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Revisiting “Unusual” Sunday Scents

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Back in early 2008, I posted about the fact that I had fallen into the habit of wearing some pretty “unusual” scents to choir practice and church on Sundays. For some context on what I'm about to post now, you can read that post here.

Recently, someone who has environmental illness has joined the choir I sing with. Out of respect for this person’s request, I have refrained from using any fragrance on Sundays. This was a sad decision for me, but I wanted to be generous to a person who was suffering and not inflict further distress. Now it seems that even the soap I use to wash with or some other personal grooming product I use is still affecting this person, and a further request is that I use only unscented products from now on.

Even apart from the inconvenience and expense that would be involved in junking all the stuff I have already bought and purchasing a whole new set of things, I find this request rather too intrusive on my personal life and choices. I have noticed that I am the only person who has been asked to do this, even though I myself can detect scented products on other members of the choir, and I am beginning to wonder if I ought to question the sincerity of the person making these requests.

I do not want to be the cause of genuine distress to anyone, but I wonder how this person can manage to be around any of these other people at all, if the claims of environmental illness are genuine. Could anyone be so sensitive to smells on one person and yet not detect the scent of products that some other people use? Or is it simply a case of my fondness for fragrance having been recognized and making me a target for this person's attention, and now, demands?

I'm not about to quit the choir I’ve sung with for years, and I certainly don't want to cause anyone else to quit; still, I'm feeling singled out for a pretty drastic request to change the way I live, and I don't feel comfortable with that. Am I wrong to think this person is trying to be controlling? It certainly seems that way to me...


  1. Fred360's Avatar
    I think you have gone well beyond what is required and should quietly let the entire choir know about the requests. I sense it is actually something else. You have been way too honest and kind. Don't admit to bathing. . Suggest they see a doctor for their imagined sensitivity. How close are they to you in choir? Wear your most civet-y sent in the side closest to them.
  2. ECaruthers's Avatar
    The choir director sets the rules for the choir. Many that I know about ban fragrances. Your choir or your choir director is more liberal than those. I hope the new person doesn't ruin it for everyone.
  3. JaimeB's Avatar
    Fred 360,

    I wouldn't go out of my way to harm or unnecessarily provoke this person. What I might well do is continue to use my usual soaps and other personal care products and eliminate or drastically tone down the amount and style of scent I use to the point where it might just smell like soap, and perpetrate a pious fiction by saying I am using nothing at all. If what the others are using can’t be detected, then I should be safe doing this. I'm not out to punish this person, just to protect myself from an intrusion into my most personal choices and habits, within reason.

    By the way, I already use unscented deodorant and shaving products; my haircare stuff is routine, and only very lightly scented. The shower gel is use is the only moderately scented thing, and that mostly washes off my body...
    Updated 29th November 2011 at 11:39 PM by JaimeB
  4. ROtto's Avatar
    Have you ever seen Todd Haynes's movie "Safe"?

    Since there is a strong link between fragrance and memory, perhaps you once wore something the person couldn't stand, and now everytime that person sees you, they "smell" that fragrance.
  5. Orgoglio italianO's Avatar
    I think somebody is just being an ass... If you stopped wearing fragrance on Sunday and you smell frags on other people even after you stopped they still complain. I think it's just that person just being difficult for some reason. It was nice of you to even do that most people would have ignored it and said tough. It was nice of you :-)
    I just get the feeling this person has some kind of weird make it difficult for you syndrome for some reason. You did a good deed to please someone because of their problem (so called). I say tough Cannoli to that person. Their just being ridiculous
  6. Aiona's Avatar
    I like ROtto's theory, but I suspect Orgoglio italianO's theory is probably the more likely.
  7. kumquat's Avatar
    This person who shall henceforth be known as; Bubble Boy, is without a doubt a control freak. And I say it's 'War'! He (or she) has no right to object to such a faint odor unless it causes that person immediate respiratory distress. In that case, one wonders, as you say, how they can even get along in the real world anyway? I would ignore these complaints. You should complain of his breath.


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