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Author Topic: A question of etiquette
Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted November 03, 2005 12:49      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My baymate likes to wear cologne. This is all well and good but I'm sensitive to certain smells. Bleach, cigarette smoke, and organic solvents all get to me, and since perfumes and roomsprays and so on tend to be heavy on the solvents, I have a hard time with those as well. It's not a balls out, my throat is closing, I'm going to die allergic reaction, but I get a headache, my nose kinda burns, and if I hang out with the smell too long my chest gets tight. Not exactly comfortable. In a well-ventilated area I can deal with people wearing perfumes, especially if they wear the proper amount. However, my baymate wears too much. Way too much. I knew he as here today before I saw him. I can't go near my bench right now without wanting to sneeze, gag, or cry. I'd take any sort of BO over this. He has some habits that drive me nuts, but he's an overall nice guy and I know he doesn't want to hurt anybody. I know that if I say something he'll probably back off on the scent. My question is, how do I politely tell someone their cologne is hurting me and I really wish they'd wear it properly, if at all?

BTW, the right way to apply cologne is to just spray it in the space in front of you and then walk into it, or just dab a couple drops onto your neck. You want to make yourself smell nice, not yourself and the four foot radius around you.

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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CommanderShroom
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Icon 1 posted November 03, 2005 12:53      Profile for CommanderShroom     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Tell him that you are allergic to cologne. And while it isn't strong, it is strong enough that it aggravates your alergies.

Other than that, I have no idea.

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Has one of us confessed?
'Bout the wires circuits and motors
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Grummash

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Icon 1 posted November 03, 2005 12:59      Profile for Grummash     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Xanthine - I know what you are going through, some of the "ozone" perfumes ( Issey Miyake, Calvin Klein's Sunflowers etc) burn my lips off from 20 paces!

Most employers include guidelines on personal hygiene in their "dignity at work" policies, and the over-perfumed are treated the same as the soap dodgers. This means that, in a work environment, you would discuss it with either your manager, or the stinky person's manager, and they would approach the individual. I think that you would need to be good friends with the guy if you were going to approach him yourself. Do you know his best friend, and could the best friend mediate? Good luck [Smile]

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...and yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this earth with envious eyes...

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Erbo
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Icon 1 posted November 03, 2005 13:07            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
A guy I knew in college named Spud once gave me some advice on wearing cologne: "A little goes a long way, a lot goes too far!" Sounds like Xanthine's baymate needs to take that lesson to heart.
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Stereo

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Icon 1 posted November 03, 2005 16:14      Profile for Stereo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
How to say it politely? Expose your situation. You have a chemical sensitivity problem, and unfotunately, his cologne falls within the categories affecting you. If he could, please, go easy on it, or even, if possible, avoid it altogether when he comes to the lab...? You'd really appreciate that.

This way, you're not putting a blame on him, and if he really is the nice guy you describe, he should take it with a smile and a "I didn't know that! You should have told me earlier."

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted November 03, 2005 17:28      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ugh...I hate that. Strong, cheap perfume/cologne really aggravates just about everything in me - makes my eyes sting, annoys my sense of smell, and sometimes makes me cough or sneeze. Enough of it can lead me to a migraine (along with light, noise, and sometimes lousy chocolate/peanuts -- usually there needs to be a pre-existing condition to make these really hit me). What I'll call 'lousy smokers' also do that to me - by that, I mean people who smoke in such a lousy way that the stench 'clings' to them. I know some people who will walk in a room, and I'm immediately hit by it, and it just kills me. (But yet, I still live...) Ironically enough, with all my dislike of cologne/perfume, I've found that a small amount of something decent can actually be nice, and can be quite intriguing at that. To date, if I pick up on a certain perfume, I still think of someone - and I could notice her from a bit away with that perfume, but it wasn't overdone. I can't remember the name, though. Mind you, nothing can often be better. [Smile] (And sometimes, simply a nice shampoo can do the trick. [Razz] )

Just tell the guy you're sensitive to some smells, and it affects your allergies. Since he seems like a decent fellow, he'll probably be good about it, and a pleasant enough conversation about it should solve it quickly.

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zesovietrussian
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Icon 1 posted November 03, 2005 18:16      Profile for zesovietrussian     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
My question is, how do I politely tell someone their cologne is hurting me and I really wish they'd wear it properly, if at all?
[/QB]

<cough> dude, that smell! <cough cough> <gag> <faint>

That should get the point across.

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fs

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Icon 1 posted November 03, 2005 18:35      Profile for fs   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Xanthine:
My question is, how do I politely tell someone their cologne is hurting me and I really wish they'd wear it properly, if at all?

"I really like your cologne, it smells great, but I think I'm allergic to something in it and it makes my <insert symptoms> here. Could you maybe not wear it tomorrow and put it on after, so I can see if that's it?"

Something like that anyway. Use a compliment and enlist his help in finding the problem rather than telling him that he is the problem.

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drunkennewfiemidget
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Icon 1 posted November 04, 2005 06:42      Profile for drunkennewfiemidget     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Set him on fire.
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garlicguy

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Icon 1 posted November 04, 2005 07:10      Profile for garlicguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Newf, that is terrible and mean!

Swat him on the nose with a rolled up newspaper while saying sternly, "Bad, bad boy. Don't you know that less is more?"

