Wanted: Husband for Chemically Sensitive Woman


Hi, today, I’m placing an ad out for a husband. Please read carefully before applying for this specialised position:

  • For visual entertainment must be able to wash dishes while wearing only boxer-short type undies. Footy shorts are a fine alternative to boy-leg knickers.
  • To avoid contaminating the indoor airspace must be willing to take clothes off outside, or at least in another room, and head straight for the shower (Yes, coincidently, this happens to be visually entertaining also, but that’s not the actual reason for this rule.)
  • Must be able to explain the ins’ and outs’ of this rule to visitors and be able to facilitate the actions needed to sustain it—actually, to protect visitors modesty and the neighbours eyes from seeing your uncle Ted naked, maybe we’ll just forgo visitors until my health recovers, hey?

Visitor Protocol

  • However, if we must have visitors then they must keep a set of clothes here that haven’t been washed in fabric softener, washing powder, or worn with fragrance. These clothes must be new and have been washed here at my house, in my machine and with our fragrance-free liquid (It’s the only one my immune system is okay with (for now until my tolerance comes back). Visitor showers at home with our bodywash, shampoo, conditioner and whatever else they need (shave cream/moisturiser), which we supply. You’re welcome. Visitor must drive here in a car that doesn’t have a Fragrance Emitting Device blowing out fragrance over them; or with a Scented Xmas Tree hanging from the rear vision mirror. Then when they arrive they discreetly shower (again) with our products, then put on their fresh clothes. Lunch or dinner will then be served!

    Other Notes

  • You must understand that even after a quick nick down to the supermarket, fragrances and cleaning chemical VOC residues will stick to clothing, therefore, you need to take a shower and change clothes (See take Clothes off Outside rule.). I don’t get to go shopping or into a supermarket. Rarely, I go to Costco (which is another blog post entirely!) but I wear a mask, change clothes afterwards in the car, then shower and wash hair when I get home: even with all this preparation, I can still end up laying in bed like something the dog vomited up for some days later.
  • The same rules apply to putting petrol in the car, visiting relatives, going to work—actually, going just about anywhere. I’d love to compromise on this rule for the sake of convenience and getting along with you, but, I’m sorry, my health is more important.
  • Understand that there are House clothes and Going Out clothes. It doesn’t matter how good your bum looks in those G-Star Raw jeans, you cannot wear them in the house. Now take them off. Outside. (But leave the shorty shorts on.)
  • Also understand that there are varying degrees of chemical exposure and the amount of VOC and chemical irritants (aka fragrance) that get on your clothes will impact on my quality of life (aka breathing); the solution to this: Going Out clothes can’t be washed with House clothes.
  • Going Out clothes need to be aired in between washes to avoid the build up of VOCs and harmful fragrance ingredients
  • Due to mould and dust sensitivity, House clothes can’t be folded and put away without being washed first; and furthermore, they must be aired on the rack in the bathroom between wearing them. May I suggest you choose a couple of sets of clothing and wear them on rotation, washing them at the end of the week, like I do?

    Woodsmoke rules:

  • When it’s smoky outside, in between uses, the bathroom door needs to stay taped up with painters masking tape (It doesn’t pull the paint off like ordinary masking tape does.). If it’s left unsealed, woodsmoke can enter the house and impact my health, possibly making me ill—for days.
  • If you feel like you can’t be bothered pulling off the masking tape and then reapplying it in the middle of the night, please understand that you can’t just go pee outside when it’s smoky because the smoke particles will adhere to your clothes and skin and impact on my sinuses, possibly giving me a headache—it doesn’t matter if you can’t smell it because it’s actually the chemicals not the smell that is the problem, here
  • Washing can’t be left outside at all during the cooler months because of the woodsmoke and mould spores that will get into our clothing, so it must be dried inside the bathroom with the AusClimate dehumidifier running and must happen during the day—before it gets smoky in the evening.

