Ever noticed how some people have apparently never heard of of personal hygiene, taking a shower, soap and all that good stuff? I recently encountered one at the workplace cafeteria – of all places! This guy smelled so terrible that you couldn’t even be close to him – it’s like he hadn’t washed himself for weeks. It was really, really gross.
At times you also run into the “lifestyle drunks” in buses or trams – usually they smell of, well, urine and sweat and what-not most of the time. But they’re also usually so wasted and acting generally obnoxious that I don’t have any problem in telling them off.
But if an otherwise smart-looking and acting person smells terrible, what can you say? “Excuse me sir, but did you know that you stink to high heaven?” Somehow I don’t think that would necessarily be received very well. Maybe “I’m not sure if you’re aware of it, but there’s a slight odor emanating from you – perhaps you’ve worn the same shirt a few wee.. umm, days too long?” Not sure if that’s any better. But really, someone’s gotta say something sooner or later – torturing your co-workers or citizens in general by smelling like carcasses is cruel and unusual punishment.
Another kind of smell is also problematic – that of people trying too hard to avoid smelling bad. It seems some women in particular feel they have pour a bottle of perfume on them, thus creating a stench that you can smell from ten meters away. A strong, choking, pungent smell of perfume isn’t much better than overdone “natural” odors.
Okay, so sure, not showering for a week or two or a month may fly in some other cultures, but not in “western” ones! While pens with anti-bacterial coating is definately taking it too far, I don’t think basic hygiene is too much to ask. But really, what can you tell these people?