Perfume etiquete or the Pink Puffy Cloud

Remember Pig Pen from the Charlie Brown comic strips? He is what crosses my mind when I am enveloped by someones pink puffy cloud of perfume. Fair warning, I am whining today. I am tired of dodging that pink puffy cloud. It seems to be everywhere, in many forms, and I really am physically tired.

As I started to write this I had to stop more than once and move in order to remove myself from the cloud of perfume encompassing and choking me into an asthma attack.

Scents, smells, perfumes and colognes are so very personal. What one person may believe is a wonderful pleasing aroma, another person may find not only unpleasant, but vile. A certain scent that seems to be growing in popularity is a flash back to the Flower Children of the 60’s, a patchouli musky smell that wasn’t good back then and hasn’t improved with age, in my opinion.

I remember being taught to wear perfume by my Mom. It was a small dab on the wrists or at the back of the neck. It was intended for those close to you, a subtle almost intangible aroma to draw someone in. These days I think there are very few who use that philosophy when applying their favorite smell. There is the assumption that if I like it, so must everyone else. Not true. Scents and smells are very personal.

When perfume or cologne is applied so generously that it proceeds one into a room and lingers many minutes after one has left the room, I think one perfumes too much. I say that because many of those scents, even ones that I like, have a very negative affect upon my breathing apparatus; it ceases to function.

What happens is that a cloud of un-named chemicals remain in the air to be inhaled by all who breathe, (this is according to more than one doctor who has treated me.) Many of us have negative reactions to breathing in those chemicals. Some people get migraines. I met a lady recently who told me that she can taste the perfume and then her tongue becomes swollen and bruised. (She and I were dodging a pink puffy cloud at the time.) My reaction is more extreme than most, I have a severe asthma attack and not infrequently require inhalers and someone to help me get to fresh air. If the reactions is really bad, an injection by epi-pen in order to keep breathing is required. I hate shots. And no, according to my pulmonologist, it’s not all in my head, it’s several inches lower, in my bronchial system.

So, my very personal request is; when applying your favorite scent remember the phrase, (originally used by Brylcreem), “a little dab’l do ya’.” Let your signature smell be subtle, for the one you love. When you are tempted to spray into the air with abandon and let the aromatic cloud envelope you, or spray every article of clothing you wear, think of Pig Pen and the chemical cloud you carry with you.

Thank you for letting me whine, and if I have to avoid you when I see you I really don’t mean to be rude, but breathing isn’t optional, and while for many, strong cologne or perfume is overkill, for me it’s nearly kill, literally.


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