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Post in Perfume Posse

Perfume Etiquette?

Any advice on how to deal with a really strong perfume smell?

 

I was at a play last night, and we were seated like sardines.  The woman sitting on the other side of my fiance was wearing the STRONGEST musk scent, which started giving me a migraine after about 15 minutes.  It was a 3 hour long play.

 

I didn't say anything, I just took 3 ibuprofen and sucked it up...is that really all that can be done in a situation like that?  The theater was sold out so we couldn't change seats. 

 

Re: Perfume Etiquette?

I don't think there's much else you could do if you want to see the show. Options that I see would be 1) leave, 2) ask her to leave, or 3) ask management to ask her to leave. I don't think management would get involved unless it were so incredibly over the top that the entire house smelled. And even if you did have the chutzpah to ask her to leave, I don't see that ending well. Smiley Wink

 

I'm sorry. I've had similar situations at the theatre and it is so upsetting when you spend that kind of money to have an experience ruined by <insert thoughtless or rude behavior here>.

Re: Perfume Etiquette?

Yup, it was definitely a bummer- I wouldn't probably have ever said anything because I am super shy, but wearing strong perfume to something like a play seems kind of rude to me in general.  Like, people would look at you really weird if you like, applied your lipstick to all the people sitting around you or dressed them in your coat/scarf/etc- why is perfume any different?  Don't share it with people who haven't asked! Grrr.

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Hahahaha - now I have a picture of you going over to her at intermission and saying, "Hi! I'm going to give you a free makeover now. Pucker up!!" <zooming in with fire engine red lipstick....>

Re: Perfume Etiquette?

Heh heh heh...next time Smiley Wink

 

Re: Perfume Etiquette?

lots of older people tend to go to theatre more. and as you age you lose your sense of smell and gravitate towards stronger scents... even younger people can have scent issues. i think it's wrong to assume the person is rude for wearing a perfume, i hardly think she aimed at upsetting people with her scent. Unless she pulled out a bottle next to you and proceeded to spray it it's not rude. I'm very sensitive to scents and usually carry benadryl. I dont get offended or say anything unless people are spraying perfume in an inappropriate area.

Re: Perfume Etiquette?

That *stinks* for you...lol.   Smiley Wink

 

She may not have realized how strong her perfume was.  Sometimes we cannot smell our own scents as strongly as others can.  

 

I hope you were able to enjoy the play despite the smell.  

Re: Perfume Etiquette?

Luckily it was a fantastic play, so once the pain killers kicked in I could deal with it.  Smiley Happy

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Re: Perfume Etiquette?

Out of curiosity, are you sure that wasn't just body odor?  Not that you would have been able to do anything differently, but we have a temp. engineer working for us right now who positively reeks of musk, and I know she feels "perfume is a waste of precious resources."

Re: Perfume Etiquette?

Oh dear!  No, it was definitely a perfume smell, but an "older lady" perfume (can't put my finger on which one).  The strange part was that she was a younger woman.

Re: Perfume Etiquette?

In that situation, I don't think there is anything you could have done.  I'm sure she didn't leave her house meaning to offend anyone.  I'm sorry you were so uncomfortable.  But yea, sometimes you just can't smell your own perfume.  

Whenever I wear any scent, I don't smell it on myself after a while, but others tell me they can smell it.  I'm sure she didn't realize.  It is sad, though, that you were so uncomfortable during a performance, but tis' just one of those things.  

 

The only thing I could think of is maybe saying you have an allergy, explaining nicely….and asking management to sit her on an end seat.  This way she wouldn't feel as though you thought she smelled bad, as opposed to you just having a reaction.

Re: Perfume Etiquette?

I think that I would have asked if my fiance and I could be seated somewhere else. I would explain to the management that I am sensitive to strong odors, and that her perfume was giving me a headache. 

 

There is probably not much that the woman could do now that she had already left the house and cannot take a shower. Even using the sink in the restroom wouldn't wash the odor away if she sprayed her clothing or body. Plus, it would be mortifying for her if you asked to have her move seats. 

 

Maybe she gets very sweaty/funky, and is self-conscious about it, so she uses perfume to cover it. Maybe she assumes people would rather smell perfume than body odor?

Re: Perfume Etiquette?

Yea, I was thinking that too.  It's definitely an uncomfortable situation: on one hand, you have someone getting sick off of the smell, and on the other, someone ends up terribly embarrassed : (

Re: Perfume Etiquette?

