A reader named IowaMama wrote to say her future sister-in-law is giving her headaches. Luckily, it’s not a personality clash; it’s simply a case of too much perfume.
“At least two different perfumes are part of her daily grooming routine,” IowaMama wrote. “I have a very sensitive sense of smell, to the point that her beauty products make me nauseous and give me headaches. I often have to leave the room if she comes in with a fresh application.
“Would it be rude of me to ask her to refrain from using her heavily scented products while she is visiting our home (and staying overnight), especially during the cold and hot months when our doors and windows are kept shut?” IowaMama asked.
Don’t worry too much about dealing with this problem, IowaMama. Families are all about give-and-take, and your future sister-in-law will probably be asking you to compromise too one day, when you visit her at her home.
Asking her not to wear stinky perfume is perfectly polite, if you phrase it in a way that doesn’t hurt your future sister-in-law’s feelings or humiliate her. For starters, don’t refer to it as “stinky perfume.” And don’t stand up in the middle of a family dinner, hold your nose and shriek, “P-ewww, I can’t take it anymore” before running from the room.
Instead, take her aside privately and say quietly that you’re sorry, but you have a physical sensitivity — or allergy, if true — to strongly scented products. She probably has no idea she’s making you sick; I doubt it’s her intent to offend a future relative before she even marries into the family. Say, “Your products smell lovely, but unfortunately I get bad headaches when I’m around any sort of perfume. I’d appreciate it if you don’t don’t wear any while you’re here.”
Then hand her a lovely wrapped present — a bottle of your favorite non-scented shampoo — to take the sting out of your request. Say, “I love this and I’m hoping you’ll like it too.”
Readers, have you ever had to tell a friend or family member her perfume stinks? If so, what did you say? How did she react?
(image via Realsimple.com)