How to think of this behavior (too long to explain, just read)?

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.

I’m sorry you were on the receiving end of this. Yes, folks do have sensitivities to perfume, but as with anything like this, there’s a polite way to bring it up and that wasn’t it. Have you interacted with this person in the past? Is there any history?

To me it sounds like a person who is crabby in the morning and may not be the ideal participant in a breakfast group!

With the exception of the organizer, they’re all crappy people. Stay away from them.

If this were a gathering of ‘a lot of people’ could you stay away from this person? It seems that this person may not be a regular part of your breakfast club, am I wrong?

Stay away from that person, but don’t let that stop you from going to the meetings. Unless they keep giving you lip, then cozy right on up to them. :slight_smile:
I’ll also suggest you might want to consider whether the soap or shampoo you use has a strong smell. A lot of those have a really strong fragrance, even if you don’t put on any perfume directly.

You handled that waaay better than I would have. Good for you.

:slight_smile: Thanks. It’s a good group, so I really do NOT want to stop going. I’ve tried to think of any interaction with this person before, and all I can come up with is that she was at the last one, and so was I. Who knows.

I just can’t think of anything unusual/extremely scented that was involved that day. I mean, I don’t make a huge effort to use only fragrance-free things, but there was nothing out of the ordinary.

So, there you go. It was one of those aggressively passive-aggressive things. I should know, being an EXPERT on PA-ness… :stuck_out_tongue: But it’s not good, and not productive.

that type of behavior stinks.

I agree that it was a very strange encounter. I have no idea what you should think about that situation other than that it was very strange and awkward. At least you can take comfort in the fact that obviously the organiser thought it was odd too (and that’s probably why he/she tried to politely assist you).

Keep attending, hopefully as the year progresses more people will attend the meetings and you can just avoid sitting next to this person.

It could have been your shampoo or soap or moisturizer. If you had pressured me to sit closer to you I would have been annoyed.

Could you send an email to the group organizer and ask her to send an email to everyone who attends the meetings and tell them that from now on, all meetings will be scent-free?

Or the organizer can tell the person who was rude to not be that way again. Why should everyone have to accommodate a jerk?

Isn’t this rewarding rude behavior?

ETA: Ninja’d by Monstro

You weren’t wearing any offending scent. The OP was rude. Don’t take it to heart-- it was HER problem, not yours. Once you assured her you weren’t wearing any scent, any requirement for you to further assure/assuage/fix/babysit or otherwise make her crappy world a better place ENDED. You did nothing wrong. She was in the wrong.

Just let some shit roll off of you.

That could well be…

And you know, there always has to be SOMEONE who disagrees with everyone else. I did not “pressure” her to “sit next to me.” We were extremely crowded at that table, there were no extra spaces, and I was trying to avoid a situation where someone would have been unable to find a seat because an empty place was not being used.

I honestly don’t know how anyone could guarantee that a gathering could be fragrance free. I seriously thought about it, but it wouldn’t make sense without also asking that people not use soap, body wash, lotion, deodorant, sunscreen, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, and makeup unless they were guaranteed to be fragrance free. It would be very interesting to see what kind of reaction THAT email would get. :stuck_out_tongue: Sometimes, the Portlandia scripts just write themselves… :wink:

Not wearing too much perfume is an accommodation that is in everyone’s best interests. :slight_smile:

Um, they are all available fragrance free. I know. I buy them. So do the people who sit around me in the office, because they hate to see me suffer. They’re pretty easy to find.

Mornings are most difficult for the scents-itives, because the scents from the shampoo and conditioner and body wash or soap and skin lotion haven’t had time to wear off. The personal care scents are usually much worse than straight perfumes, too.

The worst is fabric softener scent. That never seems to wear off.

The point is that the OP wasn’t wearing any scent and so did not need to engage the offended one on the subject.

If it was a one-time thing, I’d chalk it up to that person not having their coffee soon enough, and just ignore it.

As far as scents, I understand that you weren’t wearing perfume, so when the person insisted it was you, that meant one of a few things:

  1. Whatever shampoo/bodywash/whatever you have is enough to set them off (normally I would give a :dubious: but some people are that sensitive).

  2. What she was really trying to say was that you had some serious BO and was trying to not say you reek! :eek:

  3. She decided she didn’t like you for some unrelated reason and the perfume thing was just a polite fiction :rolleyes:

Whichever it is, i try to give everyone a free pass. If she keeps being a jerk, avoid her. Maybe next time you show up she’ll apologize and mention she was having a bad day that day :slight_smile:

I am going to comment on these two, and then stop hijacking this into an allergy thread.

Her last post suggests that she may have been “wearing” soap scents. If she had just washed her hair, it is very possible the shampoo scent may have been very unpleasant for some (lovely as it was for the less sensitive, I am sure).

Don’t be dubious. Fresh soap scents are very powerful. Has anyone ever used Irish Spring in your shower? That is what all scented shampoos and soaps are like for those with allergies.

Heavily scented body products are hell for a lot of people until they start to wear off.