How Do I Tell My Date That He Wears Too Much Cologne? | Ask the Rev. | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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How Do I Tell My Date That He Wears Too Much Cologne? 

Published March 6, 2024 at 10:00 a.m.

click to enlarge ID286087656© DZIANIS VASILYEU | DREAMSTIME
  • ID286087656© Dzianis Vasilyeu | Dreamstime

Dear Reverend,

I met a guy on a dating app, and we really hit it off chatting via text and on the phone, so we decided to meet up for a coffee. He was handsome and funny, and I really liked him a lot. Except for one thing: He was wearing way too much cologne. I would like to see him again, but not if it's going to make my eyes water. How can I tell him without being rude? Should I say I'm allergic?

Ollie Factree (woman, 53)

Dear Ollie Factree,

I had an old family friend who used to wear so much cologne that if I hugged him in the morning, I'd smell like him for the rest of the day — sometimes even after I took a shower. My sisters and I used to rib him about it, but he never changed his ways. So I think your best bet is to be straightforward with this fella.

You shouldn't tell him that you're allergic because that would be a lie — never a good thing, especially at the beginning of a relationship. Colognes and scents aren't really allergens, because they don't cause a reaction from your immune system. However, strong fragrances can be irritants that trigger sneezing and watery eyes in some people.

Honesty really is the best policy, and even though it may seem particularly awkward in a hygiene-related situation, it still applies. The longer you hem and haw, the more awkward it will get. The next time you talk to this guy, cut to the chase — gently. You could say something like, "I'm really looking forward to seeing you again, but I should have mentioned that I'm a bit sensitive to some colognes. Could you not wear any on our next date?"

He will likely appreciate your honesty, and he may actually be relieved. Some men only wear cologne because they think the ladies like it. If for some reason he says he can't live without his signature scent, you'll have to decide if you would rather go fragrance-free.

Good luck and God bless,

The Reverend

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The Reverend

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What's your problem? Need some irreverent counsel on life's conundrums? You can always just "Ask the Rev."

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