Pet Peeves

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Today, something different on the blog: you!

In Tuesday's blog I asked what you thought of people who wear heavy perfume on planes (in closed areas) and loud talkers on public transportation. I received so many responses that I decided to turn over today's blog "real estate" to many of you who wrote. Here are some of your many responses — and I want to emphasize that I pulled them from the show e-mail account randomly:

E-mail No. 1

Hi Greta
I hate people who wear a lot of perfume or cologne. It bothers me so much I no longer wear any scent. And folks who talk loudly on cells regardless of where they are or who is around are just rude. They are just trying to impress upon others how 'important' they are. Anyway, both types "take up a lot of space"!
Kingsville, OH

E-mail No. 2

First question: I don’t wear heavy perfume. I personally don’t like it when others do. You have to know how many times you are spraying it on yourself. While some might want to smell good they need to realize they might be irritating to others.
Second question: I don’t care to hear other people’s conversations. I think it can be very annoying. However, my mother-in-law can’t hear very well out of her right ear and therefore can be loud at times. I do try and think of that when someone is annoyingly talking loud. She does try and stop when we mention it to her but sometimes it doesn’t matter.
One last thing, I’m from Birmingham, AL and have been following the Natalee Holloway case continuously and I think the Vanity Fair issue is the biggest joke I’ve ever read. For the government or someone who supposedly is supposed to “represent” their government and island to come out to magazine and say what he said is obviously an idiot!
I thoroughly enjoy reading Gretawire everyday and seeing your show. You do a great job! Don’t listen to the people who have nothing better to do with their time then e-mail you mean and ugly things. They need to get a life.
Birmingham, AL

E-mail No. 3

Miss Greta:
Love the show! Here are the answers to your questions:
I have no problem with people wearing a small amount of perfume, but here's my question. Why is that the only people who wear too much perfume/aftershave always wear something stinky? I just put a dab on each wrist and you have to get really close to smell me. That's how perfume should work today, not how it worked in Elizabethan England where it covered up the fact that no one bathed.
I don't know what is up with people who talk really loudly on public transportation. My guess is this; they are either showing off or wanting everyone to know their business or they really do have some sort of hearing problem that can be solved by making a pilgrimage to the Miracle Ear store. A friend of mine has significant hearing loss in one ear and sometimes tends to shout; she has no idea she is being loud. I have to be a good friend and ask her to use her inside voice. I guess in that case, you just have sit on the side with the good ear; for the showing off scenario, there is just no help for that one.
Paula Smith
Frisco, TX

E-mail No. 4

What about men with lots of cologne? I know that I have accidentally put on too much cologne on several occasions. I'm sure anyone I ran across on those days thought there ought to be a law. Should you bitch and complain about something that the person may have done accidentally and you just happen to catch that one day? Anyone over the age of 19 that hasn't made a mistake that hasn't inconvenienced someone else can have all my worldly possessions.
Regardless, should you get bent out of shape for something that has no real effect on you? We are not Japan or China either by population density or culture or mindset. Our cultural norms are different. I don't care what someone does do themselves as long as it isn't a DIRECT negative impact on me. This includes the whiners about second-hand smoke, which is BS. Yeah, the smell is horrific, but I really doubt that my minimal exposure to second hand smoke is any worse than what I get from the asbestos dust from brake linings while walking along any-street USA. By the way, I do not smoke. Quit bitching about stuff you can't change, live by example and move on with your life. Stewing about crap you can't and shouldn't change is a waste of time (of course, I'm wasting time about people wasting time aren't I?!
Roy Hanson
Marion, IA

E-mail No. 5

1. I hate perfume anywhere, anytime. I try to use no products with scents. They give me a headache. People who use too much perfume can't smell themselves!
2. Worse than loud speakers on public transportation are cellphone users — they almost always talk too loud and in inappropriate places.
3. The Arubans are attacking Natalee's family because they are going to soon admit that the case cannot be solved. We, and they, know who did it, but the power (white?) structure in Aruba is protecting Joran and his dad (so they also have to protect the two brothers). It's a very crooked, nasty country!
Joan Hartnett
Boise, ID

E-mail No. 6

I am incensed at the Aruban government period and this latest takes the cake. Greta — please don't give up. I think it is something about this tiny island being so corrupt and getting one over on our wonderful people that makes me want them held accountable. Whatever the case, stand by her family and don't give up.
I think it is so rude for people to be so insensitive and wear heavy perfume at the expense of those around them. I find it offensive and have ask to be moved before. But more especially I think it is rude at hospitals and funerals. Some people just get accustom to their perfume and don't realize it.
As far as loud talkers — well — I know that I find myself extremely embarrassed in that situation. It seems like such a private thing yet out of no fault of your own you are forced to be made a part of it. Good questions and you are doing a good job.

