Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Body Odor

body odor drollgirl body odor

The other day my boss stopped by my desk, looked at me and said, "How do I tell so-and-so (his long-time female friend, and a VERY good client) that she has body odor? She needs to know. It is awful."

I said, "You don't. She is a friend. She is a client. She is a very successful doctor. She is married with children, and if her man and her family aren't concerned with her body odor, you should leave it alone. Butt out."

We went round and round on this issue, but my boss is determined to find a way to tell her. THE HORROR.

I have a reason for not wanting to get involved in this type of situation. Years ago I was elected to inform a co-worker that she needed to shower more frequently. IT WAS A HORRENDOUS EXPERIENCE. I tried to be nice. I tried to be tactful. I tried my best. But the message did not go over well, and the woman (from another country/culture) was very offended and very embarrassed. And I just wanted to crawl under her armpit and die a rock and hide when I saw how much it upset her.   ACK! 

I guess I smell see both sides of this, but I would NOT relish being the messenger in this type of situation.  Shudder.

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32 comments:

Trissta said...

Oh lordie. I feel you on this one. When I was in the 6th grade (and developing) I hadn't learned about deodorant yet, because I was like... 10 and my friends always gave my soap for my birthday. It really hurt my feelings, but I learned about taking care of my body because of it. I'd say if no one else has told her about it yet, I support your suggestion. Leave it alone. It's none of your (or anyone else's but hers) business! This is definitely a loose-loose situation.

Much Love,
Trissta

melifaif said...

I am on your side no doubt. Like you said...cultures!?! Hello. She knows she stinks. And she doesn't change it. So....butt out!!! Good choice of words. ;-)

GFS said...

Tell Maegan to tell handle it...she's leaving the gallery anyway right?

LOL...She can do it on her last day of work?

No? Ask her. Tell her I sent ya!

Please update us on this issue also!

That is a such a touchy issue. I agree, I would try to avoid it because I would hate hurting or embarrassing someone.

Have him pay for some one to set up an anonymous email account and email her!?!

That's a genius idea actually!

Dancing Branflake said...

Okay, your boss clearly has body odor issues. First, he makes you buy his deodorant and now he wants to tell a friend she smells. What?!

Marisa A. said...

oh man that is terrible. Seems like if it were a fellow co-worker that would be a job for HR. Ugh I'm so sorry you had to do that. How awful.

Cheryl Ann said...

what a drag. my boss does insensitive shit like that all the time - except, he doesn't consult anyone before he hauls off and says whatever he is thinking. embarrassing as fuck.

Marian said...

I don't know what is worse. Having to tell the person about their body odor, or being the person with the body odor. Ah

Improbable Joe said...

Oh, the stories I could tell you...

When I was in the Marines, there was a guy who smelled so bad that they kicked him out of the barracks until he and his stank ass and his filthy clothing all got washed. He commenced to sticking ALL of his clothing in a single small and ancient washing machine at the barracks with a single cup of laundry soap, and then ALL of his clothing into a single small old-ass dryer for an hour. The smell of wet, hot, sweaty, greasy clothing was overwhelming. Then he switched to "air drying" his clothing, which meant cramming all of his damn, dirty clothing into a mesh sack and leaving it outside in the bed of his truck for the weekend.

It took him a long while to be allowed back into the barracks.

Jen said...

If it were me I'd wanna know. Shame or no shame, it needs to be said ~ But with a money-maker client? Maybe not...Let smelly dogs lie.

Alisa said...

I would hate to be on either end of that situation! How do people not know that they smell? I agree, leave it alone!

In college one friend told another friend that bleaching her mustache didn't make it invisible. That she needed to wax it. That didn't go over well either!

Alisa said...

I agree with Jen though, I'd want to know!

Lara said...

Oh absolutely not. If she has a family... then no way. I mean, one of her kids at one point would've had to say, "Pew mommy! You stink!"

My mom had to do this once but the guy was hopeless... some kind of medical condition. There is a legitimate condition where some people smell like rotten fish and there's NOTHING you can do about it. They just try to live their lives. SO sad. Can you imagine?

Also, people who live in hoarding conditions can smell. I went to school with a kid whose mom was a hoarder and the poor thing smelled terrible. It wasn't his fault.

OMG

Kathryn said...

I have to side with you on this one. I think the question to him is she a friend, or is she a client? I would guess whoever owns the business would value her more as a paying customer, especially in this tough economy, and your boss just needs to grin (while holding his nose) and bear it as he risks offending and losing her as a client.

It is the place of her family, non-business associated friends or employer (or her employees and clients if she owns her business) to bring this to her attention.

If he values her more as a friend, then he needs to consider if the reason might be a cultural one, if it might be due to a working long hours and not realizing at then end of it that she does smell bad to others.

If it is due to medical condition, it is not something that she will be able to do much about and it will only alienate her. People with bad kidneys smell like urine and people who have colostomy bags due to cancer smell like, well...what used to come out of their colons. To say anything is only going to make her feel bad and offend her.

