How many times have you been at one of your favorite restaurants enjoying the food, along with its aroma, only to have it ruined? No, I am not taking about cigarette smoke. (I will leave that up to the restaurant reviewer Susan Swagler with The Birmingham News, who can’t do a review without griping about smoking if she sees anyone smoking within 50 yards of a restaurant.)
No, dear readers, I am talking about something more insidious. It’s something you have no control over, unlike choosing whether or not to go to a restaurant or bar that allows smoking. I am talking about diners wearing too much perfume. And unfortunately, it seems to be an increasingly common occurrence. Mind you, I am not talking about a light whiff of perfume from someone walking by, but about someone sitting near you who smells like they bathed in it. I am talking strong enough to drown out garlic and onions.
Now a new study says there may be a reason. Researchers at Tel Aviv University have concluded women who doll up with too much perfume might not know it because they are depressed. According to one researcher, scientific studies suggest that women who are depressed are also losing their sense of smell and may overcompensate by using more perfume.
Don’t get me wrong, depression is a serious illness. And I am not picking on women. It happens nearly often as much with men.
But this story out of Israel reminds me of something I’ve been wanting to say for along time. I don’t care if your perfume came from the dime store or runs more than a hundred bucks an ounce and was made by Monks in a French monastery -- for the love of my food and the consideration of other diners, please limit it to just a small amount when dining, not enough to make a perfume Martini.
In the meantime, if I'm ever in Santa Fe, I'll be sure to visit Trattoria Nostrani, which notes on its web site that it has a "fragrance free environment" and asks diners to refrain from wearing cologne or perfume along with not using cell phones.