Scents and sensitivity

I rarely wear scent.  This is not because I don’t like it, but out of consideration for other people.

Many years ago – twenty or twenty-five years – I went to a play at the Theatre Royal in Norwich, and the next evening went to a Prom concert at Snape Maltings.  I sat in the circle on the theatre evening, as I remember, towards the right hand side as looking from the back.  The theatre was full and it was a very warm night, and I could hardly breathe because of the mingled smells of poor-quality perfumes.  I was not at all comfortable.

The next night, it was a classical concert – again, I sat towards the back.  I had not yet realised that the sound is very good wherever you sit, so you might as well get cheaper seats, and I was in the middle-ranking seats.  Again, a very warm night and the place was full – and my poor nostrils were assailed by the smell of expensive perfume.  The difference in quality was marked, but it didn’t make it a pleasant experience.

Since then, I have never worn scent to the theatre or anywhere that someone sensitive might be uncomfortable with the smell, not just of my perfume but by the mixture of every other woman’s.  It’s not that I am allergic to anything, just that I notice smells and so they can be too much distraction.  It’s the same with music.  If there’s music, I generally listen to it, so I don’t have it as a background.  That is, I will play music while I type or read blogs or something like that, but I can listen at the same time.  I don’t have it on if there’s conversation going on, because I’ll have to choose which to listen to.

13 comments on “Scents and sensitivity

  1. Z

    I can’t quite say that I think about it often, but I have thought the same thing. And also, that whatever I do, my dog knows about it.

  2. Anonymous

    We have one customer who wears so much scent that I have trouble breathing. Boss didn’t believe me–then he went out and met the customer.

  3. Christopher

    Oh! Oh! Steady, Chris, steady – remember your blood pressure! Total short-fuse apoplexy here at the very MENTION of background music. Clearly, Z, you are a person of the most illuminated sensibility.

  4. Z

    What puzzles me most are people who aren’t at all bothered by air fresheners.

    I think I cannot resist returning to the subject, Chris. But not at the expense of your blood pressure. Do relax, dear heart. I’m listening to Mozart’s clarinet quintet at present, can you hear it? – guaranteed to soothe. Listening, it isn’t a mere background, of course.

  5. Z

    I like the scent of perfume, HDWK – just as long as you weren’t in a room with other people who clashed!

    Dave, I’m lost for words.

  6. Roses

    I love fragrance and should I go out, without, I feel naked.

    When I put it on I try to remember what my mother taught me ‘it should only be smelt when a gentlemen leans towards you to kiss on the cheek. It’s perfume, not anaesthetic.’

    Ummm…Dave, do you not wonder why you’re single? A rabbit? Really?

  7. sablonneuse

    How I agree with you! Ever since I was pregnant (well over thirty years ago!) I haven’t been able to bear the smell of powerful perfume and only ever wear delicate eau de toilette. Some of my very best friends wear expensive perfume but even that can be overpowering in a confined space.


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