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?