Yeah, I didn't say anything because well, what can you do?  It was a sold out Broadway show.  I think she and her husband were the oblivious type (she was  trophy wife type) because they were also eating peanut M&Ms throughout the show (there might be people with peanut allergies and you are in extremely close quarters!)  

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Aww, I'm sorry if they might have been the inconsiderate types. That's really hard to have to be uncomfortable the whole time because others are oblivious. 

 

This is a great reminder to me to be more mindful and careful of wearing too much perfume, or eating things with nuts when I'm in a theater. Smiley Happy

Re: Perfume Etiquette?

I have a friend who wears too much perfume, and she likes sweet vanilla smells that I hate. And I also feel shy to tell her about it, I feel it would be rude from me.

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Oohhhh, that's a tough situation!  I wouldn't be able to say anything either!

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Are you my friend?! I don't wear a lot but I enjoy vanilla smells, and my best friend actually found a vanilla one by victoria secret... I think?, that she likes and gifted me that for my birthday one year, years later I found out it was because she thought my other vanillas were too sweet! (since then I've moved on to more "adult" perfumes but still) try and find one you like maybe?

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If you wear one fragrance for years (as many older women do), your nose becomes desensitized to it. So you end up applying more than you should. I'm really paranoid of this happening and like to switch it up. Plus I get bored easily.

Re: Perfume Etiquette?

I can't think of what you could have done, other than cover your nose with a tissue (which I've had to do sometimes).  I find a lot of people don't know how to wear scent.  Personally, I think it should be subtle and intimate, and  unless I'm giving someone a hug, they should have no idea what scent I'm wearing.  Or perhaps the vaguest hint of something nice if you pass too closely to someone, and even then I think it should be subtle enough that they aren't sure if it's a perfume or just how you smell.

 

I have never told anyone that they're perfume is too strong for me, but I do casually discuss perfume in conversations if it comes up, and share my opinion about how subtle it *should* be.  This way you're not directly telling people to tone it down, but you're planting the idea.  Mind you, this will only work with people you come into contact with regularly, and doesn't help with too much perfume in public places.

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That is exactly how I feel about perfume.  If I can smell it when I hug you, that's great, but if i can smell it sitting next to you, it is too much!  Luckily none of my girlfriends wear heavy perfume, but if I'm in that situation, I will definitely try that conversational hinting!

Re: Perfume Etiquette?

 that's the problem I have with perfume…it's hard to tell how many sprays!  Some formulas are lighter, others are stronger and last longer.  If I spent the money, I want people to be able to smell it, but not to offend/choke them.  I mean, it's a nice feeling when someone says "oh you smell so nice! What are you wearing?".  No one has called me out on anything negative about my perfumes yet…..I hope no one is lying to me and that I am spraying it properly every time, lol.

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I hate when people where perfume to doctor's appointments. You have no idea what sort of health problems people have, and your perfume could be triggering something for them. I went to a migraine specialist a few years ago, and a woman in the waiting room was wearing the strongest perfume. She was on the other side of the room, and I could still smell her. Strong scents are known to trigger migraines--I couldn't fathom why she thought wearing a perfume to a migraine specialist where everyone in the room had migraines would be a good idea. I'm sorry, but I thought it was really rude.

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Scent really does quickly cause your body to freak out in weird ways! I am that way with lilies, and I had to leave a friend's wedding early once because the centerpieces were lilies!  We didn't mention why we were leaving, and stuck it out as long as we could (til about 11pm).

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Oh gosh Urbie, I think we may have sat next to the same woman! I was at the rock and roll hall of fame concert a few years back and the woman next to me literally bathed in perfume before she came to the concert. I paid a ridiculous amount of $ for my tickets and was not willing to move. However, I don't get migraines- I get asthma attacks and sneeze like I'm trying to get in the Guinness book of world records. I did ask her to move down a seat or two (there were open seats on her side) and she reacted like she didn't speak English (which I know she did). Ok fine! So after sneezing like a normal, respectful person into my sleeve for the first few hundred times and no longer being able to see the stage because my eyes are tearing, I started just sneezing towards her direction more and more until she finally moved!!! Yeah, I know I'm a horrible person but I did ask nicely. Anyone could've seen I was close to death. This is why the ADA (American disability act) says it's discrimination if your employer doesn't try to make reasonable accommodations at work if you are sensitive to smells. Unfortunately, it's not enforceable in theaters so I take matters into my own hands. 

 

Girl, I say work on your best fake sneezes!!!! Nothing clears a room faster! Smiley Happy

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