Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Lather, rinse, repeat as necessary...

It's well known that I don't like people.

However, I feel I should point out that this isn't some vague dislike on the basis of personality. No. When it comes to misanthropy I am something of a completist. I don't like anything about the population in general*.

People are, generally, horrible. They get in your way. They talk at you, and give you their opinions whether you want them or not. They brush past you, and touch you when they haven't been invited to, and tell you about their bowel habits, or their hysterectomy, or how that-man-next-door has never been the same since his stump got infected.

I have, in my time, been in close range of the full horror of Other People. On a cramped flight back from Mexico, the Other Half and I watched in disbelief as two lumpy people in dirty vest tops shoved their way down the aisle and flumped into the seats in front of us. I'm guessing they'd avoided excess baggage by not packing any toiletries. As if the week-old hamburger aroma wasn't bad enough, they both proceeded to break foetid wind for the duration of the nine hour flight.

I have also worked for man with such chronic halitosis that I could effectively gauge whether he was in his office by cautiously sniffing as I opened the door to the outer office a full twenty-five feet from where he was breathing. Appraisals were a nightmare, and for the first three months of my pregnancy I couldn't get within four feet of him without retching. I used to wonder about his wife. Did she not notice? Or was there a No Kissing rule in their house? The mind boggles.

Anyway.

One of the people in my office.

Now, we all get a bit hot from time to time. It's a generally accepted fact of being human. The office is a bit stuffy. A bit of BO is all well and good. But, when I walk into the inner office and am brought up short by the smell of someone's hair...well. It's a bit of a situation, and if it's like this in January what will it be like in the full blast of summer (we are not, for security reasons, allowed to have any windows or doors open at any time and there is no aircon). So. To broach, or not to broach? Or should I simply breathe through my mouth** for the rest of my working life?

I would like to close by wholeheartedly and sincerely apologising to anyone who ever got within three feet of me during what we will call the Dreadlock Years.

* Not you, silly. You're lovely.

** This in itself bothers me. Is it more or less hygienic to breathe smells through your nose or your mouth? I don't like to taste smells. It's wrong.

18 Comments:

Blogger cuppa chimed in with...

Really hate smelly people, you are gonna have to drop hints. Mention new shampoo ads or talk about a 'friend' that has personal hygiene problems. Like you said, if it's that bad now imagine summer.
Get weirdos in the shop where i work all the time, the strangest ones are the normal looking 'mums' ie around 45-50 years old and at 10am monday morning reek of alcohol.

Bet their own husbands don't even know.

24 January, 2007 20:43  
Blogger claire chimed in with...

Halitosis is one of my favorite words...

How are you going to work in an office that has no means of air conditioning? That is going to be hopeless torture if you can't open windows or doors. I do not envy the discomfort you will start to feel come May.

I would try to enjoy the smell for now.. by summer you'll be longing for the January smell.

24 January, 2007 21:48  
Blogger Nea chimed in with...

In such conditions avoid breathing and head for the nearest exit.

Stick to blogging, it's odourless and feely free.

24 January, 2007 22:19  
Blogger zorak163 chimed in with...

It's astounding how many people do not notice their own "special" aroma. You know how a smell can seem less intense once you've been around it for a while? This implies that they always smell like that - if it was only sometimes they should be able to notice it...

25 January, 2007 03:20  
Anonymous Other Half chimed in with...

Perhaps you can wear that protective mask you bought for exploring places hon ? I know you'll end up looking like Hannibal Lecter but at least it will stop the smell !!!

25 January, 2007 09:44  
Anonymous Kissing Just for Practice chimed in with...

I once had a boyfriend with 'natural' dreadlocks and pungent head aroma...

Meeting my younger sister when she had head lice did the trick, when the itching got too much,and the serum didn't work, the clippers came out.

25 January, 2007 10:25  
Blogger Donna chimed in with...

Through the nose is more hygenic cos all the little hairs in your nose filter particles. (This is not from a biology book though, just what's in my head). And I've thought about it too. When you breath through your mouth cos it just smells so damned bad, in my mind I'm doing more damage cos more badness is going in.

Here endeth my human biology lesson.

25 January, 2007 12:24  
Blogger Clare chimed in with...

I'm frequently bothered by the mouth / nose breathing thing.

