What is with all people on MetaFilter marrying/dating people that don't bath? February 24, 2009 11:34 AM   Subscribe

What is with all people on MetaFilter marrying/dating people that don't bath? [1] [2] [3] [4]

The number of times this comes up seems odd.
posted by chunking express to MetaFilter-Related at 11:34 AM (212 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

1) Hippies (see also: Taters)
2) The possibility of a) anonymous b) help with a problem is likely just making people open up more.
posted by DU at 11:37 AM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks Ram, I was just coming here to ask the exact same question.

Seriously, WTF?!? Is this just the tip of the iceberg? Are there millions more of these people out there? I kind of want to do research in to statistics regarding the horribly filthy.


... At least this one seems to know how to wash his ass.
posted by dnesan at 11:37 AM on February 24, 2009


Well, if you spend all of your time on MetaFilter, your spouse probably thinks, "Why should I bother washing? He/she loves MetaFilter more than me."
posted by mattdidthat at 11:38 AM on February 24, 2009 [7 favorites]


Message : they girlfriend no shower, they no shower metafilter. why no?
posted by dersins at 11:38 AM on February 24, 2009 [18 favorites]


What's with bath as a verb? Is that British?
posted by arcanecrowbar at 11:41 AM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


The number of times this comes up seems odd.

Oddly low.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:41 AM on February 24, 2009


Maybe I should have written bathe. Though, in my head, bath is correct. Is that British spelling, or am I an idiot?
posted by chunking express at 11:43 AM on February 24, 2009


As bothered as I am by the thought of people going weeks without bathing, the concept that someone can go a month without brushing their teeth really just blows my mind.
posted by JaredSeth at 11:43 AM on February 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


What's with bath as a verb? Is that British?

Probably meant "bathe".
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:43 AM on February 24, 2009


IS = IMF * PAsk * ID * DR * ((1 - PW) ^ DS)

IS: Number of AskMe questions about stinky SOs to expect per day
IMF: Number of individuals who are currently members of MeFi
PAsk: Probability that a user is willing to AskMe for relationship advice
ID: Number of indivuduals the average MeFi user is dating/married to
DR: Length of the average relationship, in days
PW: Probability that a person will wash on any given day
DS: Average time until an unwashed person stinks, in days

With apologies to Frank Drake.
posted by Plutor at 11:44 AM on February 24, 2009 [16 favorites]


Oddly low.

I don't doubt there are people who don't shower that frequently, but the cases I've listed are crazy ass crazy. People who can't clean their own asses. People who are afraid of showering the way 3 year olds are. What?
posted by chunking express at 11:44 AM on February 24, 2009


Probably meant "bathe".

So I am idiot. Damn it. I suppose I've always known, deep down.
posted by chunking express at 11:45 AM on February 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I always want to know why this only came up post-wedding. I mean, this would have been a dealbreaker for me or my wife. Why now for these people?
posted by GuyZero at 11:46 AM on February 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


The number of times this comes up seems odd.

Four is even. Three or five would be odd.

Seriously though, why is this weird to you? People have problems. They are often the exact same or similar to problems that other people have. What would be really weird is to have a problem occur only once. We call that sort of thing 'unique'.
posted by ODiV at 11:46 AM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


That's kind of mind-boggling. When I was a pre-adolescent, I hated taking baths and showers, but as an adult...well, I've never been accused of being the best groomed guy in the world, if I don't shower I usually feel sluggish and filthy for the whole day. When an injury prevented me from taking a proper shower recently, it definitely affected my mood. YMMV.
posted by jonmc at 11:47 AM on February 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I always want to know why this only came up post-wedding. I mean, this would have been a dealbreaker for me or my wife. Why now for these people?

I know!! I once broke up with a guy because I didn't think he kept his apartment clean enough. Not bathing would not even be a possibility in my world.
posted by Maisie Jay at 11:47 AM on February 24, 2009


Sometimes when you're getting hardcore taters you don't care what they smell like.
posted by ND¢ at 11:48 AM on February 24, 2009 [10 favorites]


Look, I'll be honest, if it's a Saturday and I know I'm going to be doing housework all day, I might not shower or brush my teeth, much to my girlfriend's chagrin, but that's, like, a day, and that's pushing the bounds of what I find acceptable hygiene.

These kinds of posts blow my mind. A week? A month? Are you fucking kidding me?

At the same time, I will admit that I work at a large university and we see all sorts of graduate students come in from across the globe and some do seem to habitually smell better than others, so obviously there's a cultural component... but still.

