Thursday, June 21, 2007

i can feel a migraine coming on

i have a dilemma. i cannot tolerate things that smell. many scents make me sneeze and go all sinus-y, and others give me moderate to severe headaches. my co-worker started wearing this new perfume and yesterday it scent (ha, ha) me into a sneezing fit. today, the smell is so strong that she leaves a stinky trail whenever she walks by. should i say something to her? part of me thinks that it would be rude, as she should be able to wear perfume if she wants to. the rest of me thinks that she is being rude to me. maybe i should write to an advice columnist.

i think a little clarification is necessary. first, she is one of my superiors, but is not so high up that i couldn't go to the Big Boss. However, before doing such a thing, i feel it would be best to try to sort it out directly with her first. Secondly, she already knows about my nose sensitivity. i actually remembered the day she ordered the perfume online. she said, "oh i hope it doesn't bother sara too much," which is another reason why i think she's being rude and not making an innocent mistake. my solution for today is that i've frequently been getting up and taking fresh air walks outside. if she says anything to me about it, i will say, "well, i need to get some air because your perfume is making me feel sick." which may be passive-aggressive, but it's also true. if she makes a habit of drowning herself in perfume then i will go to my boss.

i presented the anatolian mittens to their recipient last night, and they were well received. sadly enough, giving them away made me want to run out and knit another pair of colorwork mittens. i'm resisting the temptation, because god knows it would take me another year to knit a second pair. must. not. get foiled by Mittens. Mittens + Sara = BAD. No. More. Mittens.

i haven't had time this week to knit much. here are the wick socks in their current state. the lighting was bad due to much storminess today, so i take no responsibility for the lack of accurate colors. i'm up to about 5.5 inches on the feet.
Progress on Spicy's Wick Socks

i need to lie down.


  1. I have the same problem with scents, and especially right now at work (one specific perfume a coworker wears always sends me into a bad headache place (sometimes to a migraine, sometimes just a bad headache). I never really know what to do either, so I am useless on that point.

  2. I guess you have to put yourself in her shoes. If you were unintentionally (let's assume that's what it is) making someone physically ill by something in your grooming habits, wouldn't you want to know? Maybe send her a gentle email? (I hate face to face contact).

    My favorite experience with this is the last office I worked at one of the Deans was violently allergic to perfumes, strong soaps, etc. Her corner of the hallway was a "Fragrance Free Zone" (she had humidifiers and signs declaring it that). What did she give me for xmas? A little scented trinket. Most hilarious thing ever!

    Is it just me but are you getting some serious identical pooling? Or is it supposed to be like that?

  3. I totally sympathize, as I'm the same way. When I go in theaters or airplanes, I always fear that I'll have some perfumey old lady sitting next to me. If I were you, I would go to your supervisor and explain the situation. They should bring up the issue with your coworker, and then you can remain anonymous. Unless it's a more casual work environment, in which case I would say something. Say you're allergic or something. People understand more when you say the "A" word.

  4. I always wonder when people wear enough perfume/cologne to leave an almost visible trail behind them - if they're soaking themselves enough to make me pass out, how can it not bother them?

    I would go to the supervisor or HR person and plead allergy.

  5. I agree-- go to your coworker and say, "I really like the scent of your perfume, but I am sensitive to fragrances, and I seem to be particularly allergic to this one."

    If that seems awkward you can ask a supervisor to institute a fragrance-free policy in the whole office.

    We have that policy in our office, and I know it's just one person who is allergic, but nobody complains about it. I'm not allergic, but I like the policy anyway. It protects me lotions and perfumes I think are stinky (like patchouli, ew), or guys who like to overdose on the aftershave and cologne, etc.

    Not only that, but if it makes you physically ill, legally they have to make that accommodation.

  6. I have the same problems with perfumes and odors. I am a 'nez' very smell oriented. Perfumes, like pot, is very different, much stronger and more irritating, now days than it once was and people are using is more. If only I could get people to wear Chanel #5 in small does, then everything would be copacetic. How to get the offender to stop polluting your world is a tough one. If she were a subordinate, it'd be easy, just tell her to ax the perfume. But if she's on the same level or above, it's impossible. The onus is on you to have to take allergy meds and stay away from her as much as possible. I am such a bitch, I would probably take up the subject with her, but it would certainly start up a small problem with her. It's totally nor fair. I feel for you.

  7. me again. Your commenters have given me an idea. She's creating an unhealthy work environment for you and the rest of the office, as if she were lighting up ciggies at her desk. You could make it a formal health related complaint to your HR person, or your boss. If this continues, you might consider doing just that.

  8. I soo love perfume. I love essential oils also. I can't imagine not wearing my scent for the day. It's me! I never understand the allergy thingy cause I mean before work I am using so many products...each with its own scent-body soap, shampoo, conditioner,body lotions and oils, deodorant/antiperspirent,baby powder, toothpaste, hair wax, hair shine, hair fiber, hair spray and then lastly before dressing perfume.I cannot imagine being scentless.I don't think the stores stock it. Our world is scented.
    I hope you don't thik this is bitchy. I just saying.

  9. I am lucky that I work with all men who do not wear cologne; however, throughout the company there are people who bathe themselves with their perfume or cologne. It literally will make me sick. :9

    I like to use a mist of body spray. That's it.

    Sorry about your headaches, and if it was me being the one causing your problems, I would want to know because I know how bad migraines hurt!

    Feel better.

  10. I had the same problem a couple of years ago, and I solved it the way that Grace suggested -- "That's a nice scent, so I'm really bummed to have to say this, but it's giving me a blinding headache..."

    My cubicle neighbor quit smoking a few years back, and he went through a phase where his sense of smell was all out of whack, and absolutely doused himself in cologne. I didn't want to embarrass him, so I took massive doses of antihistamines while I was at work. He eventually eased up on it.

    Chilloften, it's a weird thing. I use a few products that have a scent, but nothing that's intended to remain scented for very long after use. Shampoo's O.K., but scented body lotion is questionable. Perfumes, after-shaves, anything intended to linger, give me piercing, eye-watering headaches.

  11. wow, chilloften, you use all that stuff every morning? it must take you forever to get ready! seriously.

    i agree with suzannabanana. i can only use very mild soaps like dove, i wear unscented deodorant, no scented body lotions, not even scented lip gloss. it's hard to explain to someone who doesn't share your experience, but i hope that if you've ever had a throbbing headache that makes you feel like you might throw up at any moment, perhaps you can relate to my resentment towards the person who makes me feel that way, regardless of cause.

    and yes, bezzie, the socks are pooling identically, and no it is not intentional. i'm sure i could not duplicate the result if i tried.

  12. Yes I use alot of beauty products. Make-up too. It only takes 1/2 hr or so. BUT.........I work at a hospital and have to smell terrible things and I don't won't those smells lingering onto me. And I get to move around my whole shift never having to sit right next to lucky me....even sometimes getting to knit in my corner sitting area....I love that. And I love when a good smelling Dr. comes in all freshened up and smelling fine. But if someone smelled bad and made me feel sick I would probable tell them or say things near them about it. Do that. Tell her.



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