Dear Abby: My problem is my mother-in-law and her abundant use of perfume. The last time she visited, it was so bad we had to open our windows to air out the rooms. (This was in January in Minnesota.) My husband addressed the problem with her when I was pregnant, but now that the baby is here she’s back to her old habits.
We are all sensitive to perfumes and get headaches when exposed to it. When she visits, we can’t get away from the smell. I don’t wear perfume, but was always told that “perfume is to be discovered, never announced.” However, when I say that around her, she dismisses it. What’s the proper etiquette in addressing the perfume cloud that surrounds her?
– The Nose Knows
Dear Nose: I receive complaints about perfumes almost daily. Perfume “in abundance” can cause serious allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to it. And when they are exposed to it in enclosed places (elevators, airplanes, houses with storm windows, gymnasiums, etc.), it can cause real problems.
Your mother-in-law should be reminded again that her perfume is causing headaches and asked to please not use it around you. Depending upon how old she is and her sense of smell, she may not realize she is using as much as she is.
Women’s perfumes and men’s after-shave lotions and colognes can also cause problems at the gym. When people who are exercising begin to sweat, the smell can become overpowering and a nuisance to others. Scents that were applied the day before can turn rancid, so a shower before working out would be considerate if this could be you.
Advice for job hunters
Dear Abby: I am the human resources director for a nonprofit organization. I hope you will help me send a message out to anyone searching for a job. Ninety-five percent of all the candidates I interview know little to nothing about the organization for which they are interviewing. Please let job seekers know that most organizations are less likely to hire an applicant who has done no research on the company he or she is interviewing with. I wouldn’t!
– Shaking My Head in San Diego
Dear Shaking Your Head: That’s good advice. Not only should the applicant know something about the organization or company, the job seeker should be prepared to tell the interviewer why he or she is eager for the job, and how hiring him or her will enhance the business.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.