Jesus, people, pick up a bar of soap.
posted by kbanas at 11:49 AM on February 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't shower every day. I did when I first moved to California, and it seemed like I was sweating balls all the time, but as my body's gotten used to the climate, that's less a problem. Every couple days, and if my girlfriend's ever like, Oh, man you stink, I just hop in.
posted by klangklangston at 11:50 AM on February 24, 2009


I think it's a sign of the times and general mental health.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:50 AM on February 24, 2009


No, brushing teeth, that's something I do twice (or maybe three times, if I can) a day. Ugh. Can't stand that weird feeling in my mouth—my gums itch for brushing.
posted by klangklangston at 11:51 AM on February 24, 2009


Seriously though, why is this weird to you? People have problems.

Seriously, I think it's fucking incredible that 4 people that can't clean themselves can find 4 other people who love them enough that even though their loves ones are totally disgusting they still take the time to ask strangers on the internet for help. Maybe this shit happens all the time, but I suspect more often then not, people don't need to be told to DTMFA.
posted by chunking express at 11:53 AM on February 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


No, brushing teeth, that's something I do twice (or maybe three times, if I can) a day. Ugh. Can't stand that weird feeling in my mouth—my gums itch for brushing.

Yeah, but that's something where the longer you wait the bigger the payoff in my book. If I go a day and then go into the bathroom and floss, use mouthwash and brush vigorously, it's almost better than orgasm.

Then again, I have issues.
posted by kbanas at 11:53 AM on February 24, 2009


I can smell all your comments from over here.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:53 AM on February 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Is this the appropriate place to say that I think it's crap that the "I don't want to smell your butthole" poster asked for a later deletion of the thread?

(I don't think it's crap that Jessamyn granted it. But I think it's weak that he asked for it.)

Is this the appropriate place to say that I think the latest one of these is a fake, an extreme case created to troll up some amusing disgust and shock of the LOL BUTTS variety?
posted by pineapple at 11:56 AM on February 24, 2009


Or maybe Metafilter just got a big influx of crust punks/fashion homeless.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:58 AM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Are there millions more of these people out there?

Billions, probably. I mean, I shower and brush my teeth every day, but I'm under no illusions that this is a human norm.
posted by DU at 12:00 PM on February 24, 2009


I almost quipped in today's AskMe "Is this Mrs. Balisong????"
posted by bunnycup at 12:01 PM on February 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


they still take the time to ask strangers on the internet for help.

This is why I think that one is a total fake.

Because, if the dude truly doesn't bathe or brush his teeth more than bi-weekly (which is no cultural norm anywhere, I don't care how hippie you are), she should actually be asking questions about the real problems, like,
"My husband can't get hired anywhere and therefore we can't afford our bills and are about to lose our house. Is there any remedy in Obama's stimpak?"

"My entire family shuns us because of my husband's vile stench. Do you have any suggestions for places we can eat Christmas dinner alone?"

"My husband has lost all his teeth due to cavities, gingivitis and general dental rot caused by an utter lack of oral upkeep. We can't afford new dentures (see above re can't keep a job), but is there a public health program that will give him free ones?"
Et cetera.
posted by pineapple at 12:02 PM on February 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


If ever DTMFA advice was appropriate, here it is. I want to know what's wrong with the people asking the questions. Maybe I'm just superficial and unromantic, but if your SO isn't bathing for a month, the proper question isn't, "How do I get my SO to bathe more often", it's, "What the hell are you still doing around?" or possibly, "Just how incredibly desperate are you?"
posted by The Gooch at 12:03 PM on February 24, 2009


LOL BUTTS variety

Excuse me, but I think you mean "butts lol". Unless, of course, this is one of those Britishisms like bath/bathe.
posted by mullacc at 12:06 PM on February 24, 2009 [7 favorites]


What's with people marrying anyone at all? I'M A SWINGING SINGLE AND I LOVE MY BACHELOR LIFE.

so lonely
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:07 PM on February 24, 2009 [31 favorites]


I’d guess if someone willingly married someone with such a serious problem, that person is probably a bit ashamed and might have some self-esteem issues. I’d also guess it’s very hard for them to admit the problems they have, even anonymously to strangers on the internet.

I’d further guess if they saw their thread called out on Meatalk for being a) so fucking weird it must be a troll and b) oh my god crazy disgusting, they’d be even more ashamed and in future it would be that much harder to go to anyone, even strangers on the internet, for help.