Mould Rules

  • Take out the trash before anything starts to oxidise, therefore causing my sinuses to react to that rotting apple core left in there last night, which I might just throw at you on account of recidivism (dying to use that word, which just means repeat offending)
  • When I tell you there is microbial activity or fragrance on something, therefore, it must go outside, you must take my word for it. Any debating on this issue will cause a domestic the scale of Hiroshima.
  • If we are in bed and about to go to sleep yet I’m having symptoms of fragrance exposure, you need to go shower again. This time use Bicarbonate of soda, please. (It’s on the top shelf next to the shower.)
  • Any fabric that’s been left wet and in a pile for more than 48 hours will go in the bin. Mildew doesn’t wash out for people who’re are mould sensitive and mould grows after 48 hours
  • Must fulfil this: Take care of my plants until I recover due to my breathing issues I have with damp soil
  • Do not turn off any of my 3 running InovaAir or Austin air purifiers. Or prepare to die a painful death.
  • Please run the AusClimate dehumidifier after each shower so my bathroom doesn’t go mouldy
  • No shoes in the house
  • Wash dog for me when I’m sick please
  • No cooking in the house until I recover
  • Use all fragrance free personal care products and don’t use fragrances that are marketed as ‘Aftershave’, ‘Perfume’ or ‘Non-Gender specific’. If you think you can use it on the days you don’t see me, what you need to realise is this: it adheres to all your clothes and does not wash out. It makes me sick for reasons only recently discovered, yet, I have had to live with this pain in my head, sinus, airways and eyes for 14 years and still do. A cure is in sight though but don’t, for a nanosecond, think you can abandon me and then when I’m all better come back all Lothario in nature with a bunch of roses and a bottle of perfume cause I won’t want you then. And out of respect for my friends who do have MCS/EHS, ME/CFS/SEID and other medical conditions where chemical sensitivity is a symptom, I won’t wear the so-called luxury product and may just throw it at you!

PS: I recently had a NeuroQuant MRI, which shows I have atrophy in parts of my brain. I believe this gives license to behaving like a two year old; and also explains a change in my behaviour over the last 4 years. Also, breathing in fragrance really hurts my head, incredibly so, therefore, tantrums are to be expected!

Oh, and only Real Men who are Vegan may apply!

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

Kathryn Treat Tribute: #pour1out4MCS Video

Up on my blog, I now have part II of ‘New Beginnings—No Turning Back’, with Author of Allergic to Life: My Battle for Courage, Survival and Hope, Kathryn Treat up on my blog. (It took me a whole year to complete part I and another whole year for part II. And part III is in the works. Life’s a struggle. To write and edit you need a functioning brain and body. Ha, and I want to do long-form Journalism? Yes, my heart is still set on it.). But before you see Part II, and I hope you’ve already read Part I, you have to see this (all my MCS sisters and brothers who’ve seen it so far have freaked out; even so much as to cry tears of joy. And it’s possibly my most shared Facebook video yet!) It’s long over due here on the Labyrinth, so with out further waffle…

More from Rachel Meeks from Do I Look Sick:

My voice sounds a little weird because I have a cold at the moment. Please consider making your own little #pour1out4MCS video – it’s easy, fun, and raises awareness for a really good cause. Link to your videos in the comments – who knows? I may turn this into a raffle if enough people jump on board.

Miss you, Kathryn.

We miss her too, Rachel. It’s been a whole year since you made this bloody awesome YouTube clip that had me crying tears of gratitude, joy, hope and sadness all at once.

And, congratulations on your new addition to the family from all of us here at the Labyrinth. I can see that baby of yours already has the best start in life because [Miche begins singing in her best Soprano Voice:] you ditched your fragrance products for a great cause. (Good news, dear readers: Fragrance irritant chemicals, air-borne phthalates and synthetic musks won’t be around this lil’  Junior!)

perfumes with fragrance chemical irritants as ingredients, which exacerbate allergies and chemical sensitivities. Go free from fragrance for your own health and that of others

(For those of you who can’t watch the video possibly due to EHS, can only be on your computer for short bursts or can’t handle the flickering of the screen, here is a short summary: Rachel Meeks and Kathryn Treat, author of the already-mentioned book, Allergic to Life: My Battle for Courage, Survival and Hope, met up in the blogosphere, becoming friends, supporting one another, and each teaching the other a little about living with chronic illness. Meeks has endometriosis, an incurable chronic pain condition, IBS, a digestive illness, and PCOS, which causes irregular periods and infertility.

After hiding her illness she discovered that she “began to get upset at the mistreatment of people with illness. I realized the only way I could help was to speak out, make some noise, wear my heart on my sleeve, and confess that I am not well.

“If you have an invisible illness, know that you’re not alone. If you don’t, know that one (or more) of your friends probably does.

“The more we can educate people, the easier it will be to live with invisible illness.”