E-mail No. 7

I think it's terribly inconsiderate of either men or women to be so doused with cologne/perfume that you smell them before you see them. I make it a point not to wear perfume on airline flights. There are perfumes that I, as a non-allergic person, am still sensitive to. There is one particular brand that, when I just smell it, I get an instant nauseous headache. If I had to sit next to a person wearing that brand I would become physically ill.
Hanover, MD

E-mail No. 8

Dear Greta,
I used to be a heavy perfume wearer. However, since I went to work for my brother I have had to wear very light fragrances, as he is allergic to perfume. I am very mindful of those who stink up the place with their favorite concoctions. Please ask women, AND MEN, not to wear heavy fragrances on airplanes and in enclosed areas. Keep the air clean, folks!
Keep up the work on your great show.
Roxie B
Austin, TX

E-mail No. 9

Hi Greta,
Wearing lots and lots of perfume anywhere can be a problem for many people, especially those highly sensitive to the scents. Seems the days of a light scent are over... but how do you tell someone 'politely' that their perfume is overwhelming? Recently had to leave an event early as the perfume on the person sitting two seats away from me gave me a terrific headache.
Loud talkers... some like to be noticed while others are unaware they are speaking loudly due to hearing problems. If possible, a polite 'you are speaking too loud' will do the trick.
Bev Knapp
Auburn, WA

E-mail No. 10

I think people who wear too much perfume or cologne during an airplane trip or while in any other restrictive area are being insensitive to other people. Many people have allergies to perfumes and colognes and when they are 'trapped' in an area with no escape it can be miserable. People should remember that a little goes a long way!
Birmingham, AL

E-mail No. 11

I hate being next to a lady wearing perfume. It makes me sick. I have had to move many times when a person sits down next to me with too much perfume on. People talking loud just want to be seen, I hate it when I am out eating and people talk loud enough for everyone to hear. I don't want to know their life history or about their pains. Parents who let their kids run around and yell drive me nuts. I go out to enjoy a nice meal not to hear kids yelling.
Judy Page
Moore, SC

E-mail No. 12

Well, this one I have to respond to. I have allergies and colognes worn by men or women simply make my breathing heavy and I can be choked up for weeks along with several doctor visits. Cigarette/cigar smoke does the same. Just this past Saturday my daughter and I attended a dance recital that my granddaughter was in. Two elderly ladies came in and sat next to us. My daughter is like myself and she was seated closer to them than I was. The entire afternoon was ruined by these two ladies. Please Greta, tell these people that good old soap and water are enough along with a non-scented deodorant.
V. McGlone
Portsmouth, OH

E-mail No. 13

Unfortunately, people who wear lots of perfume usually does so because after a period of time, they can no longer smell themselves and assumes neither can anyone else. I personally prefer a hint of fragrance on myself and other people. Folks should be aware that though they become
immune to their own fragrance, doesn’t mean that other people will. Some people are either
clueless or has no regard for other people.
For those who speak too loudly on public transportation. What they fail to realize is the person next to them isn’t deaf, they are ignoring them. It comes down to eye contact.
In both cases, it boils down to being too self-centered. As that saying goes, ‘Do onto others as you would have them do onto you’. What? You can’t hear me? That’s O.K. I bet you can smell me.
Karen Lanier
Huntsville, AL

