How to Handle the Smell of Strong Perfume in an Enclosed Car
Perfume-too much is a problem
Can there be anything worse than being next to someone who is wearing a strong perfume and not having the ability to move to a comfortable distance? Since we live in a multicultural society what is normal for one group of people is completely offensive to another. And, with so many people who have allergy problems, it seems that the wearer of a heavy dose of fragrance is just being rude, or very ignorant, about the needs of those people around her. If you were enclosed in a small car with an overbearing perfume wearer, how would you handle the situation?
Solution #1: Be direct
Solution #1 seems the most obvious: communicate to the perfume wearer that you are allergic to strong perfumes. Ask if there is anyway she can refrain from repeating this offense, if there is any possibility that you will be driving with her again.
Explain that for health reasons you cannot be in a small, enclosed area without the offensive smell affecting you adversely. If your companion is sensitive she will apologize, and perhaps even offer to remove the offensive fragrance.
However, if your driving companion is insensitive to the needs of others, or has a warped sense of what is fashionable, then you may have to proceed to other solutions.
Solution #2-Control your window
Solution #2 seems the best one for immediate relief: open the windows and let the air circulate.
Some people have allergic reactions, i.e. rashes, headaches or even migraines, caused by smells they are sensitive to. If you are one of these people it is imperative that you get the problem nipped in the bud before it goes on too long, resulting in a migraine or severe headache.
If it is a scorching day, turn the air conditioner on full blast-your friend may get the message indirectly. If it is a sunny, spring day, open all the windows. If it's raining, open only her window and hope the water hits her in all the right places.
Solution #3 - Remove the offending smell
Sure, it is rare that anyone is traveling with a wash cloth, however, many people do travel with sanitary wipes for their hands; others always have a bottle of water, and perhaps, a kleenex in their glove compartment. Offer it to the offending passenger as an emergency tactic. Hopefully, it won't sever the relationship.
If she refuses to use it, due to her shock that not everyone near her finds her perfume as enchanting as she does, accidentally slam on the brakes and spill your open bottle of water on her. If she is driving however, just throw a couple of squirts her way as you wiggle around in your seat-apologize later.
Solution #4-for the martyrs
For those who are too kindhearted to say anything, or to act on their own defense, grab your handkerchief or kleenex and put it up to your nose to block the smell. Breathe slowly through your mouth blocking the air passage going into your nasal passages-this can be done by pressing the tongue against the roof of the mouth.
Every once in a while give a slight, unnoticeable wave of the kleenex in front of your face to keep the air moving.
If you have no kleenex or kerchief use a piece of sleeve, as if you are rubbing your nose, or merely place your hand delicately up to your nose and give a slight finger jiggle. By no means do you want to draw attention to your problem so, whatever you do, be discreet. That means: no pinching the nose in a 'peeyoo' motion.
Good luck to all.