If I may be permitted to resort to generalisations for a moment: the British attitude to perfume never ceases to leave me dismayed and disappointed.
The other day, during my day job, I was chairing a meeting of the sort which I regularly have with my team. As per usual, at the end, when we'd discussed all the main issues, I looked at the faces before me - all of which, I should add, were female - and I said, "Right, that's the main part of the agenda done. Does anyone have any other business?"
"Well, I've definitely got a question I've been dying to ask for the last hour," I continued. "Who's wearing the tuberose fragrance?"
The room exploded in a fit of giggles.
When some semblance of self-control was restored, one of my colleagues - who normally wears Eternity - turned to me and said, "Well, I know I'm wearing Lovely."
"Ahh, Sarah Jessica Parker. That's a very interesting scent," I replied, "but it's not a tuberose."
Glances of horrified surprise were aimed in my direction.
"Actually, as it happens," I carried on, "I've read a book about the creation of Lovely. It was really fascinating."
A muttered comment from the other side of the room reached my ears: "Oh my God, how sad is that!"
"Is no-one else going to confess to wearing a perfume?" I asked, grinning broadly at the scandal I'd apparently caused.
"Well..." another bashful voice ventured, "I'm wearing something I found in my daughter's bedroom... but I don't know what it is..."
More giggles, more red-faced shyness, more English mortification. Someone had sprayed themselves with a very elegant tuberose scent, but for some reason, no-one was willing to admit to it, and everyone thought it was utterly hilarious that I'd even raised the subject.
Don't get me wrong: the whole incident was good-natured and amusing... but I wonder how differently it would have played out if it had taken place, say, in France.