September 18, 2012
Do you like perfume? Wear it? For years, I did neither. I’ve had asthma since I was a little girl, and any strong smell, especially a flowery one, always caused my symptoms to flare up. As I got older, I suppose, my sensitivity to smells lessened, and I began to be able to wear some scents. They still have to be spice-based, but I’m happy to say that now, I can wear some perfumes.
Perfume is a girly thing. I know men wear cologne but still, a woman’s signature scent says a lot about her (or at least, she likes to think it does). I remember when I was a kid, sneaking into my parents’ room (a huge no-no) and just smelling the various beautiful bottles of perfume my mother kept on a mirrored tray on her dresser.
Chanel No. 5. Tabu. White Shoulders. I can still see the bottles.
To this day, I can’t stand the smell of any of those perfumes. No offense to my mother or anyone else who wears them; they’re just too strong for my taste, and they still set off my asthma symptoms without mercy. I can smell them a mile away.
I feel sure that’s why you don’t see those perfume snipers at the mall any more. People don’t like getting ambushed and doused with a smell they may or may not like, and certainly not by a total stranger.
I can smell perfumes when upscale department stores sneak those little folded scent-samplers into the crease of their mailers. I can smell them when a woman walks past me who may have over-applied her scent that morning. I can smell them in taxi cabs. I can smell them in coat closets. I get it; it’s my problem.
When I wear perfume, I apply it very sparingly. I figure if I can smell it, so can everyone around me. That’s great if they like the scent, and not so great if they don’t.
I wonder, if some big-city mayors can dictate whether citizens can purchase soft drinks and in what quantity, and if jurisdictions can tell smokers they can smoke here, but not there, is it conceivable that some day soon, we might have lawmakers telling us where we can and can’t wear perfume?
It’s something to think about.
•Carole Townsend is also a Gwinnett Daily Post staff correspondent and author of “Southern Fried White Trash.” The book takes a humorous look at families and how we behave when thrown together for weddings, funerals and holidays. She has been quoted on msnbc.com, in the LA Times, USA Today and the Christian Science Monitor, been featured on FOX 5 News and CNN, and is often a guest on television and radio shows nationwide. She currently travels throughout the southeast, meeting readers at book signings and speaking publicly at various events. Her next book, “Red Lipstick and Clean Underwear,” will be released in Fall 2012.•