Tuesday, 24 September 2013


Third blog this morning on essentially the same topic, which is (if you haven't figured out by now) on personal choice, which is actually the topic of the week.

I was recently one of many who answered the question "What is your favourite scented candle fragrance".

Nobody commented on my reply, which wasn't surprising, because it was "I don't like scented candles". I said it because somebody had to.

I am picky about fragrances. Being me (see previous blog, if in any doubt) I tend to like "other" than the norm. When it comes to candles, I don't want them scented at all, thank you very much. Do not buy me a scented candle as a gift. I won't be rude enough to say anything at the time, but you'll be wasting your money because it'll go in a box in the basement.

Don't bother telling me "Oh, but these are high quality, essential oils". You're missing the point. It's not about allergies or sensitivities.

My favourite fragrance is fresh air. I never tire of it. If it weren't so cold most of the year, I'd have the window open all the time. If there were some way of letting January freshness in without freezing to death, I'd do it. You cannot "freshen" a room with fragrance, that's just silly.

On the other hand, I walked into the bathroom the other day, caught a whiff of very diluted bleach and enjoyed it. So, there it is.

Among the smells I do like, are good quality incense. Not the modern stuff. I like Nag Champa, Sandalwood, Myrrh, and Patchouli. Yes, I like Patchouli. Just not as a candle.

The candle fragrance conversation listed lots of things people liked, all of which I didn't. I won't be visiting them any time soon. "Christmas" fragrances are right at the top of their preferences, and right at the top of my "IT STINKS" list. I can't thing of anything nastier than a "Christmas" fragrance candle.

And, the fragrance they all hated was Patchouli. Which I like. I like it like a dog likes bums. If I catch a whiff, I will find my head trying to get closer, so my body has to follow.

I wouldn't wear it. I know lots of old hippies do. But the problem is, nobody likes it. So it's a bit like daubing yourself in cat pee. I'm not about to try to repel people. I really don't indulge in it much at all. I just like it.

They say that scents are more powerful as memory joggers than anything else. I don't have any memories brought back to me by Patchouli. I just like it. It sits well in my olfactories. I wouldn't want it all the time, or in overpowering amounts. But when I smell it, it pleases me.

I think people get bogged down in associations. It reminds me of this, it reminds me of that. It's a trap. Because it works both ways. It brings unpleasant associations as well. If you associate things with other things, you end up missing out on so much good stuff. I call it association prejudice. It is an INCREDIBLY powerful thing, and the vast majority of people aren't even aware of it.

I'll give you an example. Let's say twenty years ago you lived next door to a thoroughly unpleasant person who drove a Volkswagon Beetle. They hadn't looked after it and it made a terrible noise. They also worked an early shift. Not only did they wake you with the engine as it started up before dawn, they often took your parking spot. And were rude if you ever said anything about it. So now you don't like Volkswagon Beetles. You've never driven one, and really know nothing about them, but you have an association prejudice.

It doesn't matter, because you don't need one. You can live happily without it. Still, you dislike something you've never really "met" simply because of that association prejudice. Sad.

Sadder though, is that sometimes that which you have an association prejudice about is a person. That's sad for them. Maybe you too if you are missing out on a potentially great friendship. And sad too if it is not a person but a thing, a thing that would be very useful, or beneficial to you in some way.

In fact, what can happen with association prejudice is that you find yourself disliking something you like. Yes, I just said that.

This is the opposite of "going along with the majority". It's a sort of subconscious shooting yourself in the foot. It is so common, that I absolutely guarantee each and every person reading this has at least a few and possibly many association prejudices. I rarely meet anyone who is aware of it though. Perhaps analysts and psychologists find them for you, but unless you visit such people, you may never know. There's something to meditate on.

It may be a smell, a song, a taste, a person, an animal, a place............

Somewhere in your head is the idea that you dislike something or someone, and it's an error.

You don't have to like everything, and there's no specific thing I'm trying to encourage you to consider. I'm just all about awareness. It can be very freeing to be aware.

Anyway, I do hereby apologize for disliking most popular modern smells, especially candles, and for enjoying the one smell you all hate. I don't do it on purpose, it just is what it is.


  1. "So it's a bit like daubing yourself in cat pee."
    What a great idea! I could bottle it and sell it!

    "You've never driven one, and really know nothing about them, but you have an association prejudice."
    Or as Edward de Bono called it, when I was reading his book, "a logic bubble". I was discussing the same problem with my shrink recently. I don't have many upper teeth left and when I see someone lacking teeth, I have an unfortunate tendency to dismiss them as a "dumb $h!t" regardless of the fact that their challenged masticatory ability may have nothing to do with their intelligence.

  2. I dislike all artificial smells, so I never use 'air fresheners'. I DO love the smell produced by peeling an orange, though. I find that intoxicating. I also love vanilla. Not vanilla SCENT, but the real thing. Artificial scent makes my chest hurt and makes me cough.

  3. I offer, in addition to the prejudice you mention, the attachment factor we may have to certain manufactured scents. Once upon a time, I desired (tsk, tsk) to have a signature fragrance--one I liked and that everyone else could tolerate. It seemed quite the thing to do...so many people are known for wearing...oh...Chanel No. 5, for example. So I find one (not Chanel, of course) ...buy it...use it...only to have the company go out of business. So much for being known for a certain scent. Taught me a lesson about change, that's for sure. ~ Blessings! :)

    1. I had one I liked once...my daughter was allergic. So that was the end of that.