Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Rant About Stinky Smells

     I come from a long line of perfume wearers, and I myself have a list a mile long of favorite scents. Smell is so evocative; I remember the scent of people long after I have forgotten more important things about them. I recall events, thinking of what perfume I was wearing at that particular time in life (Amarige by Givenchy on my wedding day; Elizabeth Arden's True Love the day Hubbs proposed; Lolita Lempika the day I became a Godmother, Clinique Happy the day I found out I was pregnant - and promptly became nauseated by that late 90's scent).
     So let me be clear: I love perfume ... it just doesn't love me anymore. I can't handle the fumes of colognes, eau de toilettes, dryer sheets, detergents, hairsprays, candles etcetera. Unless a scent is totally natural (ie: coming directly from the petals of a flower, essential oils, or real baked goods), I can't survive without getting sniffly, sneezy and itchy. Often, I'll get a migraine headache, and sometimes cloying smells will actually make me barf.
     About a year and a half ago, I began phasing out toxic chemicals in my life in hopes of managing my allergies, headaches, and endocrine/immunological problems. I found out that most synthetic fragrances in cosmetics, perfumes and household products are chock full of things that make my body go haywire. As I subtracted things, and greened up our home, I noticed many of my symptoms disappeared. 
     Now for my rant: does Abercrombie & Fitch want me to keep dropping hundreds in their stores, even in this crappy economy? I have a young man who insists on dragging me into this store, then proceeds to bat his big brown eyes at me as he makes off with a huge loot of overpriced leather flip flops, tight polo shirts and plaid shorts. He looks fantastic, but my oh my do those clothes STINK!
     A case in point: after school shopping there and practically taking one of everything in every color, I found myself with a throbbing headache. It wasn't the ridonkulous block rocking beats they're blasting in there. It wasn't the staggering bill. It was the smell of those damn clothes, which their employees feel compelled to douse every 10 seconds with their awful cologne!
     It's not enough to stink up the entire Fashion Mall. It's not enough to be bowled over by the smell inside the store. Once the motherlode of late summer fashions came into the house, the scent was overpowering. Even after I removed all the clothes from his closet and ran them through the wash, I could smell that awful cologne. His whole room smells like it now, and even he is sick of it. Why, oh why is this necessary?!?
     A friend told me the brand is trying to create a total sensory experience. Rather a total sensory meltdown. Maybe all the girls want to smell teenage cheapo cologne, reminiscent of their first date (Oye, who can forget God-awful Drakkar Noir or Polo Cologne - the smell of puberty in 1985), but enough already! 
     I've discovered one way around this quandry is to get the clothes from their website, shipped directly to the house in nice factory wrappings sans stink. But that's bad for them, because I am always more restrained from the confines of my office without brown eyes blinking up at me begging for just one more shirt!


  1. Thank you so much for reading my blog and giving me such incredible compliments. You work very hard on your two blogs..and I respect you so much for that. Are you on facebook? You can become my friend

  2. I've learned a lot from what you've been through. I have had allergy problems since I was young & it's getting worse. Strong smells do me in every time. There are few perfumes I can wear & the list is getting smaller. Best of luck to you, I feel your pain :D deb

  3. I noticed the other day just how much I have avoided those overpowering unnatural scents. I started looking through organic creams and was surprised at how neutral they smell.I liked it but now I am interested in finding something more feminine without giving me a headache :)

  4. Liberty: thank you sooo much! I really appreciate your comments (and your blog)! I am not on facebook; creeps creeped me out last fall, and it was taking too much time from my real website. But thanks for friending me anyway!

    Dumbwit: I feel you! I just gave my friend several perfumes I can't wear anymore, and I got rid of my dryer sheets as well. My nephew's mother has been washing clothes with something that was formulated in hell. I sneeze until I send him upstairs to get something out of my son's closet! Damn formaldehyde!

    Mextacy: I have not checked ingredients, but L'Occitane has a few blends that are very nice and don't seem to bother me. I like the honey and lemon scent!

  5. There is nothing worse than doing yoga with someone who insists on wearing a ton of chemicals to mask their own personal odor. YUCK...breathe in (cough,cough) breathe out (gasp,sput) Light natural scents are so much yummier!

  6. Mandy, I couldn't agree more. I actually asked my yoga students not to wear perfume to class. People appreciated the regulation!

  7. I hate really strong, really heavy perfume. The worst is when I'm on the bus and am stuck next to someone who decided to take a bath in some cheap, heavy musk--it makes me literally want to gag!

    I love the stuff from Bath and Body, although I am interested in the vanilla perfumes they have at Lush...I absolutely love the smell of vanilla!

    And Mandy is soooo right--light, natural scents are definitely much much better!

  8. Lacharie, you are so right! I used to work with a guy who bathed in the stinkiest cologne or after shave or whatever the hell it was and at the time I was pregnant. It smelled like rotting flesh and I would gag and gag until finally I just told him to stop! I would actually go get an earpiece from other phones and switch them out so I didn't have to smell his stink after he used the lobby phone. Gross!