E-mail No. 14

Dear Greta,
I was once a flight attendant, and smells are just one of a zillion annoying things on an airplane where you can't get away from the problem because you can't open the doors or windows. First of all, it's not just women and perfume. Men can really overdo it as well, and it is very nauseating. To this day, if I ever get a whiff of Aramis, I feel ill for hours. And then there's the problem of body odor. I could go on and on, but then you didn't ask about how I feel about people who put their feet up on the bulkhead. Very unattractive!
Now, as for the loud talkers... Yes, it is annoying when they are blasting out their conversations on public transportation or in restaurants. It's bad enough when they are talking to each other, but the shouting cell phonies are even worse. They're everywhere: grocery stores, doctor's offices, restaurants, movie theatres, concert halls, churches, museums, parks, beaches, etc.
It has become a very noisy, rude, and annoying world out there (sometimes smelly too). It's time for a wake-up call to stir people out of their self-absorption and consider how their behavior is affecting those around them.
Hello, everyone! Buy this book for everyone on your Christmas/holiday list: "Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door" by Lynn Truss, author of the best-selling "Eats, Shoots & Leaves."
Julia Smith Grossman
Santa Monica, CA

E-mail No. 15

Hi! My own thoughts are that women who wear lots of perfume are airplanes are being very inconsiderate. I don't wear perfume unless I will be out in the open (park, open air facility, outdoor restaurant etc.) More and more children are born with asthma and respiratory problems. Heavy perfumes can contribute to breathing problems, headaches, asthma attacks, etc. I try to live by the golden rule... Those are just my thoughts...
J. Schulte
Columbia, MO

E-mail No. 16

Hi Greta,
I find that women that wear "lots and lots" of perfume are the same women that speak loudly on public transportation. I just light up a cigarette and tune into my iPod.
Jan Maane

E-mail No. 17

Hi Greta,
I was shocked at the experience Mr. Feiger had with the government busting into his business. He has a great point about the baseless intrusion of government into our lives. Just this morning I heard on "FOX & Friends" that one can secure false documents at a well-known location in NYC. Further, when one criminal document forger is apprehended, another simply moves into place. Perhaps our government should use as much vigor pursuing this type of criminal and protecting us from the invasion of illegal aliens.
I've emailed before so I'm repeating myself when I say I enjoy your show. I don't have to always agree with you or your guests, but I love to be informed and yes, even challenged and you have a wonderful format.
Responses to your questions:
A) Women AND men should be careful about applying fragrance when they are going to be in confined spaces, like an aircraft. It is not only annoying but can cause physical distress to those with allergies. At the other end of the spectrum are those (who always seem to be seated near me on the airplane) with body odor or foul breath.
As a human resources professional, I can tell you that overuse of fragrance is a common complaint in the corporate "cubicle farms."
B) This is one of my personal pet peeves when flying. I've often wondered if there was some type of polite way to get them to lower their voice. If the person happens to be seated next to me, I bury my nose in my book and ignore them. But, usually they're seated behind me shouting into my eardrums. I think some people who do this are unaware of how loud they are but there are others who seem to be show-offs or know-it-alls. Those are the ones I'd like to smack.
My fiance is a "loud talker" and he doesn't even have a hearing problem. If I say "torque it down" it is our code that he needs to lower his voice. We've talked and talked about this and don't know why he does this. He can modulate his voice if he thinks about it — he just needs to be reminded sometimes.
You didn't mention this and I'm wondering if I'm maybe being a little craba__ about it. I've recently had the misfortune to be seated in front of someone who pounded vigorously on his laptop throughout the entire flight. Because the laptop was on the tray table, I felt the continual jarring. On an East to West coast flight, this gets old really fast. Is this something we're going to need to get used to in this age of electronic overkill and dependency or is there some electronic etiquette standard that people need to adopt?
Byrd Dottie

E-mail No. 18

Hi Greta,
I recently discovered that fit the profile of that question. It was not public transportation, but a busy restaurant.
I have degenerative hearing loss and was attempting to respond to someone across the table from me, who asked a question I could barely hear over all the ambient noise.
As I delivered my response, I looked beyond my audience and discovered a number of people tables away looking right at me.
No more of that — from now on, I plan only to converse with people sitting on either side of me!
Little Rock, AR

E-mail No. 19

Excessive perfume on airplanes and other public places is one of my pet peeves/annoyances. The sad thing is, in such large amounts, it doesn't even smell like perfume. It could just as well be an obnoxious chemical. They should make sure it doesn't affect the explosive sniffers at the airport. Maybe it would keep them of the plane — hope, hope.
Henderson, NV