One thing AskMe has taught me is that a whole hell of a lot of people have a whole hell of a lot of problems that I cannot possibly fathom. I can’t believe the relationship problems people have. I can’t believe how fucking messed up some people are. I can’t believe how many MeFites just can’t figure out life. I’m sure there are guitarists out there who can’t believe Bondcliff could be so neurotic about his guitar playing. I don’t think starting a Metatalk thread pointing at them and laughing and questioning their validity is really helping anyone, unless you’re trying to make yourself feel good about your spouses’ grooming habits.

What the fuck? Someone has something really shitty in their life. Let’s make them feel even shittier!

That’s, well, kind of shitty.
posted by bondcliff at 12:12 PM on February 24, 2009 [18 favorites]


Redd Foxx has a message for Metafilter.
posted by Otis at 12:14 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is this where we talk about how the idea of a weeks-long camping trip seems horrible just for hygiene reasons? No?

I can't even imagine how hideous I'd smell after a week sans soap. A full day's physical labor has me in the "get to a shower ASAP" category.
posted by maxwelton at 12:17 PM on February 24, 2009


I certainly see lots of people on the TTC every day who are way overdue for some hygiene practices.

I have a co-worker who always smells of unwashed clothes, cat urine and cigarette smoke. Her director and some HR people have met with her TWICE to ask her to improve her hygiene. She was devastated, the situation improved for a few days, and then... it was back to the same old. Back when I lived in a scary roominghouse in my twenties, another occupant of the house didn't bathe or shower properly at all — he just took sponge baths. My landlord spoke to him about it, but the guy just claimed it was dangerous for him to get wet because of his poor circulation. Funnily enough, I caught sight of the guy just last Friday at Sheppard Station, and he didn't look any better.

They both have huge psychological problems, of course. But they're single, and almost certain to remain so for the rest of their lives. I don't know how anyone can date someone who isn't habitually clean. I know love will override many things, but I certainly wouldn't spend much time at all with someone who wasn't clean, and so couldn't fall in love with him. But then not everyone has the same level of tolerance or intolerance in different areas, and maybe the person's hygiene has deteriorated over time.
posted by orange swan at 12:19 PM on February 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


You know when you smoke a lot of weed it kind of makes you not want to shower. I don't know why. The answer: baths.
posted by ND¢ at 12:24 PM on February 24, 2009


What is with all people on MetaFilter marrying/dating people that don't bath?

Yeah, there's been a whole streak of them.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:24 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I certainly see lots of people on the TTC every day who are way overdue for some hygiene practices.

On the other hand, a lot of the oft-mentioned homeless/semi-homeless guys who sell me books, oftentimes when I unpack their packs full of books I'll find a toothbrush, deodorant etc. Sometimes I'll find a half-empty Majorska bottle or a crack pipe next to it, but still, it's kind of impressive, even moving that these guys even in their circumstances, still want to look/smell sharp.
posted by jonmc at 12:28 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks Ram, I was just coming here to ask the exact same question.

you were? that's so odd. I don't know what the answer to this could possibly be except "Who knows? It's... one of those things? I guess?"

Honestly, this just seems like an excuse to be like "lol, smelly mefites, amirite?"
posted by shmegegge at 12:29 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


When I read the question, I totally heard it being voiced by Jerry Seinfeld. Then I put my fist through my monitor.
posted by jbickers at 12:31 PM on February 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Kind of a blow to the ego to realize that I haven't had a date in ages, yet these seemingly hopeless cases are getting freaking married, gah. That's all I have to contribute here. The world continues to mock me :)
posted by naju at 12:31 PM on February 24, 2009 [10 favorites]


Kerouac on the American Asshole (from Big Sur).
posted by [@I][:+:][@I] at 12:31 PM on February 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


There is a certain amount of "lol, smelly mefites, amirite?" here for sure. MetaTalk seems like the place for that though.

I also thought this was a troll.
posted by chunking express at 12:34 PM on February 24, 2009


Kind of a blow to the ego to realize that I haven't had a date in ages, yet these seemingly hopeless cases are getting freaking married, gah. That's all I have to contribute here. The world continues to mock me :)

You ever feel like you're the butt of a cosmic joke, naju?
posted by orange swan at 12:38 PM on February 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think all of the stinky people must be orphans.
posted by iconomy at 12:40 PM on February 24, 2009


like Little Orphan Anus and her dog Stanky.
posted by jonmc at 12:41 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here's the ad that appears at the bottom of some of the stinky ass posts, for those of you who never log out.
posted by iconomy at 12:43 PM on February 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


You don't know anything about the outer boundaries of human stench until you have worked in homeless services. I'm talking about smells that wouldn't just knock a buzzard off a shit wagon, they would vaporize both the buzzard and the wagon.
posted by The Straightener at 12:43 PM on February 24, 2009 [5 favorites]

