How I tackled a ‘smelly’ situation

Ritsika By Ritsika, 3rd Apr 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Diaries

Often we come across people, who though disgusting in their personal habits, cannot be wished away. A tricky handling of the situation can save them from feeling embarrassed and us from feeling discomfort as well.

Not an unusual experience though!

I had to withhold my breath to avoid the discomfiture of smell that was emanating from the man’s breath. It was a sort of fishy smell. Seems he has eaten a while away and has not rinsed his mouth thoroughly. It is really hard when the job involves a close proximity to the individual/customer one has to deal with. He was sitting close beside me and I was explaining him the intricacies of the law to be applied in his case. The other day too I faced a similar situation when I had to bear the body odor coming from the clothes of a lady client.
It is usual for people here to be not very particular about personal hygiene. This lackadaisical attitude is because of the financial condition, unawareness, illiteracy. A place where one has to struggle for two square meals a day, pampering oneself with soap or toothpaste or mouthwash or any bad breath/ body odor concealing ingredients is a luxury that can be dispensed with. But what to say about well-do -to people who are so idle that they hardly give a second thought to the ‘smell’ they might be giving off. Once I came across a lady decked up with lots of finery and sat close by me to discuss her case. But the moment she start talking I had to hold my breath every now and then. She perhaps doesn’t give much attention to her oral health. Body odor has a lot to do with personality, as it is often responsible for making or marring a relationship

I have to be gentle and patient though it is ironic

Now it’s really tasking to pull away your face from the person oozing out bad smell and sit quietly next to him. I have often faced such situation, sometimes with friends or with total strangers. What to do? You cannot simply go and tell them how badly he/she smells. They might feel offended. My purpose of writing this is not to suggest what one should do to do away with bad smell. Many websites has plethora of information about personal hygiene. But it is only for those who are conscious of the fact about how smelly they are and how much discomfiture they are causing to people in their vicinity and really want to improve upon. But a close friend or an affluent client might take it as an offence if directly dealt with.
In my case, I devised an innovative way or may be somebody else has tried this too. I take upon myself and tell them I smell too bad. And it’s really embarrassing to move with people. I straight ask the person whom I want to make aware about his condition whether he can give me any tips about how I can get rid of bad smell –be it be of body or teeth-. The other person is always ready to help. If he is literate he asks me to check with a dermatologist or a dentist or books or check on different websites. It he not so well educated he provides me with a lot of homely tips to get rid of my embarrassing condition. For example, gurgling with warm water, eating cloves after meal, to brush with neem sticks.and to properly wash mouth after eating fish and to wash hands with soap. Then I tell him all the humiliation I had faced because of this. For instance, how people turn away their face. I also tell them the benefits I would have accrued had I taken care to get rid of the bad smell and the losses I have incurred. I tell him in a deprived society like ours one may with “anything will do” attitude suffer. This discussion seemed to have a cascading effect on the other person because the next meeting, he comes across as a changed persona with no stinkiness at all. And my discomfiture is over. However , the success of this 'innovative 'way depends upon if the person targeted, becomes feels that he/she too is also in a similar 'smelly' situation.

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author avatar yugasini
3rd Apr 2013 (#)

very nice article, thanks for sharing. Have a nice day.

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author avatar Bethany Dean
3rd Apr 2013 (#)

Informative and well-written, thank you!

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
3rd Apr 2013 (#)

Mostly I had to grin and bear it! Thankfully, I did not have to spend much time with them. Not an easy situation to find oneself in. Thanks for the tips, Ritsika - siva

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author avatar David Reinstein,LCSW
9th Apr 2013 (#)

Some folks are simply cursed with biogenetically created bad body odor. Others, are not attentive to their own personal hygiene. Either way, it is challenging for anyone trapped in an elevator (or in the woods) with them!

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