Puckrik on Perfume: Office Perfume Etiquette (part 1)

Mimi ON Jun 04, 2010 AT 12:17 pm

Katie Puckrik

Katie Puckrik: Photographer Martin Shaw

By Katie Puckrik

I knew my appearance on the San Diego morning news to discuss office perfume etiquette was going to be lively as soon as the producer pulled me urgently into the make-up room. (The make-up room, also known as the handicapped toilet equipped with a hairdryer and a mirror bordered with showbiz light bulbs.)

She fixed me with a pleading look.

“What do you say when someone’s perfume stinks?” I hoped she didn’t mean me.

“I mean, we had a woman in here yesterday, and she smelled like she was wearing trout perfume.”

I tried to be delicate.

“Um, are you sure it was her perfume?”

“Yes! Someone saw her spray it on in the green room. It smelled like trout – swear to God.”

Before I could answer, she was seized by another, even more appalling thought.

“Oh yeah! And there’s a perfume that…” her words fell away as she jabbed her finger accusingly at an empty spot on a shelf in the handicapped toilet/make-up room. “It’s usually right there! It smells like tampons! Tampons — swear to God. It’s called Kai. Kai! Do you like Kai?”

If I’d actually stopped to consider, I’d say Kai was a pretty harmless gardenia/orange blossom affair, but the producer’s question hung in air. And it really was less a question than a demand for an oath of allegiance. I eagerly denounced Kai.

Kai roundly dispatched, she hustled me out of the handicapped toilet straight to my on-camera chat with anchorman Raoul about office fragrance dos and don’ts. He winged it pretty well, considering the questions were shoved into his hand at the 10 second countdown to air.

Interview over, Raoul and the cameraman zipped off to their next in-studio assignment, and the producer huddled back in to continue our perfume discussion. It was as if the live TV segment I’d just done was merely a not-worth-mentioning interruption to our girl talk. I deeply admired her ability to focus.

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