Because, if the dude truly doesn't bathe or brush his teeth more than bi-weekly (which is no cultural norm anywhere, I don't care how hippie you are), she should actually be asking questions about the real problems, like, [snip]
You know what? Fuck you! What the fuck, man. This pisses me off to no end for some reason. Sure, I don't bathe regularly and I haven't brushed my teeth in god knows how long, but somehow I still can keep my fucking job; my SO, friends and family haven't shunned me yet; and I still have all my fucking teeth (and I'm cavity free), tyvm.
posted by sokkupapetto at 12:44 PM on February 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


finally! my name has validation.
posted by Stynxno at 12:45 PM on February 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


Not bathing is the ultimate rejection of cold, consumerist society. It is enlightenment. You guys should know this. A washed taint is a taint for Hitler.
posted by rob paxon at 12:46 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Yeah, but that's something where the longer you wait the bigger the payoff in my book. If I go a day and then go into the bathroom and floss, use mouthwash and brush vigorously, it's almost better than orgasm."

You ever get high right before that? Not only does getting high make your teeth feel all cruddy (if you smoke), but then it feels so good that it's hard to stop brushing.

(I also actually prefer showers while high, but that's because I don't fit in bathtubs and the spray is pretty damn relaxing.)
posted by klangklangston at 12:49 PM on February 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ring me up as another regular making sure to comment in this thread and register my disgust so no one ever thinks I might have been one of the anonymous posters.
posted by yhbc at 12:49 PM on February 24, 2009


*concurring with the Straightener*
posted by jonmc at 12:50 PM on February 24, 2009


you were? that's so odd. I don't know what the answer to this could possibly be except "Who knows? It's... one of those things? I guess?" -shmegegge

I was going to ask with the same tone as chungking express seems to have aimed for. I've looked at all the listed threads from the last little while with genuine confusion, thinking that each one had to be a troll/joke/satiric performance. But each time they seem to be genuine, and I really find it hard to believe that the number of people who do not regularly bathe, but still maintain normal romantic relationships is so high.

Seriously, I didn't think this was such a widespread phenomenon.
posted by dnesan at 12:55 PM on February 24, 2009


The British term for this activity is "bave", guv.
posted by Mister_A at 12:58 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


From British English A to Zed (an extremely useful reference for us Yanks):
As a verb, bath is used like bathe in America: one can bath the baby (give it a bath) or, simply bath (take a bath).
posted by languagehat at 1:07 PM on February 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm not washing my butt 'til someone corrects that "hygine" tag. Fix it. Now. This is a very small thread, and I'm doing jumping jacks in my fur-lined leotard.
posted by taz at 1:09 PM on February 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm going to stop caring about hygine- maybe it'll improve my chances.
posted by Dr-Baa at 1:09 PM on February 24, 2009


errr hygiene. Sorry, taz.
posted by Dr-Baa at 1:10 PM on February 24, 2009


Eh, woman stink smells better than man stink. kind of like pineapple jell-o.
posted by jonmc at 1:10 PM on February 24, 2009


"noisome" doesn't mean what you think it means.

(No one used that word. I just wanted to say that.)
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:13 PM on February 24, 2009


bondcliff said: "I’d further guess if they saw their thread called out on Meatalk for being a) so fucking weird it must be a troll and b) oh my god crazy disgusting, they’d be even more ashamed and in future it would be that much harder to go to anyone, even strangers on the internet, for help.

[blah blah blah, bunch of self-righteous superiority blah blah] That’s, well, kind of shitty."


Don't put words in my mouth, bondcliff. I didn't say, "I think it's a troll because it's so fucking weird."

I think it's a troll based on the vague writing and a general sense of spidey-sense wrongness that I got from the question -- which I distinctly did not get from the "my girlfriend doesn't wash her ass crack ever" thread. But, thanks for asking.

shmegegge said: "Honestly, this just seems like an excuse to be like "lol, smelly mefites, amirite?""

Again, not for me. You can interpret my "REAL AskMe questions are like THIS but FAKE AskMe questions are like THIS" as "lol smelly mefites amirite?" all you like, but I'm telling you that's not what was in my heart.

sokkupapetto said..."

Best username ever.

jonmc - just pretending you never said that. Can't even musty a response.
posted by pineapple at 1:14 PM on February 24, 2009


I certainly see lots of people on the TTC every day who are way overdue for some hygiene practices.

