Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Soap Dodgers

Why do they do it?

And how do you deal with it?

Who hasn't, at some point in their life, encountered a smelly person? It's bad enough when it is just some random stranger in the supermarket checkout queue or on a train, but at least you can move away, eventually. It's far worse if it happens to be someone you know.

As a teenage girl the problem pages of Jackie Magazine were full of letters requesting advice on how to tell some poor hormonally challenged pubescent at school that they had *stage whisper* B.O. Most girls are brought up to believe they smell. We are targetted by the manufacturers of deodorants and body sprays. We are told that confidence comes in an aerosol, in a lockaway core, in a wrapper. Sanitary products are marketed by preying on teenage fears that people will somehow be able to smell when they are on the blob. Unnecessary, and potentially harmful, products are paraded across those glossy magazine pages - scented pantliners, perfumed tampons, pine fresh fanny spray. I knew girls at school who were so fearful of having any sort of natural odour they developed obssessive compulsive disorders, popping into the loo for another blast of deodorant every half hour. If you stepped into the girls changing room you could barely breathe for Impulse hanging heavy in the air. If you'd lit up for an illicit smoke there you'd have blown the sports hall to kingdom come.

The times they are a-changing, and men no longer escape the paranoia-inducing plans of the personal hygiene industry. (They still have a way to go to catch us up though.)

Now, I'm not saying that we should all eradicate every trace of natural scent, but I prefer clean nautural scent to rancid natural stink. You can smell who just hasn't fucking washed.

So what has gone wrong with those people who smell? How have they avoided the toiletries aisle of the supermarket for so long? Do they not notice people edging away from them, avoiding hugs, wrinkling their noses?

I am aware that there are those who are all for letting nature take its course and claim modern man washes too much. To those people I would argue, "sod off back to your camper van and tree hugging, you whiffy fucking hippy." Modern man does not wash too much. A shower or a bath daily is the bare minimum you should be aiming for. My cats wash themselves all the time and they smell great. (Not like the stinky dog. He only washes his balls with any regularity. I assume they smell better than the rest of him but I am not going to find out for sure.) I digress. I am in chatty mode today.

I am sure we've all encountered that old problem of "how do you tell someone they smell?" As a rule we are all far too subtle and rarely come right out and say it. We are all far too concerned about hurting somebody's feelings, despite the fact that they are unconcernedly assaulting our olfactory senses. Smokers have to fuck off outside now so they don't inflict their awful stench upon the rest of us, I think we should ban smelly persons from public places too. Smokers have long since burnt out their sense of taste and smell, so they should be fine sharing their personal space with the soap dodgers.

If you are reading this and thinking how fortunate you are never to have encountered a smelly person, consider this - perhaps it's you! Perhaps you are the smelly person. Here's how to find out:
  • Have you ever been given a gift of deodorant, accompanied with a lame explanation of "there was a 2-for1 offer at the chemists"?
  • When you meet someone for sex do they break off from your embrace to say "why don't we share a romantic bath"?
  • Or suggest it would be more fun in the shower?
  • Do people ask if there is a water shortage in your area, and when you ask why, they say "no reason."
  • Do you receive free samples of shower gel and shampoo in the post but don't remember ever requesting them?
  • Does your other half keep saying "there's plenty of hot water if you fancy a bath?"
  • Do charity shops smell fine to you?
  • When you remove your clothes at night, does the dog roll in them?
  • Are most of your friends online and/or on other continents?
If you answered yes to more than one of the above you may wish to ask someone you trust for an honest assesment. And have a fucking wash.


Ms Robinson said...

My new career as a dictator is partly a result of having to suffer under the arms of such people at concerts and on transport as I am not a tall person.

Shoot them.

Luka said...

Ms R - a sensible policy for a sensible Britain. You've got my vote.

Freddy said...

There is something that irritates me almost as much as those who dodge the soap - and that's the men at my gym who use spray on deodorant...
so liberally that I too am forced to wear the distinctive aroma of Lynx.
I hae enough trouble beating off women who have fallen for my boyish good looks and winning smile without adding to their number through my scent!

