Out to breakfast this morning and as we were being seated I asked to be moved immediately to another booth (before my butt even hit the seat in the first one.) The guy in the booth behind me had bathed in cologne, the type that all macho men wear — overpowering stinky. Yuck.
It reminded me of a boss I had (creepy Matt) who used what I decided must have been a DIY blend of Old Spice, Jade East, and Musk. I worked for him about three weeks, all the time stuffing up and getting massive headaches from the smell, before I got up the courage to explain that I was thus affected by his cologne.
His response? He told me in no uncertain terms that it was my problem — likely one caused by hormones because “all women have hormonal problems.” He said it was because I was menopausal. (Actually he said I was going through “the change” because he was much too cultured to use the term menopause.) Aside from the fact that his knowledge of menopause was faulty (I was 25 at the time), I thought he was an ASS for making it my problem.
He actually suggested I see a doctor because I was overly sensitive, “you know how women get.” Needless to say, I didn’t work for him much longer. Sadly, it was a great job that I hated to walk away from, but the headaches were killing me.
I grew up in a home with a smoker and I don’t remember the smoke bothering me. But, as I grew older heavy scents were the sure precursor to intense headaches and congestion. First, I couldn’t stand cigarette or cigar smoke, then it was torture to walk down detergent aisles in a store, then came the worst …. heavy colognes.
I’m confused about why people (men and women) apply cologne so heavily. Do they not bathe? Do they think it’s sexy? Are they compensating for low self-esteem? Do they want to get noticed? Do they have faulty olfactory glands? Or, are they just completely unaware?
I refrain from asking them because my mom taught me to be more polite and because good old Matt demonstrated the worst kind of response, one I’m not interested in hearing again. If someone told me my cologne bothered them, I would be embarrassed and apologetic and I wouldn’t over apply it ever again.
I gave up cologne and scented lotions years ago. I now buy unscented everything and carry a little Vick’s inhaler tube with me at all times to disguise stinky stuff. I’ve used it in theaters, department stores, elevators, and like this morning, restaurants. Lots of restaurants, because I’d rather have menthol smelling/tasting food than some cheesy dude’s idea of raw sex appeal while I’m eating my meal.
But, then again, I’m the kind of person who stops for people in cross-walks. You know, overly sensitive.