I get incensed when I read those click bait articles regarding 10 things older women should not wear, or 14 make-up don’ts for those over forty, acceptable hairstyles for older women, etc… This type of drivel is obviously (poorly) written by young girls who have no life experience. Growing old is an amazing privilege that not everyone receives, so I say, wear whatever you want, keep your old, tried and true hairstyle (if you want), use make-up your way or not at all. My motto has always been, with good hygiene, everyone is passably attractive. After that, it’s what’s on the inside that makes you beautiful … or not.
There is one issue, though, I would like to address, and it most frequently does apply to seniors.
We all know that as we age, our senses dull. We need glasses, the television volume creeps upwards, we add more spices to our food. Many of us also seem to lose our sense of smell.
Dear Perfume Lady,
Hi! You looked lovely last evening and seemed to be enjoying an amicable dinner out with someone you hold dear. I was trying to doing the same, one table over.
As per usual, as I entered the restaurant dining room I scanned for potential problems that could be avoided by strategic re-seating, if necessary. No unruly kids in sight, no over-imbibing soccer moms ramping up the volume, no obnoxious, pretentious “send it back” complainers … all seemed well.*
Then, my nose began to twitch, and itch. My eyes slightly watered as I searched for the source of the sickeningly sweet, cloying smell. I am still fifteen feet away from you in this small room. We are then seated at a table across from you. I quickly scan for an empty table as far away from you as possible, but there are none. But as your perfume has permeated every nook and cranny in this cozy space, there was really no escape, anyway.
I took a sip of my water, which tasted of flowers and an undertone of musk. We ordered wine, which also tasted floral, musky and off. Bread and humus? You guessed it, floral, weirdly flavored. By now, my head was starting to ache, but my nose was still acutely aware.
Our dinners arrived right at the time you were telling your partner an extremely exciting story, and were animatedly flinging your arms about. Oh, God, fresh waves. Instead of smelling enticing wafts of Italian seasonings and garlic, I smelled, just a wild guess, Obsession?
You were finished with your dinner before we were, and left. Your scent, however, did not, boosted by a fresh blast as you swung into your sweater.
Hubs and I decided at that moment that too much perfume/cologne goes under the accepted Universal Spouse Alert (USA) rules. The list is under continuous revision, but always includes alerts regarding stuff stuck in your teeth, gook on your face, toilet paper on the shoe, skirt bunched up in back, buttons unbuttoned, barn doors open. Each couple must develop their own covert signals. For hints, ours include a raised eyebrow and pointed looks, a napkin swipe to our own clean face, a finger pensively tapping a lip, or asking “Right now? That seems a little inappropriate,” with an accompanying look to exposed nether regions.
Please remember, however, not to confuse USA rules with the Oh, No, You Didn’t (ONYD) list. Yes, tell me if I have lipstick on my teeth, no, don’t tell me my pants are too tight or my gray roots are showing. It’s a tricky tightrope, but most long-marrieds have figured out the dance.
I seldom wear perfume, myself. Remember, like lingerie, scents are for your own enjoyment, and maybe that of a very close loved one. Perfume is not a calling card to alert everyone in the vicinity that you have arrived. If you use the same brand day after day, year after year, your nose becomes immune.
My suggested application, spray into the air and then dash through it while wearing your birthday suit. You will most likely be in the acceptable smell zone, and it will greatly amuse anyone watching, including the dog.
But there is a universal truth: women my age are brave. So if you are a perfume aficionado, ask someone (preferably younger, more opinionated than nice) at work or a social situation if you are wearing too much perfume. Listen to their answer.
And please don’t wear perfume when:
Any sort of wine tasting or food experience
Planes, trains and other tight, enclosed spaces
Thanks for listening, from all of us with noses. Especially those of us with truffle noses who can recognize the scent of marijuana mixed with teenage boy cologne a mile away, making one son’s journey into adulthood a bit more perilous.
*As an aside, Hubs warns that I am about one crabby rant away from becoming the “Hey, kids, get off of my lawn” guy.