[Setting: Sephora, in front of the perfume shelf]
Girl A: [GASP] Oh my god!! Guerlain Shalimar! Smell it! Smell the bergamot? Iris? It’s supposed to have a vanilla base. Oh my god I’m in love! I have to get this!
Girl B: [Waves perfume strip around and looks like she’s about to puke] What does bergamot even smell like? I’ve never smelled bergamot my entire life. Or iris. You know some flowers don’t even have scents? And just so you know, this is $130.
In the above situation, which happens quite often in my life, I’m usually Girl B. And at this point in the conversation, I’m usually doing one of two things:
- Passing out from having sniffed too much alcohol (and supposedly, the scent of bergamot, iris and vanilla)
- Desperately looking for coffee beans, which I’ve never spotted even once at Sephora, for the millions of times I’ve been there (and bought nothing)
I thus realized a long time ago that my sense of smell, while isn’t underdeveloped per se, isn’t one of my greatest strengths. That’s why when I came to U of T, I was pleasantly shocked by how easily distracted by bad odours I am. After all, you’d think that if someone is not blessed with the ability to appreciate the finer side of scents, the bad ones would spare him or her also. But evidently, that’s not the case.
Oh gosh, where should I start?
1. Cigarette Smoke
Now, I’m not here to preach to all you smokers out there about how smoking can cause bad, bad chemicals to immobilize the cilia in your respiratory tract and thus prevent the mucous containing pathogens and other bad, bad stuff you’ve innocently inhaled into your lungs from being efficiently expelled out of your body, causing you to eventually die from lung cancer or something equally glorious. Rather, I’m here to tell you–and this is for your own good–that after a cig or two, you smell nasty. This especially gets to me during the winter months, when students cannot survive a two-hour long lecture without a cigarette. When the break is over, they come back from smoking outside, and carry with them a stagnant odour that is especially enhanced by the cold winter air, which always ends up making me gag.
2. Your Mom’s Cooking
We all like our homemade stir fries and samosas and pitas and spaghetti and whatnot, and I have nothing against people who EAT, but when you do eat, it should at least take place at a proper time in a proper space. Like, breakfast time, lunch time, or dinner time, not During-Class-Time, or Randomly-While-I’m-Studying-Time. To illustrate, the microwave in Robarts is placed next to the cafe for a reason–they assume that after you heat your food, you take it to the cafe to eat, not to the 3rd floor study room after a grand homecoming. Personally, whenever I’m stressed out, I tend to feel nauseous enough as is. So when I’m cramming for a test, having to watch the girl sitting across the table from me gorging down kung pow chicken from a plastic lunchbox, with steam escaping, sauces running and chopsticks flying, is just too much (and I’m Chinese). You may think that it smells and tastes heavenly because of your hunger, but trust me, for the rest of us, it’s truly an appetite killer.
The same thing goes for eating cooked food during lectures. Often, because of the lack of microwaves in lecture halls (thank GOD), these foods are often consumed cold. And these do not fare well with Noam Chomsky, Marxism or cell migration.
3. Manly B.O.
When I was in first year, for my third BIO150 term test, I sat behind someone with extremely bad B.O. I almost couldn’t breathe, and I honestly think that was the reason I didn’t do as well on it as I had hoped I would (or maybe I’m just bitter towards his bodily pungency). Whether you are a guy or girl, please take good care of yourself and maintain personal hygiene–you’ll make friends more easily, and your TA might actually agree to give you that extra 2% you’ve been fighting for since the day you were born.
4. Stud Cologne and Similar Expensive Terrors
Do you ever catch those “whiffs” from guys walking past you, strutting down the street acting like they are True Studs? It’s like someone suffocating me with a Stud Pillow, and oddly enough, somehow they always smell the same (sometimes I question whether Axe is to blame). I personally think that a moderate amount of cologne can be very sexy on a guy, but when your scent has a radius of five miles, it’s time to tone it down.
The same applies for girls. The purpose of wearing perfume isn’t actually to mask any bodily scents, but rather, to act as a fragrance accent that makes you feel good about yourself. When applied, perfume reacts upon contact with your skin and releases a fragrance that’s unique to your skin. The key is to spray where the scent could be easily released, such as your pulse points, not twenty sprays from head to toe so that you end up enveloping yourself in a halo of Chanel No.5 and thus become virtually untouchable.
Also, please keep in mind that some people are very allergic to perfume and it’s best not to spray in public.
5. Feet Power
When you decide to take off your shoes while studying, please be considerate of anyone sitting around you, because feet are, after all, feet, and I know of very few people whose feet do not stink.
Just to finish things off, I’ve decided to include a list of my favourite scents, many of which I’ve been loyal to for a number of years now. I’m a floral girl, and here are my top 5:
- Kenzo: L’eauParKenzo
- DKNY: Be Delicious (The original)
- D&G: Light Blue
- Chanel: CHANCE Eau Fraîche
- Philosophy: Falling In Love