I’ve applied for two jobs in the past few weeks where the employer has had a severe allergy to scents (not just perfume but scented shampoo, soap, lotion, candles, air fresheners, and just about anything that has any kind of smell to it). One sent me a memo explaining that she experiences “mini-strokes” and even brain damage if she comes close to someone wearing a scented product. In order to work for her, not only would I have to give up all scented products all the time, but I would have to detox my wardrobe, towels, sheets, car, and so on and so forth. Clothing detox basically involves about four washing machine cycles per load of clothing – once just for the machine (with baking soda only) and three times for the clothes themselves. All this for $15 an hour.
I keep getting myself into these situations where I think I can make this kind of lifestyle change, that I’m not that into toxic products to begin with, but when I learn about the details it just starts to seem insane. No painting my toe nails? No fabric softener, EVER? I have to choose from the brands of deodorant you’ve provided on your memo and submit to someone “sniffing” me before I can enter your house?
The thing is, though I abhor most perfumes, colognes, strong-smelling lotions, etc. I do in fact like certain smells… I buy shampoos based on scent alone. Also, there is my recent fascination with dyeing my hair. I dyed my hair once, about three years ago, but usually keep it natural. However, something (probably being underemployed) made me respond to a Craigslist ad seeking a hair model in a high-end salon. I’d done this before, so I knew it would be a good deal. In the end, the changes were infinitesimal, to the point that no one noticed. I went from this:
(That ten-head and marbles-in-the-cheeks look is 100% natural however. Um yes, this photo is truly awful, but the only accurate depiction of the “professional” dye job). Oddly enough, right around the time I said I’d undergo a full body and clothing chemical detox (heh), I became obsessed with finding the right hair color. The salon color was super boring, s0 I decided to try this:
The smell nearly gave me brain damage, but it came out looking like this:
Note the richness of the hair color… I dig it. And I guess the point of all of this is to say I’m sabotaging (whether on purpose or not is still unclear to me) my chances of getting a job in Berkeley by indulging my new-found chemical dependence. I guess it’s better to realize that now, instead of finding myself trapped in a dead-end job where I can’t change my hair color (or brand of deodorant) without getting fired.