If he doesn't respond favorably after five or six such episodes, have him "put to sleep".  -

Of course you may have other smells to deal with shortly thereafter... [Big Grin]

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I don't know what I was thinking... it seemed like a good idea at the time.

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drunkennewfiemidget
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Icon 1 posted November 04, 2005 09:53      Profile for drunkennewfiemidget     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by garlicguy:
Newf, that is terrible and mean!

Set him on fire, and then put it out with cologne?
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Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted November 04, 2005 10:50      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by drunkennewfiemidget:
quote:
Originally posted by garlicguy:
Newf, that is terrible and mean!

Set him on fire, and then put it out with cologne?
Cologne is largely alchohol, so light a match in his vicinity right after he's slapped on an extra-large dose. He'll definitely think twice after being hit by a fireball.


Note: Stunts performed by professionals should not be attempted at home! [Wink]

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Zwilnik

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Icon 1 posted November 04, 2005 13:13      Profile for Zwilnik   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Mention his cologne, but suggest a better brand, mentioning that the better brand is very strong so you have to be careful to only use a dab [Wink]

If subtlety fails though, you're a chemist. Work out what aerosol or drink spikeable chemical can be used to make him alergic to his cologne [Smile]

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted November 04, 2005 17:58      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
He's also a chemist. His bench is right behind mine - if I take a step backwards I'm liable to bang into him. So chemical warfare is not something I want to engage in.

I was going to try Stereo's suggestion today but I ended up spending most of the day downstairs with the x-ray and our paths crossed only briefly. I'm not sure what sort of dignity standards we have around here. University labs tend to be very informal sorts of places.

In my perfect world people who wear too much perfume are taken out back and shot and white board markers are scentless and cleansers like SImple Green have no odor and cigarettes are banned. But that's just me and my perfect world.

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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The White Tree
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Icon 1 posted November 04, 2005 18:16      Profile for The White Tree     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
No! Whiteboard markers must always have that odor!
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Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted November 04, 2005 18:17      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Can you put a small fan on your bench, facing in his direction? That might help to dissipate his stench behind him instead of allowing it to drift over you.

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ewomack
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Icon 1 posted November 04, 2005 18:33      Profile for ewomack   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Why is he wearing so much cologne in the lab?

Perhaps he's trying to IMPRESS someone?!?! [hearts]

If so, he's succeeded and failed miserably.

The solution is simple: wear a t-shirt that says "You wear too much ^&!%!$ cologne!!" and just act natural. Or put a sign on his desk that says "Do you wear too much cologne?" If that's too subtle, show up wearing a gas mask.

But in the end you'll have to just tell him. I am very sensitive to smells myself and I've more than once had to outright tell someone to cut down on their effulgent scent dousing. It's not fun but it's direct and effective. I completely sympathize.

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted November 04, 2005 20:33      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ewomack:
Why is he wearing so much cologne in the lab?

Perhaps he's trying to IMPRESS someone?!?! [hearts]

If so, he's succeeded and failed miserably.

[Eek!]

Dude, he's a labmate. That would be like incest, or worse.

My plan to is to be polite yet direct, and, if that doesn't work, I'll tie him up and shove him in the fume hood. He's kinda tall so that might be hard.

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted November 04, 2005 20:35      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ehh, you can take 'im, Xanthine!!! All that riding bike and climbing mountains has made you strong and scrappy. Besides, all that aside, you could just threaten his crystallization process with a vat of HCl! [Wink]

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Change the way you SEE, not the way you LOOK!

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted November 04, 2005 20:57      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Oh I'm sure I could take him. The problem would be folding him up and putting him in the hood. I'm not sure I could fit in there, and he's taller than me. It doesn't help that our hoods are kinda cluttered up with equipment either.

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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Colonel Panic
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Icon 1 posted November 05, 2005 06:04      Profile for Colonel Panic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Simply ask him what kind of cologne he is wearing. Most times it will get a fellow to inquire if it is too much.

Now, you're worrying about hurting his feelings, or creating bad blood? He does that every day with too much cologne. So if the above doesn't work, then tell him directly.

If he uses an atomizer. He shouln't be using any more than what he can spray into the air and walk under.

CP

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snupy
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Icon 1 posted November 05, 2005 07:29      Profile for snupy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I like Firesnake's suggestion.

There's a guy on my FLOOR, whose office is around the other side of the elevators, and I can walk out into the hall and know when he's stepped out to the washroom or been on the elevator. And it's horrible cologne to boot.

When he became a patient of ours, he literally made me gag, so I put my shirt up over my nose when talking to him, and he was oblivious! Not nice, I know, but I'm leaving, so who cares?! [devil wand]

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Jessycat

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Icon 3 posted November 06, 2005 14:37      Profile for Jessycat     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Perhaps a prominent display of this comic would help get the point across? [Big Grin]
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Aditu
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Icon 1 posted November 07, 2005 10:30      Profile for Aditu     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think sometimes people who wear a lot of cologne don't have as good a sense of smell as others. I think Firesnake's answer is good. It is a nice scientific approach, which might appeal.

I've had to deal with it as a supervisor. I had a woman who came to work and sprayed her hairspray all over. It bothered some people's allergies. I sent a light hearted e-mail where I acknowledged that a southern belle must have her hairspray, but could she do the spraying in the staff restroom.

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