I once got on a subway car near rush hour and it was half-empty. The back end was devoid of people. So I sat there. And didn't notice the disheveled (presumably homeless) guy at the very back in a corner. And then I smelled him. Dude seriously cleared out half the subway car with his stink. Then I felt too awkward to get up, like I would offend him or something. So I just got off the train a couple of stops later, but way before my destination.

Still, that was less weird than my well-worn story about the guy huffing toluene on the TTC one time.
posted by GuyZero at 1:15 PM on February 24, 2009


Aaahhhhhhh, look at all the smelly people.

(boppa boppa boppa boppa boppa)

Ahhhhhhhhh, look at all the smelly people.

(boppa boppa boppa boppa boppa)

'nonymous mefite, washing your ass isn't crass, it's the smart thing to do.
Your spouse thinks so, too.
Significant Other, smelling your feet isn't sweet. It's because you're not clean.
I'll go ask the green.

All the smelly people.
Where do they all come from?
All the smelly people.
Where do they all belong?
posted by shmegegge at 1:16 PM on February 24, 2009 [23 favorites]


Honestly, it could be worse: Askeme; my roomate, is constantly bathing in bleach and lye. I've noticed that her clothes are often muddy and stained with what looks like dirty brownish-red paint. She is obsessive of her need to make sure that she leaves no trace, to the point where I usually find her wearing surgical gloves when she is sharpening our kitchen knives and food grinding tools, before heading out for yet another evening of late night gardening and meat preparation.

How can I get her to understand that a normal person shouldn't be worried about "how easy it is for a K9 unit to track her" and that just a regular shower should be more than sufficient?"

posted by quin at 1:17 PM on February 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


You can interpret my "REAL AskMe questions are like THIS but FAKE AskMe questions are like THIS" as "lol smelly mefites amirite?" all you like, but I'm telling you that's not what was in my heart.

That's cool. I believe you. It honestly hadn't sunk in that people really thought this was some elaborate group trolling exercise.
posted by shmegegge at 1:17 PM on February 24, 2009


As a verb, bath is used like bathe in America: one can bath the baby (give it a bath) or, simply bath (take a bath).

Thank you Languagehat. I'm not an idiot after all. All of yous can go fuck yourselves, I'm out of a here.

well, not really.
posted by chunking express at 1:19 PM on February 24, 2009


I'm not sure that it's a group troll. It's just that last one that made me go hmm.
posted by pineapple at 1:20 PM on February 24, 2009


I always want to know why this only came up post-wedding. I mean, this would have been a dealbreaker for me or my wife. Why now for these people?

This is just another case of the more general problem of marrying "projects" and thinking that people can be changed after marriage. While in some ways it's true in that people voluntarily make sacrifices for those they love, it is ridiculous to think that getting deeper into a relationship automatically gives you more leverage without giving your spouse the exact same leverage.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:20 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Billions, probably. I mean, I shower and brush my teeth every day, but I'm under no illusions that this is a human norm.

Sure, but most people who don't wash and brush their teeth regularly are in the "can't" position (lack of water, plumbing, etc), not the "won't".

Because, if the dude truly doesn't bathe or brush his teeth more than bi-weekly (which is no cultural norm anywhere, I don't care how hippie you are), she should actually be asking questions about the real problems, like,

"My husband can't get hired anywhere and therefore we can't afford our bills and are about to lose our house. Is there any remedy in Obama's stimpak?"


I hate to break this to you, but appalling hygene is no bar from a job. In the most extreme case a manager had to sit down a guy in my workplace and tactfully explain he had to learn about showers and deoderant because people were refusing to work in the same large, well-ventilated room with him, and his stench was even more noisome than the fairly pongy chemicals they worked with (large quantities of fixer and developer chemicals).

I've had more than one team lead/manager cite "you stink, and people are complaining about it" conversations as the most difficult things they've had to do.
posted by rodgerd at 1:21 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have a co-worker who always smells of unwashed clothes, cat urine and cigarette smoke.

To be fair, it's possible that she has a cat that chain-smokes, pees on everything, and sleeps in the washing machine. Cats can be jerks like that.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:21 PM on February 24, 2009 [9 favorites]


sokkupapetto said..."

Best username ever.


You say that now, but wait for the racist/not-racist slanging match.
posted by rodgerd at 1:25 PM on February 24, 2009


I had a NYC cabbie that looked like Santa and smelled like crap. Real, unadulterated human crap. In the cab. In the winter. In the cold. With the windows rolled up. I quickly remembered that "right here" was where I was supposed to go, paid the man his shilling and stumbled from the car gasping. Then I felt better.
posted by Mister_A at 1:26 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


When people suggested it was a troll who posted the lastest, I couldn't help but wonder, what does a troll get out of posting those kinds of questions? I really want to know. Who gets their jollies out of that? And what kind of jollies, if it is a troll.
posted by anniecat at 1:32 PM on February 24, 2009


*latest...not lastest
posted by anniecat at 1:32 PM on February 24, 2009


Eh, woman stink smells better than man stink.

