Recently, a gracious leader asked me to dance. We got into close hold, and the connection was lovely. But, within 3 seconds in close hold, I had to walk away from the dance. He was wearing so much cologne that I could feel my throat swelling and eyes start to water.
So, after a few moment, I pulled away from the embrace and told him the problem that I was having. It felt terrible to leave the dance, but for my health, I had to.
As someone with a sensitive respiratory system, heavy scents can ruin a night for me. This is ironic, since I have a downright terrible sense of smell. I don’t get overpowered by scent; I simply stop being able to breathe property.
If I do continue to dance through a heavy scent, my eyes start to water and my nose starts to run. This isn’t fun for me – or my partner.
Smelling (too) good
A little bit of cologne or perfume can go a long way with your dance partners. But, using too much doesn’t make you smell good. It makes you smell like your cologne or perfume broke in your suitcase.
At a minimum, overpowering scents can be unpleasant. They can also transfer on to your partner – who may not want to smell like you for the night.
At its worst, it can cause allergic reactions and breathing difficulties for some partners – especially if you do a close-hold dance.
The allergy problem
Many of your partners may be able to ‘push through’ an overscented partner. But, some can’t. Allergies and sensitivities can force them to avoid dancing with you.
Very often, these people won’t tell you why they won’t dance with you. Telling someone they use too much cologne or perfume is often not the nicest interaction to have – especially if there’s no easy way for the person to remedy the problem.
So, if you find that people tend to shy away from you, consider if maybe you’re overdoing the cologne (or underdoing the deodorant).
Why you might be a bad judge
We’re generally terrible at telling when we are wearing too much perfume or cologne. Typically, a couple short bursts is enough to smell good.
If you wear perfume or cologne regularly, you may not be able to smell the scent on yourself. This is OK; it’s better to wear good deodorant and go lighter on the scent than to overdo it.
You can also ask friends if you put on scent too strongly.
Less Offensive Scents
Some scents present more problems than others. Generally speaking, the heavier or more artificial the perfume/cologne, the worse it is. But, what is intolerable varies greatly from person to person.
Even if you find a particular scent doesn’t bother you, exercise caution. It could really bother someone else.
A full article
Typically, the idea of too much cologne or perfume would be a subsection of a larger etiquette article. But, I’ve noticed this problem is on the rise – especially at big events.
Please: manage your scent habits. Your partners will be very, very thankful.
I really appreciate this. I fall into that allergic category. It doesn’t always happen and I can’t pin-point the exact smells that set my system off. Also, my symptoms are the slow burn type – usually, nothing happens until I’m about 2/3rds through the dance. On the few rare occasions that it has been right away, I sneeze before we even make it to closed hold.
I just wanted to also mention that it’s not just perfume/cologne but it can also be hairspray or skin care products that cause the same issues. Less is always more for everyone concerned.
Yes. I just wanted to mention hair spray too. I dance with one lady and she used hair spray that smelled amazing when she was sitting on the next side of the table (so great for some dinner date). But when dancing some contact dance like Kizomba, where she liked head contact, I swear I was turning blue at the end of the dance. It was impossible to breathe.
Haha, Laura, finally someone who speaks up. Thanks 🙂
I habe no allergies at all but am highly sensitive with all my body. Which makes me a good follower with a offended nose.
There are lots oft articles about social dancing etiquette and all emphasize body Hygiene. So I guess soany people are afraid oft smelling Bad that they overdo: with Shampoo, body scrub, anti-transpirant, hair products, shaving water and perfume. The mixture itself is too much even with little perfume using.
With my nose I almost always smell the mixture. I very rarely experience really odd smelling. Mostly it is the clothing mixed with sweat… that is never covered up with perfume! Check your Washing Machine, dry in the sun, get fresh air to your clothes.
Maybe we dare to smell like humans again someday. It is a nice one. Without chemicals and the sweat only coming from overheating body rather than unconscious fear and stress 😉
I too suffer from multiple-chemical-sensitivities that include colognes, hairsprays, lotions… and its an instant near-migraine. It’s not always the strength of the cologne either, a small amount of a toxic-bearing fragrance can set me off, but certainly a heavy amount of a non-toxic cologne can too. We have a social dance club, and have tried so many ways to address the issue, but we can’t reach everyone. So, thank you for posting.
I have a pretty good sense of smell, and frequently find that some people come with a cloud around them that is difficult to ignore. Think when scents are overdone it’s a bit like shouting, maybe what you are saying is nice, but the experience is not good. If in doubt, back off, and preserve the mystery of getting closer to connection on the dance floor.
On a related topic. One thing I frequently find is that people are washing their clothes with detergent that has perfume in it, and I guess they get so used to the scent that they don’t smell it any more, but I do, and likely I can smell you from 8 feet away. This is not uncommon for men, who I expect wouldn’t choose this as their signature scent. Indeed, I very much prefer the smell of humans over Tide.
The use of extra cologne is really annoying. Wisdom should be used in the choice of cologne. The use of extra perfumes is also annoying to me.