Monday, December 03, 2012

Selective Anosmia

The winter holiday season is fast approaching, and that means a lot of holiday markets for me; which in return means unexpected interactions with random market-goers. This can sometimes mean meeting a very surprising perfume-lover that I would never guess are remotely interested in scent - construction workers or lady truck drivers, for example. Or a stay-at-home mom who used to have a fine-tuned nose until she got a very bad sinus infection and lost her sense of smell for a few years. It was actually around Christmas time, and as she was picking a tree, she finally noticed the smell and cried with delight: "I can smell the spruce! I can smell it!". Everyone were of course weirded out by what we mostly take for granted - but for her she was finally able to enjoy food again (and not over-eat), she stopped putting too much garlic in the dishes she made and became all around a happier person.

But touching stories such as this are more of a rarity. More often than never, market-goers simply glance at my booth in polite amusement, and the moment they are offered to come closer to experience the scents, they would mostly decline. "I can't wear scent to work" is one of the most common reactions (then wear it when you don't work! I feel the urge to reply, but don't...); or "I'm allergic to perfume" is the more common reply. How do these allergies manifest is a totally different question, and more often than never you discover that they are allergic to food, not perfume. But the excuse is convenient. Other times, market-goers are more honest: "I'm not interested in scent whatsoever" is a reaction I heard last week at Porotbello West. Whoa! You are simply going to wipe out an entire sense? Seriously?!

That's what I would call "Selective Anosmia". You're choosing to be blind.  Or deaf, for that matter. You're blocking out an entire aspect of your life simply because...? Well, in that case, please don't ruin it to the rest of us mortals who like to stop and smell the roses, and enjoy a dab of perfume from time to time. Please don't ruin my world just because you don't care about it. Let's just go our separate ways, and I will wear my perfumes, and you will just choose not to smell them. Then we can all live happily ever after and I might even be able to make a living out of what I love, because "selective anosmiacs" like you won't be aggressively advocating for scent-free world and forcing everyone else to go by their scentless rules. Amen.

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At December 03, 2012 4:53 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Agreed. There are many foods people are allergic to (e.g. peanut butter, milk, shellfish), or simply don't like but they never say: "I'm not interested in food whatsoever" or advocate a wholesale ban of those particular foods so that others can't enjoy them.
You may also hate to eat milk or cheese just plain and on its own (as I do), but you can still enjoy them in pizza or espresso. Likewise, with scent even if you don't wish to wear perfume, you can still enjoy it in candles, body cream, bath salts or other ways.

At December 03, 2012 8:37 PM, Anonymous LCT said...

Amen indeed! Thank goodness I work at home so I'm always fragrant :)

At December 09, 2012 1:17 AM, Anonymous brie said...

Well put, Ayala! I work with a perfume despising individual and my husband reacts to commercial scents by complaining of headaches and nausea (this is most pronounced in the spring and fall when his allergies act up in a very wicked way). The only fragrances I can wear without both of them baulking are pure essential oils. Perhaps if you explained to your customers that natural oils are not as overwhelming and actually have healing qualities and health benefits they might be more inclined to try...just a thought :)


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