Tuesday, April 21, 2015

In Defence of Scent

Canadians have a knack for taking the fun out of things. For example: the constant push for scent-free policies. So far, these have only been gracing individualized spots, such as workplaces (I've encountered them in countless office buildings), recreational facilities (I've seen them, to my horror, in the community and recreational centres around town, and of course in gyms, Pilates and yoga studios) and naturally, in municipal and governmental offices (where people are, understandably, rather grouchy and touchy about their personal spaces). No signs have been spotted in public transit yet, thank goodness. Although it would have been nice if there were gentle reminders about the benefits of maintaining personal hygiene and abstaining for dousing oneself in more than one or two alcoholic beverages in each 24 hour cycle. Because in some bus lines (especially those going towards the direction of the rising sun), the stench of untoward humanoids whose diet comprises of fermented yeas beverages is abound.

So when I heard this mini radio essay about the woes of a scent-sensitive journalist, I was simultaneously compassionate towards her experience (breathing shards of glass is more often than never a very accurate description of the wafts of scent I get from department-store fragrances); and also very dismayed at the idea of regulating yet another area of our lives.

It's interesting to read the comments to this broadcast online and discover that I'm not alone in that view. Phew.

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At April 22, 2015 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard that broadcast too and was disheartened. Reading the comments, it seems like the majority of commenters disapprove of any kind of scented products. :-(
While I am a considerate perfume wearer (scentless when hanging out with my asthmatic friend and when conducting workshops for people with chronic health conditions), I feel constrained on other occasions by anti-scent bias of so many in Vancouver.

-- Lindaloo

I carry a small bottle of Samsara in my purse so I can sniff the sprayer on those transit occasions that require such relief.

At May 15, 2015 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lot of people wrongly assume that people sensitive to scents want to take the fun out of everything. But would you also think that a person in a wheelchair needing ramps and special entrances built is just being a debbie downer? Changing the way we do things makes everyday life a little easier for people with disabilities. Becoming ill from perfume is a disability in Canada. It's supported by the Canadian Human Rights Commission under the term Environmental Sensitivities.

It is unfortunate that you see accommodating a disability as someone trying to take away your fun. People who get ill from perfume have a hard time securing a job, being in public spaces, (that includes nightlife, social events), transit, etc because other people refuse to stop wearing scented products. Imagine having a disability that was controlled entirely by other people's habits and whims.

We have every right to breathe clean air and be productive members of society. Second-hand fragrance is very much the same as second-hand smoke.

That being said, I realize this is a perfume business blog, so you'll probably ignore all this until you have to... when the government makes legislation banning these products. If I were you, I would be proactive and seek out an alternative line of work because a scent-free society is the future.

At May 17, 2015 12:06 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Dear Anon,

Scents and smells is part of our world just like the other senses - sight, smell, touch, sound are all part of life - both pleasures and suffering.
My daughter is autistic, so I know more about disabilities than you can even begin to imagine.

Also, I have myself some allergies, for example: to tree pollen. Your fantasy about having a scent-free world is about as realistic and controlling as my fantasy about uprooting all the flowering trees that make me sneeze violently very spring. That would be destructive, disrespectful and unreasonable. What I *should* do (and actively do) is treat the cause of allergies (or in your case - sensitivities) which could be related to immune system weakness, or emotional issues that make me (and millions of other individuals) prone to being so overreactive to something as harmless as tree pollen.

There is a fine balance between how much an individual has to adjust and adapt to the environment; and how much the environment (read: society) needs to accommodate those who are sensitive/different/disabled etc.
If you were to *carefully* read what I said, rather than rant on what is clearly my own personal blog - you'd see that what I'm trying to do here is different:
1) I am constantly educating people on the proper use of fragrance
2) I create scents that are not toxic and are environmentally friendly, made from pure botanical plant essences.

Regarding your comment about it being a "perfume business blog" - and implying that I only care about money, profit and not about the well-being of others. That's nonsense. Ditto about me needing to seek another job. I wish you much success in finding healing to your scent-sensitivity; and find joy in the sense of smell. I feel sad that you'd feel the need to eliminate an entire sense out of your life and am sending you many healing wishes and prayers.

At May 17, 2015 4:04 AM, Anonymous kathleen said...

Dear anon,

I have never read such a load of uninformed garbage. In fact it is so ridiculous, I am sure it must be a joke.

Cheers, Kathleen

At May 17, 2015 3:27 PM, Blogger jolav.blog said...

It is funny, that the scent-free environments are hardly ever smoke-free. 'Smoke-freeness' is so touchily enforced, it is only partially effective. I spend 2 days/ wk in a so-called scent free building, which polices scent wearing individuals (mind you, perhaps, excessively in fairness); but does absolutely nothing about the elevators, bathrooms and common areas reaking of smoke of cigarettes and other 'smokables' after each coffee break, when the smokers come back inside. The sensitive people could not care less about anyone's perfume with such a presence of smoke. Scent-free world is indeed unrealistic, as long as these odd standards exist... Oh, and I am wearing my tiny doses of botanical perfume, while at it.


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