Editor's Note: Hundreds of Ann Landers' loyal readers have requested that newspapers continue to publish her columns. These letters originally appeared in 1999.
Dear Ann Landers: Like millions of others, I have grown up reading your column, but I never thought I would need to write to you. Today's incident, however, has changed all that.
As I sat in the doctor's waiting room, in walked a woman who smiled pleasantly and took a seat next to me. Within a minute, I thought I'd pass out. She had on enough perfume to asphyxiate an army.
First, I should tell you, I'm a smoker, but I do try to be respectful of others. I obey all no-smoking signs and never light up in a no-smoking area, nor do I smoke in a group without asking permission. My complaint is about women who douse themselves in perfume. After being around them, I get choked up to the point where I CANNOT breathe, and I lose my voice. This is exactly what happened to me in the doctor's waiting room.
I know I can't be the only person in the world with this problem, so please, Ann, print my letter in your column. It would be a tremendous service to millions of readers. — D.P., Somewhere in Texas
Dear D.P.: Here's your letter, and for whatever comfort it may be, you have a lot of company. I have received hundreds of letters from both men and women who cannot tolerate perfume, cologne or men's aftershave lotion. Some have written, "My throat closes up." Others have said, "I break out in hives."
I hope your letter will alert millions of readers to the fact that a dab of perfume behind the ears is fine, but please, don't drown in it.
Dear Ann Landers: I've learned a lot from your column. The most valuable bit of advice was the counsel given by my grandmother when I married. It was this:
"Don't look for perfection in your mate. You will not find it. And it's just as well. Living with a saint can be tiresome. Learn the wisdom of compromise. It is better to bend a little than to break." — Norfolk, Va., Reader
Dear Va.: Words of wisdom not only for newlyweds, but for all of us. Remember them.
To find out more about Ann Landers and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
ANN LANDERS (R)