Cosigned.

kind of like pineapple jell-o.

WHAT.
posted by clavicle at 1:36 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Knowing this crowd, it's because there is no "macro-biotic vegan soap". For as you know, the regular soap you buy at the evil A&P leaves a harmful environmental footprint.
posted by Zambrano at 1:38 PM on February 24, 2009


It scares me that two of the four links show as already read for me.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:38 PM on February 24, 2009


In the most extreme case a manager had to sit down a guy in my workplace and tactfully explain he had to learn about showers and deoderant

true story:

In the most extreme case of one of my jobs a manager had to sit down a guy in my workplace and tactfully explain that it was not ok to jerk off at his desk.
posted by asockpuppet at 1:39 PM on February 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


"Eh, woman stink smells better than man stink. kind of like pineapple jell-o."

Likely subjective, given my girlfriend and I's differing perspectives (she thinks man-stink is better; I think my crotch gets stinkier than my armpits, she disagrees; I think her armpits get stinkier than her crotch, she disagrees).
posted by klangklangston at 1:41 PM on February 24, 2009


I've had more than one team lead/manager cite "you stink, and people are complaining about it" conversations as the most difficult things they've had to do.

My husband had to have this conversation with one of his employees. He felt awkward because the employee was from a different culture, but he had to say something along the lines of "this is how we do things here." The first conversation didn't take.
posted by desjardins at 1:41 PM on February 24, 2009


For all of you HR types that have to sit down with stankbomb employees, you all say that it's so uncomfortable, but what do you actually say? What is your approach? What has happened from doing that? I'm dying to know.
posted by asockpuppet at 1:45 PM on February 24, 2009


asockpuppet, you know where to go with that.
posted by pineapple at 1:46 PM on February 24, 2009


On the other hand, a lot of the oft-mentioned homeless/semi-homeless guys who sell me books, oftentimes when I unpack their packs full of books I'll find a toothbrush, deodorant etc.

I was running in the park one morning and came across a guy brushing his teeth in the water fountain. On the next lap, he had taken his shirt off and was putting on deodorant. I said "hello" and "how are you", and he smiled and said, "Every day above ground is a good day!"
posted by Evangeline at 1:47 PM on February 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'd like to hear the counterpoint from the Europeans in the house.

For me, North Americans smell too damn clean. All that shampoo and conditioner and aftershave and perfume, it icks me out. You don't smell like people. You smell like the soap factory, like you just stepped out of an Axolotl tank... let it age just a wee bit, brothers and sisters, there are natural oils that are a normal part of your body.

Unless you work in the the sewage treatment or fish processing industries there is no need whatsoever to bathe once every 24 hours.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:47 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


What is with all people on MetaFilter marrying/dating people that don't bath?

I actually had to come to MeFi to find some people that didn't bathe so I could date one of them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:48 PM on February 24, 2009


It depends, Meatbomb. There's a fine line between nice, natural smell and that natural smell with a bit of accent via perfume. Most Americans seem to slather it on as opposed to using it as subtle augmentation. But maybe that's just how our fat asses role.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:59 PM on February 24, 2009


This entire thread makes me want to scrub my body with something between a loofa and steel wool, until little spots of blood well forth from my fresh epidermis. Gnah.
posted by adipocere at 2:03 PM on February 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ummm, what is this verb, "to bath"?
posted by dirty hippie at 2:03 PM on February 24, 2009


thank you for tag-fixee. I've now bathed, srsly, and smell like this. I don't actually have a fur-lined leotard, though.
posted by taz at 2:05 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ring me up as another regular making sure to comment in this thread and register my disgust so no one ever thinks I might have been one of the anonymous posters.

You just went to the top of the list, buddy.
posted by iconomy at 2:07 PM on February 24, 2009


Ring me up as another regular making sure to comment in this thread and register my disgust so no one ever thinks I might have been one of the anonymous posters.

