So I was with a breakfast group that meets at places downtown (in Portland) for, well, breakfast. We were supposed to have a LOT of attendees, so when there were about 5 people, I smiled at the person to my right and said “How about if I move down in that direction-- it looks like all the seats will be full.”
Other Person: (glaring) I can’t stand your perfume, it’s too strong, it’s making me sick.
Me: (wanting to crawl under table) I’m sorry, I don’t have any on. I’m not sure what the problem is.
(nobody else says anything about it)
Other Person: Well, it’s just too strong.
Me: But I don’t have any on…
Group organizer: (trying to be helpful) Maybe it’s me. I’m wearing perfume.
Other Person: (more glares) No, it’s her.
Me: I really don’t know what it could be…
Half a minute later, of course, somebody else sat to my left who really HAD poured a bottle of perfume over her head, apparently, but nothing else was said by anybody.
How to think about this? How to interpret it? What to do? It all just seemed so rude-- even if somebody really IS fragrance sensitive, it is necessary to talk to someone else that way when they haven’t done anything wrong? I don’t want to stop going to meetings of this group, but I do not want to deal with this again.