It's always interesting to hear about the perception of people on fragrances and scent related matters. So when I came across a mention* of an actual Facebook post that addressed the dreaded "old lady perfume" phenomenon, I knew it had hit a chord. The actual FB post wrote: "Dear Middle-Aged Women, please stop dousing yourselves in musky perfume. No one enjoys it but you. Thanks".
This is probably the most passive-agressive thing I have read in a long time. Let me count the ways:
1. Condescending tone: Pretty obvious, dear Facebooker!
2. Blanket statement: Obviously not all middle-aged women resort to that behaviour.
3. Confusion: What exactly is "musky" again? As we have discussed, there is a huge cultural association of musk in perfumes and most people don't even know what they're talking about (precious few have smelled real musk from the deer musk). Musky emphatically does NOT equate aldehydic, nor mossy/ dry/ powdery (most usual categories of mature women's perfume due to fashions at their heyday), nor even animalic per se, as we have determined in our extensive Old Lady vs Older Woman Perfume Wars article.
4. One iota of truthfulness, but meddled: Indeed dousing one's self with perfume might be too much. Touché! But again, "dousing" is relative. What's much to you might be little to me and so on. Who makes the rules?
5. The pièce de résistance: God forbid if anyone does anything to please themselves!! No, in this Botox-ed, plastic boobs & prosthetic butts, fake hair tresses and spinning-toned bodies' society you have to first think about how you appear to others and only later (much, much later) on what pleases yourself. If this is how we're supposed to live from now on, you can count me out. I might have more fun in my coffin.
Just because someone has a public soapbox on Facebook gives them the impression that they can vent publicly on whatever irks them on day to day life. Let us discuss at length our nose snot, isn't that interesting.
Some of us are only approaching middle-age, but we could cite many younger (or older or same-age, doesn't really matter!) people we have met, who were wearing the most obnoxious, far-reaching, oversurupy plastic-fantastic fragrant stuff that would make us want to reach for the barf bag if only we weren't brought up with piano and French.
In the end it's all a matter of choice: Affronting the issue by taking that someone close by, in private and -depending on level of intimacy- voicing your displeasure in direct, concerned and polite terms. And accepting all the while the option that you might be shot down with a "It's what I like and it's within my rights"! Which it is, you know, unless you're literally dying from some rare anaphylactic case as soon as you touch their perfumed skin. Or posting passive agressive statements on public venues (where -worst of the worst- your intended target might casually read and have no means of retorting) blanket-stating your disdain on all concerned, as if anyone gives a fig. It merely reflects on a lack of communication skills and effectiveness radar threshold on the poster's part.Which do you choose?
To rub salt on the wound (I know many would be right now tearing their hair in protest), I'm giving away a bottle of my own personal collection: a musky perfume all right, which is de trop in my own collection which already comprises many concentrations of it. An older vintage Bal a Versailles by Jean Desprez in Eau de Cologne. Draw remains open till Thursday midnight.
*mention by cykeane/mua
pic of Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin in It's Complicated via womensvoicesforchange.org