Monday, August 31, 2009

Tourist! Overseas Aromas

The door swooshes open. Everyone to this point has minded their own business. They start to glance up from the universal posture of gazing down at their shoes or pretending to check their watches. Silently, swiftly and with deadly precision, the attack leaves no one unscathed. The clawing for air, the choking gargles, the eyes flaming red from the undeterred onslaught of....perfume.

Who hasn't been in that elevator? In this second installment on ways tourists stand out the concern here is how locals can smell a tourist long before the unsuspecting holidaymaker hoves in to view. And just as predators can see, hear and smell unsuspecting prey that strays too close so, too, can the shopkeepers smell unaware tourists and their money the world over.

Hygiene is always a good thing but all those layers of soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, mouth rinse, body powder, lotion, cologne and Desenex just SHOUT uber-groomed American tourist! And that's before donning a wardrobe reeking of Mountain Spring Tide, Lavender Clorox bleach, April Fresh Downy and Vanilla and Jasmine Snuggles dryer sheets! But I digress.
In plain English the French may have created the modern industry but few cultures spend as much money on toiletries as we proud Americans. Fewer still manage to wear all of them at the same time all day long like we do. In trying not to offend our own senses we fail to realize that everyone around us is breaking out in hives from the clouds of Shower to Shower and the rose and sandalwood vapors rising in waves from our very pores.

Less is more people: It’s ok, ladies, to put your “casual” face on but make it “Day With the Kids” and not “Night at the Opera.” A little lipstick, soften the eyes, even the skin a tad and head for the door. Dragon lashes and cheekbones are always after dark anyway so hold off on the mascara running in to the foundation thing until after sundown.

Guys, a good long shower, 2-3 swipes of deodorant and go. If you’re taking longer than she is to gel-mousse your hair then it’s not a vacation anymore but a job interview. Remember the days when a wet comb did the trick? It still works!

I had to learn a while back that there is no real purpose in wearing cologne during a day of touring. Part of the full experience of a musty museum or cluttered cathedral is the smell of the building itself, right? Excessive colognes and perfumes not only repel most locals and damage artwork but attract bugs to say nothing of the vultures lurking in the gift shop doorway. Leave the spray bottles for after a second long, hot shower right before a well deserved night on the town or a quiet, evening swaddled in terrycloth and slippers.

Wanna blend in? Start with the basics and ix-nay on the White Diamonds until sundown.
Wanna find the tourist? Follow your nose, it always knows.

Gotta go!

"Outhouse" courtesy of Flickr.

No comments:

Post a Comment