Friday, April 11, 2008

Odor of the Day

The lobby of Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall has a sign with large friendly letters requesting patrons be considerate of others when choosing to wear perfumes and after-shaves. I like that sign. It makes me feel protected. Yes, your own Caftan Woman is one of many who suffer from a chemical intolerance. I was comfortably ensconsed in my cozy balcony seat in said hall when the lady sitting behind me returned from intermission proclaiming: "And she was giving free samples away in the Ladies Room. I'm going to buy a whole bottle." Apparently signs with large friendly letters don't mean much to some people. Understanding management switched our seats to the roomy orchestra section. You might call it a perfect evening, if it weren't for the swelling tongue, itchy skin and watery eyes.

Many municipalities are reacting to the problem of physical reactions to scents by banning the use of colognes in public and government buildings. Many corporations bear it in mind for those dealing with the public. Unfortunately, the reaction among many aroma addicts is that the rest of us are being hysterical and arbitrary. A reaction similar to that expressed by a former co-worker: "Well, I'm sorry you don't like my perfume, but I have a perfect right to wear it." They don't seem to want to understand that it's not a question of liking, it's a question of breathing.

A little understanding is necessary for both sides. I'll continue to keep my Benedryl handy when I'm out and about, but the perfume purveyors have to be a little more considerate. Only then can the scent obsessed and the scent oppressed co-exist peacefully (because I promise you one of these days...).


  1. Amen!

    As of the first of the year, Illinois has been a smoke-free state. It is now unlawful to smoke inside public buildings in the state. I believe that one would have to go at least 15 feet away from the establishment before it is legal to light up.

    The legislation itself is somewhat flawed, but the purpose of it is terrific. It was so nice to be able to go out with friends last night and not come home reeking like a pack of Marlboros. The biggest perk, however, was being able to breath without gasping for clean air. Such a luxury!

  2. Sometimes I'll start to feel sorry for the stiff bylaws the smokers have to put up with and then I'll cast my mind back to the years of discomfort in the workplace and at restaurants. The worm has turned and I say "hooray"!

  3. AAACHOOO, AACHOO, excuse me! I think I need my puffer, I hates takin' that darn puffer. Did you know that 'fragrance free' and 'unscented' do not mean the same thing? Unscented, may in fact contain natural scents but no additional scents have been added. Thought you'd find that interesting.

  4. Thanks, nova breeze. I see the "consideration" on the other side only goes as far as their loop holes.



Terence Towles Canote at A Shroud of Thoughts is hosting The 8th Annual Favourite TV Show Episode Blogathon . The popular blogathon is runn...