E-mail No. 20

Heavy perfume wearer and loud talkers are just rude. The heavy perfume is annoying for people like me with Asthma, it's just inconsiderate and way over board in most cases!
Springfield, VA

E-mail No. 21

My husband and I flew from Atlanta to Buenos Aires recently on an all night flight. Everyone on the plane had settled down and were quietly reading or sleeping by midnight on the entire plane except for the two elderly Spanish speaking women behind us who were very conversing very loudly. After about one hour of trying to go to sleep, I got up and explained my dilemma to a flight attendant. I don’t speak Spanish and it sounded as if the women could not hear very well and that they had a lot to talk about. Several minutes later another flight attendant came by and gave us earplugs and advised that it would be better if we used them. We did but they didn’t help much. All the passengers around us were rolling their eyes and looking mean at those rude women. Next time, I won’t be so concerned about hurting someone else’s feelings and asking that they Please hush up! Hindsight of course but I believe the attendant might have handled the situation better.
Kim Kelly
Signal Mountain, TN

E-mail No. 22

Hi Greta,
I love to wear Estee Lauder's perfume, "Pleasures". However, I know it's a fairly strong scent so I am cautious about when and where I wear it. I put a very light spray of it on before work because I have my own office but if I'm going to be somewhere in a crowd, I don't wear it at all. I've seen allergic reactions and would hate to cause such a thing!
Secondly, my husband is a loud talker and I don't have a clue as to why. I think his hearing is all right, his voice is just loud! It is embarrassing to me when we are in a public place and he's speaking too loudly... I try to tell him, gently, to lower his voice. He usually does. I know he's unaware because he talks loud at home. If anyone comes up with a way to get them to lower their voices, I'd sure like to know what it is.
Thanks for asking!
Cheyenne, MT
P.S. I hope I'm not one of the "ranters" you wrote about recently. I've never seen one of my e-mails in your column, so I'm hoping I'm just not interesting enough and not considered a ranter.

ANSWER: Debbie is NOT one of those chronic ranters.

E-mail No. 23

You picked one of my biggest pet peeves: loud talkers. I was married to one for several years and can not tell you how embarrassing it was to be in a restaurant and know that everyone in the room was hearing half of our conversation — his half. With the exception of those who do it because they are hard of hearing, I find that often times it is a subconscious form of gloating. That inside, these people need to feel important and one way they can achieve this is by making sure the people around them overhear their conversations. Personally, I find it rude and I get very irritated when someone that I am not even having a conversation with is forcing me to be a part of his (or hers). So I have a message for all the loud talkers out there: Before you open your mouth to speak when in a public place, remember that no one but you, and (maybe) the person you are speaking to, cares about what you have to say. So, keep the decibels to a bare minimum — those around you will greatly appreciate your good manners!
Jennifer R.
Pensacola, FL

E-mail No. 24

About women who wear lots of perfume anywhere in public. Someone needs to tell them it is NOT appealing and when others are forced to smell it, it is rude ! I have been in a restaurant when I could not enjoy my meal because of "overpowering" perfume from a table nearby. Help!
Little Rock, AR

E-mail No. 25

Can't stand overwhelming perfume or loud talkers in public. Also, hate cell phone use in a restaurant. So there! :-)
For Aruba to "blame" Beth is just absurd. They didn't do their job in the very beginning and now they want to blame the victims. Figures. I still think they are hiding something. Those judges are guilty of collusion. If the report that the prosecutor, Karin, wept in frustration, when they were all released, is true, then she knows that she had enough evidence to hold them.
I think the only way Beth is going to know what happened is to find out on her own somehow, with private investigators etc. There are still avenues open to her if she can't get answers through official channels. Maybe not the best way but it might be the ONLY way.
Janice Davies
Live Oak, CA

E-mail No. 26

It's extremely rude for women to wear heavy perfume anywhere (and men too, with aftershave or cologne!) It makes me gag, tears run down my face and my nose runs! I refuse to be near someone like that. Those people need to get a clue. Isn't there a rule of thumb, if the wearer can smell it, it's too much?
K. Lowry

