Since the establishment of the Invisible Disabilities Association’s Annual Award Banquets in 2008, we have asked our attendees not to wear perfume, cologne or fragranced lotions.
We have done this, because millions of people have reported adverse health affects with exposure to the chemicals in synthetically fragrance products.
We would like to share these quite bold and brave articles in response to our fragrance-free event requests. Thank you, Glory!
by Glory Weisberg, Society Editor the Fleurish Section, The Village Newspaper.
The Invisible Disabilities Association has its Honors Banquet, Oct. 24. Verbatim, here’s what’s on their info postcard, which we just love: “This is a Fragrance Free Event. Please be considerate of people attending with illness, allergies, asthma and chemical sensitivities by not wearing perfume, cologne or fragranced lotion.”
It would be the dream of many people who would attend fundraisers if only they were assured they wouldn’t have to grab allergy meds or migraine pills just to come and participate.
Perfume gained popularity at a time when most people didn’t have regular access to bathtubs or showers. So perfume concealed one stinky problem by inventing a camouflage. It reminds us of an etiquette piece published somewhere when non-smoking laws prevented indoor smoking at most public places, that now that the air was clean, men’s backs were emitting a scent no one considered attractive.
There’s a reason department stores often offer a free tote bag to those purchasing perfume. It’s a way to entice shoppers to buy the scents they often gift to others. Multiply that one person’s dousing of perfume by the number of women who wear it and soon it’s toxic to just enter a ballroom or restaurant or other places people congregate. And by the way, women aren’t alone in this assault on our senses, men’s cologne and aftershave is a hurdle to vault as well.
If you’ve ever held a newborn baby, you know how wonderful the little darling smells. It’s addicting and on purpose as Mother Nature probably figured that you’d want to feed and care for someone who smells so good. So when did we get to an age when we had to cover up that Mother Nature’s scent by slathering on camouflage?
If you remember those Ivory soap commercials, you remember it’s the soap that floats because it’s empty of added stuff your body doesn’t need.
10/02/13 FOLLOW-UP TO ARTICLE:
Our last etiquette column on invisible disabilities got the attention of a throng of supporters, a 50-50 balance of men and women.
Those blue and white hang tags hooked onto the car’s rear view mirror denote the driver’s or passenger’s inability to navigate distances or handle impediments to access. Not all Coloradans have noticeable medical conditions that require easy access and sneers from passersby don’t help the arthritic whose disease may not be immediately evident.
The painful nerves can afflict with only an X-ray’s proof and unless you’re a comic book character with X-ray vision, you can’t see the disability. Arthritis has many forms and causes and there are a wide range of medications and treatments to enable the patient to continue functioning in the world if we all cooperate.
They don’t necessarily wear noticeable movement aids so when you, the nonprofit volunteer or professional staffer, plan an event consider whether the “staging” will accommodate every guest regardless of their motion abilities. Be prepared to provide an inconspicuous ramp, elevator or other device to anyone asking for it.
And for those who have breathing limitations, please consider the stage smoke or other devices that can trigger breathing problems for a ticket buyer. Not all need facially noticeable tubes attached to oxygen so there again, don’t diagnose to justify inaction.
If the inability isn’t visible it’s still necessary to be accommodating, as the guest may be reluctant to ask for such entrance assistance.
As the song said: “Walk a mile in my shoes.” Or question whether everyone could walk to begin with.
Published with permission by Glory Weisberg.
Etiquette column. The Villager Newspaper. Fleurish Section by Society editor, Glory Weisberg. Page 13. September 19, 2013.