During the video, in tribute to the passing of our dear Kathryn Treat, Meeks pours out a bottle of perfume into the dirt in a park, promising to eradicate fragrances from her life in honour of the sage life lessons she learned from her friendship with Treat.

The moral of this video: Meeks is smart enough to recognise that Treat getting sick like that from mould, fragrance chemicals and many others, could just as easily happen to her or someone she loves. Just like it could happen, or may have already happened to you!)

Or dear friend, blogger mate, family member, author, mother, grandmother, our Kathryn would be so happy if she could watch this clip. If I were religious, I’d imagine her watching this video, delighted; but, do you know she was the type of woman, brave and strong, who went through life expecting people to be compassionate, expecting others to do the right thing; and she carried a wiseness about her, as if to say: “This does not surprise me. Of course people are capable of great compassion.” Or something like that…

And you, Rachel, and all the beautiful shiny people who give up fragrance for the sake of other people’s health, rather than your own, need to know how valuable you truly are. The lives of people, like myself, who have health conditions which are related to or impacted on by chemical sensitivities would have life so easy if all the humans who cross our paths could be as compassionate and respectful as what you have. Not everyone recognises our basic human need and right to breath just plain oxygen; and when asked, some people, who we like to call ‘Obsessive Fragrance Wearers‘, well they use even more perfume, aftershave [insert narcissistic assholes psychopath’s chemical-irritant based personal-care product of choice here] …

It’s people like you who can help spread the compassionate message, leading by example, therefore, making the world a better place.

Thank you <3

Pretty perfume bottle that reads: "friendships over fragrance irritants

This page is free to copy and share. Contact me if you get confused and would like the code to pop into the ‘text’ part of your blog so the video renders on your page.


‘Do I Look Sick’s’ Interview: Allergic to Life for Real ~ Kathryn Treat

Greenpeace: Perfume – An Investigation of Chemicals in 36 Eaux de Toilette and Eaux de Parfum in 36 eaux de toilette perfumes

On Amazon: Allergic to Life: My Battle for Courage, Survival and Hope

Kathryn Treat’s Blog: allergictolifemybattle

Kathryn Treat’s Blog Post: Book Blog Tour: Day 11

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity WordPress: Obsessive Fragrance Wearers


Note: I will be installing FaceBook comments plugin so these posts are easier to comment on and share

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

Coming in From the Cold… and a Life Off the Streets

You know, these days, women can do whatever it is they like with their bodies. We live in an age of feminism, freedom and choice; it’s a given in Australia, and in most western countries that women are free in this respect—but that is not the case for everyone. Each year, when things get tough, hundreds of women in Melbourne turn to the oldest profession for financial assistance: prostitution or, for a better term, sex work. Now this is just great if this is their ideal dream job with corresponding pay check; but many are turning to street sex work out of circumstances beyond their control: doing it out out of desperation or coercion, there’s nothing remotely feminist based about that choice—or lack of.

The issues that these women face are ones of abuse, addiction, homelessness, mental health, poverty and family breakdown. Add into this mix, the stigma, judgement and marginalization dealt out to them every single day by society, and just imagine how hard it would be to break the cycle?

St Kilda Gatehouse is an organisation based in St Kilda; it’s a special kind of place, for not only is it a drop in centre for the women and girls of St Kilda, but within their walls, staff are available who, thankfully, offer support in a myriad of ways. This, from their website:

St Kilda Gatehouse is a not for profit organisation which works alongside those involved in street sex work, who are often marginalised and have life controlling addictions. It is a place where individuals feel valued and important. For many who come from a background of abuse and poverty it is a source of dignity and hope – where they can find the support and care needed as they attempt to build a life off the streets and beyond drug addiction.

What exactly do they do?

St Kilda Gatehouse offer a place of belonging in a safe, welcoming, non-judgemental, home-like environment. The staff there, offer help to the women, enabling them to make lifestyle changes towards breaking away from street sex work, addiction and a life entrenched within turmoil; this is achieved by building trust, providing crisis care, emergency aid, food, clothing, toiletries, and the opportunity to form positive and meaningful relationships—and most importably, by having someone to listen to them.

