I read recently that the sign of being "a real New Yorker" was the ability to play "This Was..." as in, "This (real estate office) Was that Chinese hand laundry".
A sign of being "really almost 60" is that I remember not only "This Was", but also "That Was" as in "That Was a mimeographed flyer", "That Was how you made a long-distance phone call", "That Was when suede shoes came with their own little brush."
I also include, "That Was when women enjoyed wearing, and smelling, fragrance."
I wear cologne every day, and perfume in the evening. About the only time I don't wear any is when dining in our garden (apparently it attracts mosquitos) or visiting my doctor (the one with the raw food diet), because she has one of those pre-emptive Thank You for Not signs in her office.
Will I be restricted to home wear only, rather like smoking, a habit I never had?
When people tell me they 'can't stand smelling perfume' they invariably recount the elevator scenario: "This woman got in just doused! It was awful!" Anyone bearing an evident smell (perfume, coffee, chili dog, wet wool coat, ramen noodles) into a 16 square foot space will create an odiferous intensity. But would we say, "I am going to insist people stop carrying those noxious noodles?"
I'm in agreement with those who find heavy application of fragrance unpleasant. Fragrance is intended to be noticed only within the personal-space perimeter, roughly the length of your arm away from your body. Those who ignore this small civility supply the thin-end-of-the-wedge example that has resulted in scent-free righteousness.
If it's too-much that annoys, could we also request that you not wear that printed dress, because that's too much visual stimulation? Would you please lower your voice? I feel ill unless all public conversation is kept to library-whisper level.
The other big anti-argument is environmental sensitivity. I comply with requests for scent-free spaces.
I wonder, though, if cologne is the culprit. Are we aiming for the easy target? Could it be that years of exposure to cleaning agents, solvents, paints, and a slew of other aggressive chemicals created the problem?
It's a world of molecules, and some of them don't play nice.
Could the abysmal indoor air circulation in many office buildings exacerbate asthma more assertively than a whiff of So Pretty? How about five hours locked in the same position reading a computer screen? Might that have something to do with a migraine?
Even in scent-friendly offices, I'm willing to forgo fragrance if a colleague tells me, hand on her heart, that my scent affects her health. I value her wellness more than my pleasure. But I better not notice a bouquet of roses on her desk, wafting their heady scent over fifty square feet (yes, Erin, you), or here comes the Hiris.
The fragrances I wear these days include Chanel's 19, Floris' Edwardian Bouquet, Molyneux Quartz, Norell and Hermes Jardin sur le Nil... and I'm looking forward to many more sublimely scented years, even if I have to spend them in selected spaces.