The Man Who Repelled Women with Cologne


Subject: No Longer Buying Your Cologne

Dear Calvin Klein,

I’m 33 years old, and I loved all your men’s colognes. I really did. Every morning, I sprayed Eternity Intense on my lower jaw and wrists; then I left my apartment. The smell was so intoxicating, I felt incredibly sexy. I became hopeful I could finally find a girlfriend!

But a month ago, something shocking happened. I switched to Obsessed; then I walked to the bus stop, and saw a 250-pound woman standing beside the bus shelter. In her mid-20s, she had a double chin, high heels, and was wearing a tight-fitting red lace bodycon dress.

Feeling an overwhelming attraction to her, I raised my chest high, pulled my stomach in, and approached her with pouty lips, but before I could speak, she twisted her face and cried, “Oh, my God!” Then she turned and trotted down the street!

I’ve never been rejected like this before. Women have often said to me: “I don’t feel like dancing right now”, “I don’t drink coffee”, and “I don’t want a man in my life.” However, no woman has ever said, “Oh, my God!” and walked away from me. Did I stink? How could that be? I was wearing Obsessed.

My self-confidence was badly shaken, but I remembered the words of a Zen Master: “If women keep rejecting you, it might be because there is something wrong with you, but if you stare at a cloud for ten hours, you will be okay.” Comforted by this saying, I went home, sat on my balcony, and stared at the sky for a very long time.

A week later, I switched back to Eternity Intense, and went looking for love again. I took a bus downtown, and saw a Russian woman sitting in the back seat. She was ten years older than me, had a shaved head, and was missing half her teeth, yet I felt strangely attracted to her. I couldn’t resist her she-devil smile!

As soon as I sat beside her, she cried, “O net, ne snova!” which means: “Oh, no, not again!” Then she opened her purse and put a face mask on. I was mortified. Two women in one week repelled by how I smell! How was this possible?

I asked the woman why she wore a mask. She explained how cologne makes her face hurt really bad. My jaw dropped, and my heart was pierced! At that moment, I knew what I had to do.

When I returned to my apartment, I opened all my bottles of cologne, took one last sniff of each, then flushed them down the toilet. I cried a little because I love how great I smell, but I will not cause anyone pain by wearing cologne in public!

Sadly, Olga—the woman I met on the bus—broke up with me a week ago. She said, “Roger, you stink bad!” It’s all Olga’s fault though. The she-devil put a love spell on me! Whenever I fall in love, I get so nervous, I sweat like a horse!

I have a request to make of your company. Since Olga dumped me, every woman I’ve asked out has turned me down! Can you create a natural cologne that smells like chocolate? A majority of women love chocolate more than sex, so if I smell like a chocolate bar, I believe it will increase my chances of finding a girlfriend.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours truly,

Roger Tuckerman

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The Moral Argument Against Fragranced Products

fragrance signIn the TV series, The X Files, Dana Skully says to Fox Mulder: “I have identified the effect. I am still looking for the cause.”1 When something happens (an effect) it can often be a mystery to determine why it happened (the cause). For many effects, there can be more than one cause. One cause and effect relationship many people are unaware of is how fragranced consumer products can trigger health problems—including migraine headaches and asthma attacks—in a significant percentage of the population.2 If products containing fragrance are proven to cause harm to others, then consumers have a moral responsibility not to use these products in public.

Countless home cleaning and personal care products have fragrance added to them. These products include perfumes, colognes, aftershaves, laundry detergents, fabric softeners, air fresheners, deodorants, and soaps.3 In 2010, the Environmental Working Group did laboratory tests and found that “the average fragrance product tested contained 14 secret chemicals.”4 Fragrance companies do not have to list the chemicals on the product label due to trade secret protections.5 The combined ingredients are identified as “fragrance” or “parfum.”6 According to the International Fragrance Association, there are 3,999 different ingredients (both natural and synthetic) used in making fragrance.7

Fragranced consumer products can harm a person’s health. A 2016 Australian study of more than 1,000 people found that 33 per cent of respondents reported health problems after exposure to such products.8 Negative effects included “migraine headaches, asthma attacks, contact dermatitis, respiratory difficulties, and mucosal symptoms.”9 Nearly eight per cent of respondents had lost work days in the past year because they were exposed to fragrance.10 Exactly why fragrance can trigger health problems is not fully understood by scientists, but the effects are real.

If an individual uses a fragranced consumer product at work (or in other public places), other people may be negatively impacted. Even though it is legal to use these products in public, just because something is legal does not make it moral. It is a universal moral principle that no one should intentionally harm an innocent person.11 If this principle is true, then it is morally wrong to use fragranced products in public because doing so will cause other people pain and suffering.

A lot of suffering in this world is unavoidable; however, the pain and suffering caused by fragrance is 100 per cent preventable. Instead of buying products with fragrance, consumers can buy brands that are labelled fragrance-free. (Fragrance-free means the product has no added fragrance, while unscented means it contains a fragrance that masks the odor caused by other chemical ingredients.12) Fragrance-free products are often higher in price, but the more people who buy them, the more corporations (and small businesses) will produce them, and the more alternatives there will be for consumers.


  1. The X Files, “Teliko.” Directed by Jim Charleston. Written by Howard Gordon. Fox, October 18, 1996.
  2. Anne Steinemann, “Health and societal effects from exposure to fragranced consumer products.” Preventative Medicine Reports Vol 5 (2017): 45,
  3. “Fragrances in Cosmetics,” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, December 29, 2015,
  4. Heather Sarantis et al., “Not So Sexy: The Health Risks of Secret Chemicals in Fragrance,” Environmental Working Group, May 2, 2010, 3,
  5. “Cosmetic Labelling Guide,” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, accessed October 31, 2017, 23,
  6. Clare Pain, “Something in the air: From scented candles to cleaning products, our lives have become fragranced like never before. What’s the effect on our health.” New Scientist 234 No. 3129 (2017): 34-37.
  7. “Ingredients,” International Fragrance Association,
  8. Steinemann, “Health and societal effects,” 45.
  9. Ibid.
  10. Steinemann, “Health and societal effects,” 46.
  11. Nigel Warburton, “The Harm Principle: How to live your life the way you want to,” BBC Radio 4, 2:00, posted November 2014,
  12. Jessica Chia, “The Truth About ‘Fragrance-Free’ Products,” Prevention, January 23, 2014,

My Free eBook ⇒ The Donkey King and Other Stories