If it is due to a cultural background thing, they may or may not be open to changing their hygiene habits - if they have grown up with it they may not realize how unpleasant they smell - they think we smell funny and that we are foolish to wash off our natural "essence" and wasteful with our resources taking a shower everyday (I had this conversation while in college and I temped in a dining hall with one of the male international students what you could smell at 50 feet away). If it is due to this reason, she may not only be offended, but may think that he doesn't respect her culture.

If it is just that she may smell bad as she has been busy, she may not realize it and might appreciate knowing it, but if she is more of a client than a friend, it really isn't his place to say something. Even if she appreciates it on some level, she is going to probably be more offended than grateful.

If you have a place where a client could freshen up, you could keep a bottle of Febreeze for clients to use and if it is more like a ladies room setting have an employee go in and use the Febreeze on herself to freshen up and then offer it to the Dr. and she might see it as a gesture of a shared experience and caring and do likewise.

Carey Brown Strombotne said...

uh oh, the old "how do i tell my friend" trick. i would double check that my own deodorant is working. this smells, i mean sounds very fishy.

kimbirdy said...

oy, what an awful sounding conversation! although, if i had a problem, i would hope my friends would let me know so i wouldn't wander through life ignorantly stinking up the place. for me it's the same thing as having food stuck in my teeth. for the love of god, someone please tell me!

Mandy_Fish said...

Awkward. Since she is a client, he can't tell her. If he was her boss, he could. That's my theory anyway.

Lorena said...

I know most people have commented on wether to tell her or not - but i have been thinking about the smell.
Is it she does not wear deo ? Is the smell ALL THE TIME ? or just when she visits right after jogging ?
Is she well dressed but smells bad or does she also look raggedy ? Could it be she wears the same clothes over and over and does not wash them frequently ?
Is it BODY (below the waist) odor ?

Annabelle said...

One of my menopausal bosses smells of old vagina. All. Of. The. Time. To go into her small office us torture.

Another smells of cheap old lady perfume.

Thankfully third boss his a dude, with no offensive odors.

hope505 said...

How about this: Have the boss have a confidential talk with said stinky person..expressing his, you know, concern for her health...since he has noticed an odor and he knows (oh, heavens yes,) that a woman of her grace and stature would never want to be perceived in the "wrong way"...is it a health issue? Is there anything we can do to help?....This will also open the door for suggestions...like maybe SEEING a doctor about it! *hahaha if she is unaware.. I mean...or maybe she really has a chemical imbalance and cannot fix it with commercial products?

Just some ideas...

SabinePsynopsis said...

Ouch! I'm totally with you. We had this discussion about an acquaintance and decided against hinting, informing, talking - whatever... There is no 'gentle way' to do this.

Claire Kiefer said...

You absolutely gave him the best advice. Why the hell does he think it's his responsibility to tell this woman that?? And why on earth were YOU the one who had to inform your former co-worker? I'd be mortified if someone said something like that to me. I'm so sorry you received that awful delegation. Ugh!

You're Lucky I Don't Have a Gun... said...

I delivered this same message with an ex-coworker. I tried to make it like fun/ casual/ jokey.

Unfortunately, the recipient didn't take it as fun/ casual/ jokey. I think he ignored me for two weeks.

Caroline said...

Yep...let that one go. Ugh.

Lisa (aka sweetie) said...

I feel your pain! my almost teen age child has some smelly friends..yikes!

xo Lisa

Anonymous said...

I just farted. Sorry

mermaid gallery said...

telling would be mean...maybe she has liver problems and eats garlic every night....back off people...it really works....

Martina Rosenberg said...

One good and gentle way is to collect funds with the coworkers and make a pretty gift of a luxury shower gel and matching deodorant, togther with some perfume perhaps. And a card saying something like:... we will like you even better if... you really USE it. !!
:-)
Been there, done that. It worked !

Sarcastic Bastard said...

And maybe the doctor's husband/wife/significant other likes them stinky.

Kitty Stampede said...

LOLOLOLOLOLOL @ Anonymous

i don't think it's appropriate. people will always take this type of thing the wrong way. no matter how nice the delivery is. i would be mortified. i think maybe just subtle hints is the only way.

krista said...

i have a friend who has quite a musk on her but she attracts men like fly paper. or honey. probably honey.

on another note: CAT-TRONAUTS! i almost squeeled that out loud when i opened your page. or would it be castronauts.

Haute World said...

I had this issue in high school, when a girl in our class just had the worst BO and we were trying to figure out ways to introduce her to the wonderful world of deoderant. A very different situation with adults though, especially if it's a close friend and client. Definitely stay out of this one!

Diana said...

This is my biggest fear, body odor. I'm a little overweight so i sweat like a pig, literally at even putting on my makeup, lol, and i'm sooooo soooo concerned with how i smell, it's horrific. i always say i'd appreciate it if someone told me, but if i could barely handle it, i can't imagine someone telling me! good for you to stick up for her!