I'm a middle aged white male and I suffer from a serious disorder:
My olfactory sense is abnormally heightened.
There I admitted it. It's been like that since I was a small child.
Cheese smelled horrible to my nostrils. My mom had to force me to eat cheese.
Opening a fresh jar of peanut butter and taking a whiff would send me vomiting.
Lately in July, from a simple stroll in the Parisian metro between La Defense and L'Arc de Triomphe stations, my nose was easily offended by various smells.
The underlying human crowding scent is probably a mixture of pores, sweat, fabric macerating in moisture, CO2 and H2O exhaled with every breath (along with volatile molecules from food remnants and other sources of decay) and artificial masking scents (read deodorants, perfumes, balms, etc.)
My traveling companion did not flinch.
I asked: Are you smelling all this? Yuk.
And he replied: Smelling what?
It must be in our DNA. Perfumistas are very special people who have a heightened sensitivity to odors. The faintest odor can trigger emotions, a warm happy feeling or even rage sometimesin my own case.
Just as that woman who was speaking loudly to her companion in the train cabin I was in, her less than fresh breath was wafting through and hit me in the face.
I turned away and could not bear another 5 minutes of that subway ride.
The best feeling in the world followed on that hot Sunday morning when the doors opened and we emerged into the station. I did not have to put up with that horrible smell anymore.
Busy European cities have a bad rep for malodorous scents. Between the diesel fuel exhaust, the crowded public transportation and the decaying various items on streets (not to mention dog poop!) they get their fair share of criticism. Europeans are often thought of as not smelling fresh. I must admit that with the high percentage of smokers over there, the likelihood of that stale tobacco scent lingering in their clothing or even in their hair, the reputation is well earned.
Despite that, the beauty of monuments in Europe keeps drawing more and more tourists from the rest of the world. I dream of my European getaway for about 11 months of the year. And yet one bad scent in the Paris Metro can ruin the day for someone like me in one of the prettiest cities on the planet.
It's like capturing a vapor in the nostrils and not being able to get rid of!
The funny part is that those strangely malodorous molecules can also be used in perfumery. I blind-bought a bottle of A-Men Pure Havane last year and the tobacco alcaloid molecule used in it triggered the scent of halitosis in my mind.
I could not ever wear it and gave it away.
It is strange that some people don't even perceive such things and would wear the scent continuously not knowing its resemblance to a putrid molecule.
On a different note, I have so many parts of my body covered in perfumes I'm testing most of the time that in the end, I choose to leave my house without any scent to "scent myself" in the classic sense of wearing perfume.
Try this combo: Shiseido's Feminite' du Bois on my left arm, Kenzo's KenzoAmour Parfum on my right arm and Comme Des garcons Wonderwood on my left hand.
What a beautiful combination! Not a traditional one at all.
But it worked! It put a smile on my face...Who needs any spritzing in the neck with that trio in the background?
Please tell me your experiences with scent and do comment on what you wear when going out.
Knowing that you probably can't keep from spraying something to try on a part of your body for more than 60 minutes...