When I returned home from the office yesterday evening, I was struck by an immediate sense of wrongness. The thing that grabbed my attention as soon as I walked in the door was the sickly, cloying odour of cheap perfume hanging in the air. It was the type scent that brutally rapes your nostrils and makes the smell of cat pee seem rather subtle by comparison. This was exceedingly troubling, because my wife has always been very low-key on the fragrance front. She normally just uses an anti-perspirant and as a result, you have to be within biting distance to smell her at all. My first thought was, “Oh, no. Please tell me she hasn’t suddenly become one of those awful middle-aged women with no sense of smell”.
I found my wife in the kitchen feeding the baby. Well, more or less. One could describe the activity as being closer to body-painting with food than actual ingestion and digestion, but it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. I successfully managed to ignore the alternative use of yoghurt as hair gel and I approached the matter from an oblique angle. “Sweetheart”, I began, “I don’t mind if you have an affair with another woman, but I am hurt that you didn’t invite me to watch”. This poor attempt at levity earned me the usual blank look of incomprehension, so I was forced to abandon the oblique approach and ask directly about the offensive effluvium befouling our happy home. I felt immense relief mixed with sympathy when my unfortunate spouse related the horrific tale of how she had been hugged by a friend’s mother. The unpleasant result being that this person’s nasty stench had rubbed off on her.
I used to work in an multi-storey office block and I would climb ten flights of stairs in preference to sharing a lift with creatures like that. One of the things that still gives me night sweats is the thought of being in an enclosed space with a headache-inducing perfume wearer. I twitch whenever I see anyone with a pseudo-beehive bouffant hair-do and floral dress (it’s a kind of post-nasal traumatic stress disorder for me). These women do not so much wear perfume as wield it.
There ought to be a law. Hang on, there is. Who do I see about getting the Geneva Convention enforced?