Back in the fifties, my two sisters and I shared a precious bottle of Chantilly Lace perfume. My Dad had lost the sight in one eye, and also his accounting job. Money was scarce, and all of us worked part time to keep things going. But being teenagers, we still managed to have a social life. We rolled our hair up on bobby socks to make it wavy, and wore lipstick. And when we had a date, we dabbed a bit of Chantilly Lace behind our ears and on our wrists. The perfume was only meant to be detected by someone who got close—like a boy who was kissing you goodnight. You weren’t supposed to reek, as many do today. Are you wearing too much perfume?
When I was in college, a boyfriend in the service sent me a bottle of Joy perfume that he’d bought in Japan. It was potent stuff. But even though I had it all to myself, I was careful not to overdo it. Why? What’s wrong with dousing yourself in fragrance?
Well, mainly, because many people are allergic to any kind of fragrance. I’m not sure when my allergies began. But sometime in my mid thirties, I couldn’t walk past the cosmetic counter of any department store without sneezing. I hated that, because I knew what it meant. I was developing an allergy to perfume. Just when I could afford Chanel #5, my sinuses began to rebel.
If I’m in the middle of a cold, or during allergy season, it get’s worse. Today was a case in point. We haven’t had a killing frost, so the pollen count is still high. Even with antihistamines, I need a Kleenex on hand at all times. We were at brunch in a local restaurant, when I started to sneeze. I could smell the approaching woman before I could see her. She was middle aged and well dressed. The woman seemed oblivious to the fact that her overdose of perfume made me sneeze, or might be giving someone a headache. Although studies have, shown that people who wear too much perfume may be depressed , she seemed to be enjoying herself.
It’s the same at the local swim pool. There’s always a least one swimmer who exudes a strong fragrance. There’s a sign asking people not to wear perfume, but it is ignored by those who prefer to navigate through life in a bubble of Musk. Sometimes, I feel the urge to say something to the fragrance offender, but I can’t think of a way to do it without sounding like a crabby old lady. And so, I swim away, or suffer in silence.
Are you wearing too much perfume? .