EmmaK said...

You can now get Botox injections under your armpits to paralysis the sweat ducts. Results last six months. It is a bit weird though, wondering where all that sweat goes if it isn't released at all, maybe it makes a fetid pool inside your stomach.

Luka said...

Freddy - I feel for you, I truly do. Smelling like a tart's handbag is marginally better than smelling like a tramp's grundies though.

Emma - that is a worrying thought. It probably all emerges elsewhere, so although your armpits are dry as a nun's chuff, you have an arse crack like Niagra Falls. Swings and Roundabouts I suppose.

Walker said...

If it stinks bury it, it must be dead.

I know a woman who is drop dead gorgeous, single, about 32, the only problem is she smells like she died a year ago and she doesn’t care.

If fact there are lots of people who don;t care what they smell like.
Even when told they laugh.

Thats why they now make those strong smelling deoderants for us so we can't smell the people around us, not for them to us

Jackie Adshead said...

I worked with a girl once who stank and seemed blissfully unaware of it. After listening to everyone else gripe about it I tactfully took her on one side, and explained the er "problem" to her, trying not to hurt her feelings and her response was a bright smile and a "I know!" as if I'd given her the best accolade possible! She did absolutely nothing about it. Weeks passed and the problem persisted. I mentioned it again more forcefully but still very politely and she still did nothing to quell it. The third time I mentioned it (as people had thankfully passed the buck to me to deal with her), she complained to the boss that I was victimising her!!!! When he questioned me about it I told him she came to work stinking of " B.O. and sex" and his nose wrinkled in disgust. He didn't want to deal with the subject any more than anyone else did. She never did do anything about it but left work soon after, thankfully, and the place smelt a whole lot better afterwards!!

bittersweet me said...

I like Luka in a chatty mood.

Smelly armpits and ashtray mouths ... please leave by the nearest exit.

Freddy - would you like some help beating of those Lynxed ladies?

Luka said...

Walker - I hadn't thought of it from that angle, that does make sense...

Jackie - those are the kind I don't understand - is it some kind of passive aggressive thing?

Me - Freddy seems to be thrashing about but I'm not sure it's an attempt to dislodge the ladies...

Jackie Adshead said...

I don't understand it either, Luka, I tried to be tactful because I thought she'd be mortified, and yet she was almost proud of the fact. Very strange! Perhaps it is a passive aggresive thing, but I'm not sure why.......

StMarc said...

For some people, being smelly is a power trip, just like being an obnoxious jerk to cashiers and kicking small children is to some other people. "I smell bad: you can do nothing about it. If we interact, you will do what I want so I will go away."

With particular regard to the girl who said "I know," you mention that she smelled "of BO and sex." I shouldn't be at all surprised - disgusted, but not surprised - if that was her way of involving everyone around her in her sex life. "My man (or woman, or whatever) does me so hard I stink of sweat and sex all day! Bite it, wan and lackluster drones!"

I know that sounds ridiculous, but I have met people like that. Seriously.


Luka said...

Jackie - it's unfathomable to me, but some people do get a kick out of making others uncomfortable.

St Marc - hello! I think you have an interesting point there. It's a little like secondary smoking, being forced to inhale the byproducts of someone elses bad habits. As for the sex angle - yeuch. Though I suppose it's just the next logical step along from being particularly noisy while bonking in the broom cupboard, so everyone has to hear, displaying your love bites or writing a sex blog. It's another way of saying "Hey, world - I've done it, me! I am teh sex!"

having my cake said...

Little sis's foreign penfriend and her pal came to stay. Their luggage for the visit was one small rucksack each and they didnt wash either their bodies or their clothes for the entire three week holiday.

In desperation we told them about the quaint Olde Englishe custom of Tuesday night being bath night so they watched us fannying around having baths/showers but declined our invitations to partake.

By the end of their stay, our entire house stank of Gauloises, BO and feet and the room they had inhabited was so foetid, the windows had to remain open for at least a week to dispel the fumes.

Luka said...

Cake - I feel for you, I really do. However did you stand it for as long as you did? I would have Febrezed them while they slept.