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Ask Sophie: Why must some people pour on the perfume?

Dear Sophie,

What's with women and men who pour on the perfume, cologne, aftershave, deodorant, and body wash smells? It's become impossible to be with a group of people and not gag from the odors. Good old-fashioned sweaty body odor would be better. I'm ready to resort to a face mask, but there must be an easier way. HELP!!

Signed: Beaten down by stinkiness

Sophie Says:

Your complaint is a common one. Surveys indicate about 30 percent of people find fragrances irritating. People mean well by attempting to present a pleasant scent when out in the world. Many times, they don't understand that less is better.

It is certain you would not appreciate the smell of several unwashed bodies any more than the excess scents you now attempt to deal with. If the people causing your discomfort are strangers, there is probably nothing you can do but move to the least smelly location within the group.

If friends are involved, just politely mention you find their applied scents pleasant, but overly powerful. You may mention reading that the proper application of quality perfume is to spray into the air and then walk through it.

If your friends are "older," you might talk about how as skin ages, the scent of a favorite perfume may also change. Then there's the diminished sense of smell as some men and women age.

Good luck with your quest to breathe more pleasant air. Be thankful you do not have an allergy to scented products that would require you to use nasal antihistamine and nasal corticosteroid medications.

Send your questions to or c/o EOT Focus, PO Box 288, Perham, MN 56573.