E-mail No. 27

Greta: Wow! Two of my pet peeves — I thought I was weird!
A) Too much perfume is obnoxious! Not only can it trigger migraines but hello, not everyone has the same smell preference! More consideration should be demonstrated to fellow people. And here's another question: Why is it that the heavy perfume-wearing people have the most offensive perfume?
B) Yes, this is extremely irritating. I don't have a clue as to why people can't be more aware of their surroundings and be more polite. Some people have not figured out that they are not the only ones occupying the earth.
Think there is a correlation between heavy perfume wearing people and loud talkers? I do.
Your show is great! Keep up the good work! You have a great style not found in too many other reporters/journalists!
Melissa Shea
Grand Junction, CO

E-mail No. 28

As for perfume on airplanes, I definitely think it’s rude and inconsiderate. I also think that it’s rude and inconsiderate to wear heavy perfume when you’re going to visit a newborn baby or when going to work out in a gym (like cycling classes in a small enclosed space). My mother-in-law had a habit of bathing in perfume every time we left the house to go somewhere. I finally made a really big deal about it and she has lightened up on the perfume around my kids. She has a friend that came to see our son when he was six weeks old and her perfume was so strong that we faked a spit up episode in order to change his outfit before getting in the car to leave!

E-mail No. 29

Greta, in regard to your question about heavy perfume, I have a rare disease called Mastocytosis and lots of us can have an anaphylaxis attack if we are around those who wear heavy perfume.
I have always believed that those loud talkers are 1) hard hearing or talk a lot to someone who is or 2) do it for attention.
Joyce McEntire

E-mail No. 30

A) It is very rude for people to wear a lot of perfume when they know that they are going to be in a crowd.
It is not good to wear a lot of perfume especially during a job interview. My boss was an employment recruiter was allergic to perfume and would cut interviews short and not consider the person for a job b/c she knew her strong perfume would be offensive to others as well. Not a good idea.
B) It is annoying when someone is talking so loud that everyone around them can hear the conversation. I always think that they do it just for attention. If they are hard of hearing, then most of the people in IL, MI, OH and NY are deaf b/c they are the worst loud talkers. I guess I first noticed how annoying that is when I used to go to the beach in FL and you could hear them everywhere on the beach. We called them the "loud mouthed snow birds." Sorry! But I'm sure they have names for us too. I do think it is a Northern thing.
Linda Clark
Atlanta, GA

E-mail No. 31

Regarding your question about women who where lots of perfume on airplanes: I hate it and think it’s rude. But not only on airplanes... on trains, buses, subways, in elevators, doctors offices, stores, at work... you name it. It’s overwhelming and gives me a migraine. They needn’t bathe in the stuff!
Vickie Charlton
Auburn, WA

E-mail No. 32

You have hit on two of my pet peeves. The perfume is almost more of a problem than smokers. I have been on empty elevators where I was sickened by the scent left behind by an earlier passenger. I sing in choral groups where perfumes and perfumed hair care products are strictly prohibited — for good reason. Some folks are allergic to the point that they cannot sing.
Loud talking is a problem not only on public transportation, but in all public spaces. Don't they realize they're sharing their personal information with the masses?
That felt good! Thanks for the opportunity to vent.
Social Circle, GA

E-mail No. 33

And now for one of my very pet peeves — loud talkers in restaurants — on airplanes — anywhere!
It is very rude and is done for two reasons:
No. 1) Mainly to call attention to himself/herself
No. 2) To demonstrate what they regard as their intellectual superiority over others who surround them.
Around here, people such as these are generally from the Northeast.
Note: Two recent incidents:
1) My husband and I were having breakfast at a local restaurant when we became aware of four people with Northern accents sitting behind us. Their waitress (who has waited on us many times and is a very nice young lady) had no sooner left their table than these people began loudly making fun of her Southern accent. Clue: They are the ones with the accents here.
2) Another morning at a different restaurant: Two women from the North were asked by their waitress if they wanted hash browns or grits with their order. One woman became quite flustered and proclaimed loudly that she would never eat grits and went on a tirade against grits. My husband (a Georgia native who really loves his grits) and asked the woman why she didn't like grits. Without thinking, she answered loudly, "Because they're n——- food!" My husband very quietly responded, "Ma'am, we don't talk that way here", which put her to shame — momentarily.
I could go on and on about this subject, but I will spare you.

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