By offering this opportunity to join in community life, the Gatehouse share, and celebrate special occasions; they help facilitate this by taking the necessary steps to reconnect people with their family members, friends and the wider community—but more importantly, and touchingly so, their children. In a world were these woman are judged harshly; in a world where many may say they don’t deserve to have children, there is a bright shining light showing these women that life—however, unfair, unjust, and sometimes desolate—doesn’t have to be so: They have the power to change their circumstances, and now, they have the support to nourish them in doing that! Staff can help organise access visits, parental resources, recreational and community activities (like their own netball games, and regular BBQs), and community meals. That bright shining light, illuminating up the future ahead? Why, that’s coming from the Gatehouse, of course!

So How Exactly Do They Help a Woman Get Off the Streets?

Navigating a pathway off of the streets could be a daunting task for a person with little or no life skills; especially when abuse has been a systematic part of their life: something they’ve become aligned with, and used to. There are qualities and life-habits, most of us have that we easily take for granted. Imagine having none of that to fall back on? No positive role models; only dysfunctional ones. No education, apart from one that’s eventuated from a life of chaos? How is a person supposed to succeed after living like that? Is there a map that shows us how this is done? And if there is, where is it?

Those attempting to leave street sex work are often trapped by the cycle of homelessness and drug addiction. (They don’t need our judgement.) The Gatehouse staff assist individuals in navigating the services and systems essential to breaking out of these traps. They do this by setting up appointments, advocating for them, assisting with transport, networking with other agencies and offering—all important—counselling.

St Kilda Gatehouse’s mission and purpose is to take a holistic approach, building on a person’s capacity and strengths. By offering training, support groups, assistance in job preparation, help in developing new skills, and even small business training. The Gatehouse staff work alongside those who wish to pursue these interests, helping them to attempt, and hopefully, succeed at blossoming within the joy of their unfulfilled dreams. And may they indeed bloom…

The Red Light Dark Room Project

In 2010, Gemma-Rose Turnbull was awarded an ‘Australia Council for the Arts Connections Residency’ to do a residency with non-profit organisation St Kilda Gatehouse to teach, photograph and interview street sex workers. From this, she produced, Redlight Dark Room: Sex, Lives and Stereotypes, a photo journal, which helped some of the women of St Kilda tell their own stories:

St Kilda Gatehouse is distinctive in its ability to form strong relationships and build on the strengths of a particular marginalised community, who are often difficult to engage through mainstream means. Street sex work remains a contentious issue, creating a spectrum of opinions and beliefs in regards to the presence and legality of street sex workers. The publication does not aim to present a case for or against the legality of street sex work, but rather to show the human side and to tell the stories of a group of women involved in street sex work.”

If you’d like to help support these women, and the important work that the Gatehouse do, then you can purchase a copy of Gemma’s book here. It costs $50, and it’s way worth it. I have my copy. And it’s autographed! How about you? Would you like to help a worthy cause?

Red Light Dark Room: Sex, Lives and Stereotypes

Red Light Dark Room: Sex, Lives and Stereotypes

(Personal note from Miche: Warning: some of the images in Red Light Dark Room: Sex, Lives and Stereotypes are confronting: shocking-in-the-way-you-just-wish-you-hadn’t-of-looked kind of way. The images are searingly honest and captured in this way because the reality of life on the streets is not pretty. The qualities of youth and beauty (values held highly within our society) are juxtaposed against dark streets, scars of self-harm and broken dreams. The women, and some are just girls, bare their pain, raw for all to see. Self-harm and drug addiction are common themes in Red Light Dark Room. So are children and family. And then there are the women who have been out on the streets, dealing with our society’s undercurrent of misogynistic hatred and disrespect for people like them for too damn long. They need a break, a life-changing one! It’s not Underbelly. It’s not glamorous. But it is true. And in this age of freedom and feminism in Australia, their ‘reality’ just shouldn’t be. Only we have the power to help.)

Buy your copy today!

More Articles

The Age: Tales from the Street

Melinda Tankard Reist: From the Margins to the Centre

Lucida Magazine: Essay/Red light Darkroom

MamaVegas WordPress: Disarming… RedLight DarkRoom @Brisbane Powerhouse

Freo’s View: Red Light Dark Room Big Heart


Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

Information, products and views presented by guest bloggers @The Labyrinth are not necessarily the same as those held by this blog's author, Michellina van Loder. Reviews are my own personal opinions (unless stated otherwise); and satire is used throughout personal posts. Any health topics discussed are not to be taken as medical advice. Seek out medical attention if needed and do your own research; however, you're welcome to use mine as a start.
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