The Perfume Radical

photoIt turns out that nail polish may not have been my gateway makeup. I realized recently that I have worn perfume for a very long time. I feel undressed without it. I love the aroma surrounding me. I know others enjoy it because I often receive comments about how nice it smells.

This simple accoutrement brings me joy. There I said it. There is no other reason to wear perfume (for me at least) other than I enjoy it. I try to pick out a new scent each time I purchase perfume. I would have stayed with “Sensi” by Giorgio Armani forever, but it was discontinued. It suited me perfectly, had a classy, well-rounded floral scent and managed to last all day. Now that I have worn many different scents for a period of time, noticing a hint of a particular perfume can take me back to a period in my life.

Unfortunately, like so many other enjoyable things in our lives, our increasingly intolerant society is beginning to insist that many work places should be “scent free” as though shampoo and deodorant are unscented. Lets not forget the automatic air fresheners that are sprayed in many washrooms either! Most people appear to enjoy the fleeting smell of a nice perfume, the operative word there being “fleeting”.

Whenever the topic of the “scent free workplace” comes up, I make sure I mention that I wear perfume everyday. If you apply it properly, no one should be offended. It should never be noticeable beyond your arm’s length. Which means that only those that you are directly next to you would ever know you are wearing it.

When I say this people are often shocked. First, we have all become accustomed to accommodating everyone around us as much as possible. So it is politically incorrect to admit I do something, for pleasure alone, that some people have said bothers them. Second, if I am wearing perfume, why hasn’t anyone brought the “scent free” policy to my attention? The truth is that very few people actually have a true reaction to perfume. The policy got broad acceptance because of those very few individuals who wear too much scent and that can be unpleasant if you need to work near it or can’t get away from it.

I do enjoy noticing the perfume during the day and my impression is others do as well. This applies equally well to fingernails. I enjoy the appearance of them throughout the day. My little artist enjoys painting them, perfecting the finish, matching them to my clothing or to the lighting.

Perhaps I’m a radical. I am tired of the smallest of minorities deciding the behaviour of the majority. We cannot reduce all inconvenience to zero. We cannot reduce all risk to zero. Is it wrong to simply enjoy things, even if there is a small but real chance that someone might be inconvenienced?

These small things are unimportant in the large scheme of life. I could not argue that I would not be able to live without my perfume, or nail polish, but they do bring us into the moment. Noticing my perfume or my nails brings a flash of joy and appreciation at unexpected times. I can see why these superficial things are important to me. They can remind me that life can be simple, that small things can make a big difference and everything is not about something larger.

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