Incensed by scents

Everybody knows I’m a picky eater, but the lesser-known fact is that I’m also a picky smeller.

Is it possible my sense of smell is stronger than that of other people? Am I extra sensitive to odors? Instead of a “sixth sense,” do I have an extraordinary fifth sense of smell?

Artificial body lotions and perfumes drive me crazy.

If I wanted to get a whiff of a flower, I’d visit a garden. If I wanted to breathe in the scent of cucumber melon, I’d open the refrigerator. If I wanted to experience the aroma of freshly baked cookies, I’d buy some break-and-bake cookies, break them, and bake them.

I don’t need my neighbor’s body lotion to imitate every smell from apricot to zinnias.

To the lady who sits in my row at synagogue—either my sense of smell is way out of whack (which is possible) or yours needs to be examined. Your headache-inducing perfume raises the density of the air. There must be some environmental code of which you are in violation.

Of course, I can easily solve the problem of inhaling my neighbor’s overwhelming odor by moving a few seats away. The worst problem is when the scent comes from me.

The few days between when I ran out of my favorite deodorant (“unscented”) and when I could get to the drugstore to replenish my supply, I had to make do with what the student center sold: the “regular” scent. “Regular,” I soon learned, does not equal “unscented.” I couldn’t stand to be around myself. Unfortunately, I was always with me. I couldn’t even avoid myself for a few minutes to breathe. And worse yet, there was nobody to listen to my complaints.

If I wasn’t such a compulsive smeller, maybe I’d be open to more exotic foods—like oranges and coffee, for example.

Is there something I can do about this overbearing sense of smell with which I have been cursed? Should I hope for stuffy noses? Should I isolate myself in an unscented room?

Until then, back off on the perfumes and colognes. If I like you, I’ll let your natural pheromones tell me.

My sensible solution is one that makes no scents.


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