Thursday, September 14, 2006

Misadventures on the Metro

chapter 17
There’s a reason I buy a certain brand of perfume. And no, it’s not (just) because my fashion magazines labeled it a “hot scent” for September.

The truth is, finding a perfect fragrance is no easy task. If you’re a woman, it should be light, floral—but not too floral, musk-y—without smelling like musk, sophisticated—but not old-ladyish. You should be able to wear it near your face for extended periods of time without experiencing a headache, nausea or light-headedness. Oh, and the bottle should look cool. Easy enough, right?

I take a lot of time and care selecting my signature scent, starting at Sephora (or somewhere similar), I spray down paper tester wands and place them in my purse. When I find a lingering scent that makes me want to stick my head in my bag and keep it there, I return to the store and spray my wrists and neck (careful to avoid my clothes in case the paper tester trial deceptively convinced me the scent smelled good, when on my body, it closely resembles sour beaver musk). Eventually, after repeating both tests over and over, I find the perfect perfume.

It feels good to complete this process and I sometimes find myself dreaming of baths in the lovely new fragrance. But, remembering our last apartment’s elevators, which reeked of cologne and perfume hours after the offending socialites made their exits, I use discretion in my application. A few squirts and I’m ready for the day.

Many do not employ such discretion. It’s unfortunate and mildly annoying, but not usually something to write Congress about.

On the Metro, though, it’s a whole other story. This morning I found myself seated next to a middle-aged man reading the Washington Post. Pretty normal commuting circumstances, except for the fact that he STUNK—not of B.O., which is never pleasant, but of cheap cologne—the kind you purchase for $3.99 at the local 7-Eleven. Sitting at an angle, with his thigh extending into my part of the seat, I squished myself as far from him as possible. With his leg leaning against mine, I tried to concentrate on my book. And breathe through my nose. Neither strategy worked. In fact, the stink hovered like a cloud in the enclosed space and intensified as we creeped along.

By the time I reached my stop, my clothes reeked of his sickening scent. I thought walking the two blocks to my office would air things out, but no. I still stunk. For the rest of the day. And became a little nauseous.

I can think of only one solution:

Dear Men and Women of the United States Congress:

In the spirit of the freedom that makes America great, I encourage you to pass legislation prohibiting the use of stinky, cheap cologne in public places.

The right to peaceably enjoy a subway, elevator or cab ride is important, nay fundamental, and perfectly alligned with the vision of our forefathers for this country. Our nation’s future cannot be certain unless the aforementioned legislation is quickly produced and enacted.

With great anticipation of a stink-free America,

A Concerned Frequenter of Public Places

1 comment:

shaniqua said...

i completely second that!!!