Man, my eyes are burning. This shit smells worse than cat piss, too. I blame all the blue haired, little old ladies, anyone who works in a department store, horny teenaged boys, and pre-pubescent girls who insist upon dressing up like little whores in a French red light district, for bringing this evil curse upon me. I’m talking about cheap, tawdry, perfume and body deodorants.
While taking our teenage son out for his daily “crash and dash” lessons (he’s a new driver — just a warning for all you locals), we stopped by two local stores: Hallmark and Kohl’s. My daughter was searching for a Webkinz — ever hear of those? Yea, those stuffed animals some incredible genius invented for the sole purpose of separating me from my money. I swear, I’m gonna kick the ass of the person who created this latest internet “must have”.
For those of you unfamiliar with Webkinz, here’s how it works. Every seven seconds, some unknown group of marketing savants meets in the dark basement of a tall building, devising new “stuffed’ animals for their assigned demographic: Children ages 3-9. While they “think” they are targeting only this age group is beyond me — I haven’t been able to cure my 13-year old daughter of this affliction called “IWantItNow!” since the damn things first emerged.
Wait — isn’t this similar to the whole “Beanie Babies” craze of the 90s? Kind of — only worse. These animals come with — hold on a sec, you’ll love this one — interactive capabilities! Apparently, the days of just “playing” with a cutesy, stuffed animal are long gone. To hell with being creative enough to make up little stories and scenarios with your two dollars’ worth of fuzzy material and fiberfill carefully crafted by Factory Workers #123 and #346 from somewhere inside the bowels of a sweatshop factory in Indonesia. Now your little darling gets the chance to go “interactive”! Nothing says quality parenting better than sticking your 4-year old in front of a computer for six hours a day and allowing them to “chat” with other Labrador retrievers and goldendoodles from all over the world. Way to go, technology!
I see I have wandered off track here. My original rant really has nothing to do with those insidious stuffed animals. It has everything to do with the places we went today that sells them, however. I don’t know why every Hallmark store I have ever walked into smells like a bunch of little old ladies swathed in Faberge just set up camp inside the front doors. I swear, my eyes begin to burn the second I open up the glass doors. Just walking from the front to the back of the store is liking running a military gauntlet where they use perfume spritzers instead of swords. Nothing says “survival training” better than spending ten minutes in a noxious cloud of perfume without wearing a gas mask, running out, eyes burning, lungs in full vapor-lock, and taking in big gulps of fresh air.
But my pain didn’t end there. Noooo. After the stop at Hallmark, we had to run over to Kohl’s to get my husband a new watch. And yes, once again had to pass through the perfume section. In fact, we had to stop in the section so my husband could peruse the Timexes. And this is where little old ladies and young girls need to be banned from ever visiting. While hubby looked at watches, my daughter decided she’d imbue herself with a big ol’ spritz of “cheap ho” perfume. I swear, the stuff was potent enough to stun a water buffalo into complete submission.
I used to wear perfume, years ago back when I first met my husband and was trying to get laid a lot more often than I need to now. My perfume of choice was a lovely, subtle smell called “White Linen” by Estee Lauder. It smelled of Lilies of the Valley, and wasn’t the least bit overpowering. One small dab on my wrist lasted for the entire day. But, I stopped wearing it when I realized that sniffly nose I was sporting by 6 pm every evening was actually an allergic reaction I was having to the scent. My eyes would itch, my lungs would start to close up, and I’d swear I was developing a cold. By next morning, however, I’d feel fine. How I went for so long before I was able to connect the dots between perfume and allergy, I’ll never know. I just decided I’d stop wearing perfume — I didn’t want the hassle of having my lungs close up on me on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, my choice to stop wearing perfume doesn’t protect me from the little old blue haireds who choose to bathe in theirs. You know the types — because their smell announces their arrival five minutes before you ever see them sneaking up to you like some sort of “perfumed, blue wigged” ninja.
I have two theories about why they do these things:
1. They no longer have a reliable sense of smell. Like our hearing and sight, our sense of smell weakens as we grow older. Therefore, what they think is a “dab” is really a bath in perfume. They just can’t smell it as strongly.
2. It’s really a cover up. For what? I don’t want to be cruel or crude here, but I think it’s a way for them to cover up the other smells associated with aging: bladder control issues, gastrointestinal emissions, and bodily odors.
Last time I checked, Miss Manners frowned heavily on going out in public reeking like a bus station urinal. Can it happen to me someday? Probably — but I also believe there comes a time when adults need to consider wearing diapers again. Adult diapers. And carry a diaper bag at all times, if necessary.
As for gastrointestinal emissions — well, I’m just as guilty for that as anyone. However, I haven’t reached the stage in my life where I’m required to eat Metamucil and drink a quart of prune juice a day. My innards are still relatively intact, so anything with extra fiber hasn’t worn down my tract to the point of a bad case of the walking farts–yet. It’s ironic when you think about farts — at 13, they’re hilarious. At 82? Not so much. So, on goes the perfume to cover up the smell of last night’s lentil soup now wafting through the church’s rafters.
Bodily odors. Ugh. As a mother of a teenage hockey player, nothing smells worse than a hockey bag with 20 lbs of gear shoved into the backseat of the minivan moments after an on-ice session. That smell can knock a vulture off a meat wagon. Which leads me to another moment in time when “perfume” became my worst enemy.
Apparently, another marketing guru come up with the idea for a teenage boy’s deodorant called “Axe”. They showed commercial after commercial of nerdy looking boys spraying themselves with this, only to end up with gorgeous, cheerleader type girls hanging all over them. Nothing says “I might get laid” to a horny teenage boy better, huh? So, out came the pleas: “Mom — I want some Axe so I can smell good for my non-existent girlfriend!” Granted, my son needed deodorant. Badly. So, I gave in, bought him his own “horndog-in-a-can” and told him “Use it sparingly, and only after hockey practice”.
Well, mom — that was all well and good, but did you stop to think that ALL the other boys on his team saw that same freaping commercial? Yes, 17 cans of Axe, 17 horny, stupid teenaged boys and one big Axe fight, stinkin’ up the locker room. By the time he came out of the locker room, my eyes were already burning. By the time we got home, I was partially blinded, and on the verge of total lung collapse. All because the entire team of boys assumed the same thing — “Axe gets you laid.” Wrong, Axe irritates the shit out of your mother’s respiratory system, and she refuses to let you wear it in the house, ever.
I digress again. This rant really isn’t about teenage boys or pre-pubsecent girls with stuffed animal obsessions. It’s about little old ladies who insist on going out in public dripping in horrible, irritating scents. Ladies, you’re darling, you served your purpose in life, now it’s time to listen to what I have to say. Your excessive use of cheap, clearance-priced perfume found at the bottom of a “reduced-for-quick-sale-purchase” bin at the local Big Lots has got to stop. It is annoying and, for some of us, a real health concern. I’m sure you’d never intentionally set out to harm me. But, before you go out, do me a favor. Ask a friend (one who has a much better sense of smell than you) to give you a good, all over body sniff. If nothing offensive is coming from your pants or your armpits, then consider laying off the perfume. If it is your pants or your armpits, then have some self pride and fix yourself — you old hot mess. I don’t want to be able to smell you ten minutes before, or three hours after, you dodder by.