PET PEEVES – July 2009


By Karen Greenbury


PetPeevesWhat is it with scented products?  It’s become overwhelming and thoroughly annoying to those of us with decent olfactory capabilities. How do the hypersensitive among us cope?  Imagine if your business was wine or cheese, or if you were a dog, cat or truffle pig.  How could you live a normal, productive life?  Do they all go around with clothespins clipped on their noses until they need them for something serious?

Can anyone explain to me why I’d want to use “strawberry” shampoo, followed by “gardenia” conditioner, followed by “honey & sunflower” soap, “raspberry & almond” body wash, “kiwi” shave gel, and “papaya” foot scrub?

These, of course, would be used in conjunction with my “brisk ocean breeze” deodorant,  “exotic cinnamon” toothpaste, “perky peppermint” mouthwash, “tangy citrus” toner, “lush avocado” moisturizer, “organic almond oil” eye cream, “tropical coconut” sunscreen, “intensive cashew” body butter and “deep penetrating wintergreen” lotion (on the medicinal side, but can’t call it a salve or ointment – declassé) for the calloused feet.  Not to mention the “protective magnolia” spray for blow-drying my hair, culminating in a shot of “juicy watermelon” hairspray or a glop of “spiky durian” gel for styling.

Given the prevalence of fruit, vegetable, herb and spice products out there, can “eau de pork chop” be far behind?  After all, not everyone’s a vegetarian. Although my “chia body-builder for hair” theory doesn’t seem so impossible any more (remember Chia Pets?).  Might be the latest, greatest, trendiest eco-product to emerge, and I’m not sure they even have a scent.

But I digress; we’ve only talked about phase one.  Proceeding from where I left off, I can only hope nothing I’ve used so far clashes with the “summer meadow” laundry detergent and “cotton cloud” fabric softener I use, when I ultimately put my clothes on. Should I surmount all these challenges, it still might be better not to entertain at home after all the prep work; it’s possible my “rainforest” air freshener/deodorizer will sabotage my efforts, especially when combined with the “fresh pine” scent of my antibacterial floor cleanser, the “cedar” oil for my woodwork and the “baby powder” fragrance of the toilet paper in my bathroom. Scented toilet paper? Am I the only one who finds this ludicrous???

And yet I still buy perfume.  Although it’s more like promising a kidney or my firstborn, considering what I pay for the one I like. This is what I want in terms of fragrance; this is the image I want to project – exotic, slightly mysterious, rich & sensuous.

I have flowers in my garden. I want to have their scent wafting in as I drift off to sleep watching moonrise, and the stars rotating across my window.  The dusty, earthy smell that comes with a little rain is magical, life-giving; I don’t want it obscured.  I want the real, fresh smell of ozone from an electrical storm, the slightly musky smell of animals, the fragrance of blooming lime trees, jacaranda, primavera, tabachines, grass…  green things.   Not fakes, not chemicals.

Moreover, beyond the obvious problem with this concatenation of aromas, I have to wonder about all those chemicals used to create them.  Can it possibly be healthy?  I know my cat doesn’t think so, and I trust her more than whatever advertising team created these fantasies/fakes/travesties.

She (the cat) puked yesterday after I tried a new brand of floor soap. She lost her dinner all over my new bedspread. I admire her for it.  Too bad more of us couldn’t express our discontent more directly.

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