Being a woman affords me many beauty-related priviledges. One of which I take to heart is my perfume wearing. As you may know I absolutely adore fragrance! I write about it often even here…..
Today upon arriving to work, my co-worker announced that I was wearing too much perfume. Suprised, I told her “I am wearing the same amount that I have always worn.” In addition, I have been wearing this particular scent for the past 4 days at work. She compared my fragrance to someone else in our office who wears cologne (yes, male), which I suppose was meant as some sort of insult.
I went through all the emotions in my head, fuming, upset, etc. I thought it interesting that this came up. The week prior she had been mentioning that my ‘perfume’ was “headache material” (rude, yes?) and when I told her it was my hand sanitizer that is the same one that is used in the office, she was quiet. I was annoyed to say the least and went to talk to my boss about it. He assured me that if it was ‘too much’, he would let me know.
An hour after I was told my scent was ‘offensive’, this co-worker decided she just couldn’t possibly complete her workday and left the office! She went home? Really?
I understand that there is a ‘scent sensitive’ movement going on these days but what about the other side of the coin? I do what I always do when I get confused-I googled. I found a ton of articles on ‘scent allergies’ and then I came across this page from msn. Granted this is more of a sounding board, but these particular quotes caught my eye:
I had this exact problem with a co-worker … My hand lotion would send her allergies into a frenzy, and knock her out for days, but my co-workers hand lotion brought about no reaction in her. My conclusion? She’s a crazy hag with major issues, control and otherwise. Why is it my problem that she has an allergy problem? I have allergies, too. Should I ask my friends and family to get rid of their cats and dogs so that I don’t sneeze, wheeze, and cough when I visit their homes, or when they visit mine and bring their pet’s dander and fur on their clothes? … I have taken responsibility for my allergies (gasp!) and take an allergy medication to control my symptoms. Perhaps the solution for people with such severe scent allergies should also take responsibility (eek! the horror) and take an allergy medication. If that doesn’t work, how about trying a mask complete with respirator and hepa filter? Or, you could live in a hermetically sealed bubble to guarantee full protection from all the “off-gassing” that everyone else’s burdensome existence produces.
— Jamie, Chicago
I work with someone who is scent sensitive. Early last summer I was asked to stop wearing my perfume, since I was new here I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to be wearing it. I did what my boss asked me and never wore perfume again. However, a few months ago, this same co-worker began to accuse me of wearing perfume; she swore she could smell something on me, even though I wasn’t. My boss would come over to my desk and work with me on something just so she could see if she smelled something on me. My boss would then tell the co-worker that I wasn’t wearing any fragrance whatsoever. I had even gone to a scent free lotion to accommodate this co-worker. Yet twice in one week she accused me, only me, of wearing a fragrance. … There is a fine line when it comes to asking someone to stop wearing scents at work. I’m not going to change my laundry soap, hairspray (which I don’t wear to work), shampoo, etc., for a person I am only around 8 hours out of the day.
— Anonymous, Illinois
I have to tell ya, I am in agreement with these posters (especially the second poster, Anonymous). I am all for being ‘sensitive’ to people with allergies, but I find it “fishy” that this person thinks that hand sanitizer and perfume are the same fragrance. It makes me wonder how she will possibly be able to travel in public because fragrance is everywhere and in many different forms!
I guess I could have pointed out the many many things that she does during the course of a workday that really distract me…such as eating incredibly “stinky” food at her desk, playing her radio all day long at her desk (even when she is not there) and all her ‘baby-talk’ conversations with her significant other (Yes, she talks like a baby when she is on the phone with him-I am serious). But, I chose the high road. I am going to take it down a notch (maybe decrease my sprays?) and see how it goes. However, I don’t think it was necessary for her to literally ‘raise a stink’!!!
So tomorrow, guess I will just roll with it-with less perfume, of course.
What about you? Are you the sensitive type? Or do you find this absurd? What are your thoughts on the ‘fragrance free’ workplace?