It wasn't me either, I would've posted it under my original name.
posted by sixcolors at 2:10 PM on February 24, 2009


EPIC LULZ AT THE EXPENSE OF THE STANKPOTZ
posted by jason's_planet at 2:10 PM on February 24, 2009


Oh, sixcolors, you've got a bit of residue on your cheek. You might want to wash that off.
posted by ODiV at 2:12 PM on February 24, 2009


Whatever unites mankind is better than whatever divides us! Yet, if absolute-unselfish I am not for me, I'm nothing but classless raceless, starving masses, never free nor brave! Only if constructive-selfish I work hard perfecting first me, like Mark Spitz - Arctic owls - penguin - pilot - cat - swallow - beaver, bee can I teach the MORAL ABC's ALL-ONE-GOD-FAITH, that lightning-like unites the Human race! For we're ALL-ONE OR NONE! ALL-ONE! 'listen children eternal father eternally one!' EXCEPTIONS ETERNALLY? ABSOLUTE NONE!

DILUTE! DILUTE!



You know when you smoke a lot of weed it kind of makes you not want to shower.

No, it makes for the best shower ever.
posted by fixedgear at 2:14 PM on February 24, 2009 [10 favorites]


I was brought up on this concept of "good grooming" -- and I find it highly overrated. Even though I love a long hot shower, the concept of doing it once a day seems wasteful (heating, water), and for little result.

I shower once every three or four days at most. I use baby wipes to get all the shit off my asshole after my daily deuce. (I don't wear underwear.) I don't exercise other than briskly walking from the bus stop to work, so sweat isn't much of a factor. I don't use deodorant or wear colognes or oils. Even in the heat of July, though, I still only retain a natural smell, which my girlfriend likes (and that feeling is reciprocated).

Unless the stink lines are rising from someone, I don't see what the problem is if people choose to bathe at will rather than when programmed to.

What, there's no "post anonymous comment" button? Ah well.
posted by not_on_display at 2:15 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


How are you people NOT constantly washing your hands?

so dirty... so very, very dirty...
posted by blue_beetle at 2:18 PM on February 24, 2009


sixcolors said: "It wasn't me either, I would've posted it under my original name."

Of course you would have, dear. We've come to expect nothing less.
posted by pineapple at 2:19 PM on February 24, 2009 [10 favorites]


I was considering posting a "someone (that I don't love, oddly) at work stinks. Please hope me, Ask Me" thread, but I solved it myself by just holding my breath when I walk by his cube farm every three or so days. That's when the stink be ripe enough to burn the esophagus.
posted by jerseygirl at 2:20 PM on February 24, 2009


Unless the stink lines are rising from someone, I don't see what the problem is if people choose to bathe at will rather than when programmed to.

As you certainly are aware, n_o_d, there is a vast gulf between "brainwashed overclean American sheeple" and "brushes teeth twice a month."
posted by pineapple at 2:21 PM on February 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Let's kill seven birds with one stone, shall we?

n: bath; v: bathe
n: breath; v: breathe
n: mouth; v: mouth
n: lath; v: lath
n: lathe; v: lathe
v: loathe; adj: loath
v: smooth; adj: smooth
posted by Sys Rq at 2:26 PM on February 24, 2009


Too much info, nod, too much info.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:28 PM on February 24, 2009


You know what? Fuck you! ... Sure, I don't bathe regularly and I haven't brushed my teeth in god knows how long, but somehow I still can keep my fucking job...

We're all very happy to hear of your continued employment.

Now, if you'll just stay on your side of the Internet, there won't be any problem.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:34 PM on February 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's to cover up the stench of our own failure!
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:36 PM on February 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I prefer to smell a two to three day unwashed stink to people who bathe in perfume. However, if someone smells like feces, they really need to clean that up stat.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:40 PM on February 24, 2009


Google's coyly hinting at something here. Current ads in a thread about dating/marrying people with poor hygiene:

- A site for BBW / Plus-sized singles.
- A site for elderly singles.
- A site for people wanting to date 'lonely moms'
- A site for people wanting to date Italians.

Conclusion: Google thinks that those old, plump Italian grandmas smell really bad.
posted by CKmtl at 2:41 PM on February 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


We were just kids!

We were tortured by a bully! We were screaming for help!
posted by Dumsnill at 2:47 PM on February 24, 2009


As a verb, bath is used like bathe in America: one can bath the baby (give it a bath) or, simply bath (take a bath).
Indeed yes. From the OED: bath, v. trans. To subject to a bath; to wash or immerse in a bath. Differing from bathe in having a more distinct reference to sense 11 of BATH n.1, and in being always literal.
posted by buxtonbluecat at 2:47 PM on February 24, 2009


As you certainly are aware, n_o_d, there is a vast gulf between "brainwashed overclean American sheeple" and "brushes teeth twice a month."

And as you're probably aware, people conflate the two for the purpose of hyperbole or handwringing here in MeTa/MeFi/AskMe and elsewhere. There's a decent argument to be made that not brushing your teeth can lead to later dental problems. And people make the handwashing argument and use those crazy toilet seat liners and/or pee all over the seat because they can't bear to touch it.

