grease paint, and disappointment? No thanks

Keep it simple and wear small amounts of one note scents like citrus, fruit, lavender, or if you like woodsy, sandalwood. T

Now, in the spirit of Jeff Foxworthy, 
You're wearing too much scent if
-You get on an elevator and everyone holds their collective breath.
-The pink cloud of scent that encompasses you starts to peel paint.

-When you walk by, plants die.

-All food tastes like your rubbing alchohol. So does everybody's within a 30 foot radius.

 -Passengers in your carpool roll down the windows. And stick their heads out. In January

-Everyone you talk to has asthma attacks or watery eyes.
- The tiny hairs in your nose have dissolved

Do not try at home or anywhere else
- Your cat has become so saturated with your perfume that it refuses to groom itself to avoid burning its taste buds.


Austen girl perfume spray http://ipkitten.blogspot.com/2007/08/jolie-drops-perfume-opposition-baby.html Britney Spears Circus: http://free.bridal-shower-themes.com/britney-spears-circus-perfume  Dead Plants:  http://www.kenlauher.com/ask-ken/?Tag=Feng%20Shui%20Plants
Minneapolis Airport: http://www.jaunted.com/story/2009/3/27/125833/277/trave /Say+It,+Don%27t+Spray+It%3A+Axe+Body+Spray+Not+Welcome+in+Minneapolis
Sierra Club Carpool: http://www.sierraclubyosemitetrip.com/car_pool_list Tom Ford Cologne: http://senseslost.com/2007/12/03/tom-ford-for-men/
Trump Cologne:  http://www.yournewfragrance.com/v/mens.html


Anonymous said...

lolz katie. I think you should make a series of posters. The pie chart, the lying chart, the different kinds of men charts, and this one would be great in a pamphlet format! I'm going to send this to my buddy who works in medicine with a guy who does the pits tochesty Axe thing. Professional right?

Anonymous said...

I agree with the above comment. You have a weird sense of humor and some odd ideas, but guess what, I totally get them. It's nice to know I'm not the only one that thinks this way. :) keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I dig your dark and odd sense of humor and it has some great insigh hidden in it. classy advert for Tom Ford. Question, is that what the perfume is supposed tos mell like; sweaty oiled woman's privates? Because I don't care how beautiful someone is, that's not the best smell in the world, (same with men too.)
Isn't there one with the bottle between a woman's breasts? I know that reeks of dignity and respect.

Anonymous said...

Hate olfactory invasion! Thanks for giving it a name. I think a realistic polite way to bring it up would be to say something like,
"Hey, I have (asthma, allergies, headaches, good taste, partial blindness from the stinging of the perfume wafting over,) would you mind either not using it or just using a tiny bit so only you can smell it?

Anonymous said...

It's hard to enforce no-scent rules. Everything, shampoo, styling products, laundry detergent etc. is scented. I read an article a while ago about a lady who complained that her whole world smelled like Bounce. I like Bounce and so did she, but toomuch of a good thing. By the way Lolz, I'm sending this to my brother.