Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Are we obsessed with smelling good?

I've been thinking about this for a while, but a radio interview I heard recently has resolved my opinion. We are all obsessed with smelling "good". 

The interviewee was an expert on migraines, saying oen of the major triggers for people who were susceptible to them was perfume. She also mentioned that most commercial perfumes contained petrochemicals (implying buying them supported the evil oil industry) which was kind of scary. She said life for the migraine-sufferer could be extremely trying because we love in a world where everything - ourselves, our cars, our houses - is perfumed. 

I noticed recently during my parents-in-law's visit that MIL had bought a scented reed diffuser for their room.  The room didn't smell bad, as far as I could tell; she just wanted it to smell better. 

I am particularly biased against car an house air fresheners. I find the scents overwhelmingly strong and privately think that those home spray things with a timer may represent the pinnacle of frivolous First World products. That said, I don't have children so maybe I shouldn't judge others who have some difficult smells to deal with in their residence. 

I do however wear perfume every day on myself, and though it only lasts the morning on my skin, enjoy smelling "pretty".  I barely spare a thought for my fellow train seatmate whose stomach is probably roiling at the wafting cloud of Marc Jacobs at 7am. 

Is this obsession with smelling nice and having our surroundings smell "better" a recent invention? Up until a few decades ago we weren't bathing every day and probably only rich people used fragrences to cover seriously horrible body odour - or other household smells. Can you imagine what the world smelt like before running water and garbage collection in cities?

I stopped wearing perfume for a week recently to see if it was causing my occasional headaches; with no effect, so I'm back wearing it again. I am trying not to drown myself in it though. 

Do you surround yourself with nice smells? Do you worry it's causing your headaches?

1 comment:

  1. Smelling pretty was always one of my obsessions (and pleasures!)… until I fell pregnant. Then, all of a sudden, even the most innocent waft of perfume would literally have me gagging!

    I'm not sure if it's something that'll pass post-baby, but in the meantime, I'm enjoying keeping things simple with a nicely scented shampoo and body wash :)



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