AUTHOR: Celia Walden, in The Daily Telegraph

SUBJECT: Scented candles

FIRST OFFENSE: "They're a completely unnecessary, synthetic addition to modern life."

SECOND OFFENSE: "They're everywhere. You'll go to a friend's flat for drinks, and the place will be decked out like a chapel. You'll book in for a basic beauty treatment, only to be asphyxiated by some vile stink bomb called 'After the Rain.'"

THIRD OFFENSE: Men use them "for wooing purposes."

BAD-DATE ANECDOTE AHOY: "When, a few years ago, a medical student I was keen on told me to 'wait in the hall' for five minutes while he peppered his room with rose-scented candles and put on some 'mood music,' a light went out inside me. It couldn't have been more of a turn-off if he'd started mouthing the words to a Chris de Burgh song."

CHRIS DE WHO? This guy.

MORTALITY LOOMS O'ER US ALL: "I'm not sure when scented candles first became a symbol of death for me--the death of youth, impetuosity, free thought and any kind of sexual appetite."

AGAINST SELF-CARE: Walden hates being "urged to 'experiment with aromatherapy' in order to facilitate that all-important (and immeasurably ghastly) 'me time.' 'Treat yourself,' the magazines will tell you. As if sticking on some Sade and lying in the bath while slowly gassing yourself with geraniums will bring about a higher form of serenity."

TENOR OF THIS ARTICLE IN A NUTSHELL: "Every January I file away unwanted presents in 'the re-gifting drawer.' This year, a whole section has been devoted to scented candles--the only things that make me shudder more violently than using the word 'gift' as a verb." (Editor's note: Hey, Shakespeare did it!)

BE SURE TO SCROLL DOWN FOR: Walden's complaints about noisy squirrels outside her house, "swinging, Cirque du Soleil-like, from branch to branch."