Whenevr I find myself in the presence of scary-smelling fumes (petrol, toxic chemicals, whatever) and can't hold my breath altogether, I always opt for mouth-breathing. Because it feels better, because you can't smell it so bad.

BUT I happen to know from O level Biology that your nostrils are lined with hair specially designed to filter crap out of the air you breathe. So you should probably use your nose. But I never do.

25 January, 2007 13:35  
Blogger Clare chimed in with...

P.S. What if it's your loved one? Do you tell them? And risk having them hate you for being so mean? Or do you just get used to it and put up with it?

Maybe that's what your boss's wife did. Or maybe she hated him and never went near him. Or maybe she was a smoker and had no sense of smell.

But what do you do if your body hates you and insists on emitting smelly farts every ten seconds - too often to leave the room and spare your colleagues?

I'm convinced all my colleagues hate me cos of my smelly bum.

25 January, 2007 13:37  
Blogger Clare chimed in with...

And yes, I've tried changing my diet...

[it's not really that bad though]

[but sometimes it is]

25 January, 2007 13:38  
Blogger Spinsterella chimed in with...

A friend of mine worked with a bloke she called 'Smelly John'.

She took took to spraying deodorant on herself in front of him and making pointed comments like, "Oh, it's so hot in here - I'm paranoid about BO".

The hints didn't work and she ended up getting told off for spraying deo in the office!

25 January, 2007 15:27  
Anonymous Patrick chimed in with...

Windows are a health and safety hazard. So are bicycles, obviously, as are chips, the interwebs, dancing, sex, drinking, eating, sleeping, watching tv, listening to music and enjoying yourself with a carrot. Best stick to reading the Mail and going to your local Beefeater for a prion-stuffed steak and a prawn cocktail with that weird pink mayo.

25 January, 2007 21:41  
Blogger violetforthemoment chimed in with...

.... 'since his stump got infected'? I daren't ask.

The worst person smell I have ever encountered in all my days was during a home visit to a chap who had convinced himself he was so disabled he couldn't get to the bathroom about 2 metres away from his sofa, despite being able to get into the west end to get pissed and fight in clubs every week. He had clearly not seen water for a very very very long time in any context, apparently far preferring Special Brew. He also had open bottles of wee of varying vintages in his living room. I could taste the smell for literally days despite cleaning my teeth pretty much constantly.

It could be worse, that's all I'm saying...

25 January, 2007 23:02  
Blogger First Nations chimed in with...

god, i so hear this!
human funk is something that completely squicks me out. what you might have to do is to sneak in when the office is vacant and accidentally, on purpose, empty a bottle of essential oil or a perfume or aftershave you like on the carpet under her desk. i've done it.

26 January, 2007 01:38  
Anonymous Anonymous chimed in with...

Just want to let you know some people have incurable disorders that make us smell bad. You would be surprised how meticulous our daily hygiene is, but we still have body odor because we lack certain enzymes to break down chemicals that emit odor. And, yes we all know we stink and yes your rant does hurt. Imagine if you had chronic body odor. You would be afraid to interact with people, go outside, go on dates and even go to work. Most people who have body odor disorders do live in seclusion. It's really a social handicap and I just want to educate you and everyone else who reads this post, that some people will always smell bad...it's a disability...an incurable disorder. Your rants or subtle gesture of perfumes or mints is just intensifying the pain and grieve we go through everyday because of our disorders. We all know we stink and we are trying our best not to...

26 January, 2007 03:45  
Blogger zanna chimed in with...

smelling bad is a disability? What will they think of next.

26 January, 2007 12:34  
Anonymous Anonymous chimed in with...

Yes, Zanna. There are rare metabolic disorders, one of them is called trimethylaminuria. Look it up in a search engine, and try and find it in your heart not to judge these people so harshly. The ppl that have been diognosed with this disorder are the lucky one's, at least they have a name for their problem, there are lots more metabolic disorders that have no name yet. These ppl could also knock spots off most people regarding personal hygiene.

29 January, 2007 18:18  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

does it render them incapable of hairwashing, i wonder? i seem to recall specifying that this is the particular offence i was referring to, rather than singling out and vituperatively dismissing people with medical conditions...

or did i dream that part?

29 January, 2007 18:36  

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