I smell a rat and it’s my dad’s new wife. Apparently, she has a “severe scent allergy.” She says she is hypersensitive to certain smells that can cause a reaction that could send her to the hospital.
Before the Christmas holidays she group texted the entire family about how we would need to clear our houses of any scents that would quote “trigger” her. It was a pretty long list that included no air fresheners, no plug-in room fresheners, no scented candles or soap including even dish soap. We also couldn’t wear any scented body lotions, perfume or hair care products around her.
My sister and I thought her list was ludicrous. If you’re that sensitive to smells how do you leave the house because everywhere you go there’s someone wearing something scented.
But because we didn’t want to upset our dad we followed her list which was a huge pain in the ass and yet his wife still had a reaction at my sister’s house on Christmas and she had to leave because she said she could “smell balsam and it felt like her throat was closing.” Talk about drama.
Imagine my surprise when I saw her at a Bath and Bodyworks store on New Year’s Day shopping their big sale with a bag loaded up with scented products from candles to body lotion. I didn’t confront her, but I took a video of her shopping and texted it in the family group message.
Now, my dad is angry at me and his lying new wife is saying she just put a gel in her nose that allowed her to go into the store and my dad is totally buying this.
Is there any way to get him to acknowledge that his wife is a huge liar? And if she’s lying about this imagine what else she is making up?
Signed, Something Smells Off
Let’s examine the facts. One, your new stepmother is indeed a liar. I’m no doctor but I am a fan of Bath and Body Works and I know if you had a severe scent sensitivity this emporium of smells from wild lime and gardenia to Jasmine and Frankincense would not be a nasal safe space.
I also consulted an allergist and there is no nose gel that would enable a person with such an allergy to plunge themselves into that level of scent utopia and not have a reaction.
This means that your father’s wife is seeking to control the family dynamics and draw attention to herself with these alleged scent issues. Sadly, there is nothing you can do to get your dad to wake up and smell the crazy.
If this ever does happen and it might not, he’s going to have to have his own awakening. No amount of family pressure will make him change his mind. In fact, it could cause him to cleave to this woman longer. You know the whole us against the world dynamic.
I would strive to keep an amicable relationship with your dad while telling his wife that you will no longer be purging your home of scents for her visits. (#UseThatNoseGel)
I also suggest that the fact that you would like to purge her from your family should be kept on the down low – at least for now.
If you have a question for Dear Snarky – advice with an attitude – email me at email@example.com. 😉