From a pure politeness point of view, it seems like what is necessary is to not be offensive to the eye and nose of others who you have to share space with; otherwise it's sort of something between you and your own personal god/dirty hippie how clean you are. Or not?

So, I'm always a little surprised when people get their hate on for something that isn't affecting them, as if there were a moral component to how often someone showers. I mean clearly normative examples are useful if you're in an edge case situation like a few of these people in AskMe are where it might be helpful to say something to the effect of "Hey you know most people really do shower more frequently than weekly/monthly..." but it seems like what people are concerned about aren't the habits, but the results. But then they think they know the habits that cause the results.

I feel that it's a variant of other prejudices that people have, where they assume that it's only the person who smells who isn't showering enough (when they may be showering twice a day) and/or the non-smelly person who is "clean" (who may shower once a week and wear a lot of petrochemical scent-hiders). Since it's something we're usually not discussing with the people who we're making assumptions about, we're freer to jump to conclusions.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:49 PM on February 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


So, I'm always a little surprised when people get their hate on for something that isn't affecting them...

And from my favorite movie, Hoosiers:

"Look, mister, there's two kinds of dumb. The guy that gets naked and runs out in the snow and barks at the moon, and the guy who does the same thing in my living room. First one don't matter. The second one, you're kinda forced to deal with."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:59 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't have a very strong sense of smell, and I was raised by depressed/lazy people who didn't teach me the intricacies of regular hygiene. So, while I shower daily and brush my teeth twice daily, I still have the vague suspicion that I'm not doing enough to avoid stinking, and I don't have the ability to actually test, for myself, if I stink. The possibility that I'm smelly and no one is willing to tell me about it is a source of a fair amount of anxiety for me.

Reading all the answers to those types of questions always leaves me feeling worse about it, too.
posted by Ms. Saint at 3:11 PM on February 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


n: bath; v: bathe

You're trying to be a smartass, but it isn't working because you're unaware that this is a US/UK difference. See above.
posted by languagehat at 3:14 PM on February 24, 2009


cf. loose : lose :: moose : mose
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:26 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


You're trying to be a smartass, but it isn't working because you're unaware that this is a US/UK difference. See above.

You're trying to be a dick, but it's only working because you're unaware of what I'm trying to be and what I know yet have no trouble lecturing about it.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:32 PM on February 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


For me, North Americans smell too damn clean.

Counterpoint: European women wear too much perfume. They do. Honestly. There's a specific perfume that just screams I AM FROM EUROPE and it can't be worn in increments less than a gallon. That plus no deodorant yields a very specific sort of smell, which is not generally obnoxious but can be overwhelming.

There's also a distinct eye-makeup difference between European and American women that I've never really understood. Apparently, all the time that European women aren't spending shaving their legs has gone into advanced eyeshadow technique. Yet, no foundation. It's an odd look. "I HAVE A LOT OF MAKEUP ON AND IT JUST LOOKS LIKE A LOT OF MAKEUP!" Whereas, American women, it's more "I HAVE A LOT OF MAKEUP ON, BUT YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO KNOW THAT IT'S REALLY A TON, IT'S SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE A MERE HUNDRED POUNDS."

Strange.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:35 PM on February 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: You're unaware of what I'm trying to be.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:35 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't have a very strong sense of smell, and I was raised by depressed/lazy people who didn't teach me the intricacies of regular hygiene...

I feel for you, Ms. Saint. I could have written every single word of that comment myself.
posted by kate blank at 4:15 PM on February 24, 2009


To be fair, it's been really freaking cold in Cleveland this winter, and getting naked and wet is the last thing a lot of us wanted to do at 6 a.m. when it's 10 degrees F and the windchill is below 0. So yeah, it's been a little stinky here.
posted by ltracey at 4:15 PM on February 24, 2009


The far future perspective on American cleanliness can be found in Body Ritual Among The Nacirema.
posted by nomisxid at 4:19 PM on February 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


So, I'm always a little surprised when people get their hate on for something that isn't affecting them, as if there were a moral component to how often someone showers.

You don't ride subways, do you?
posted by jonmc at 4:20 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't like to go to the dentist for cleanings, etc. (but *I DO*). To make the experience more interesting and possibly enjoyable, I like to ask the various dental hygienists about the worst cases they have seen, most of which involve people who do not brush their teeth regularly. Based on their stories, I have concluded that dental hygienists must be seriously underpaid.
posted by Morrigan at 4:23 PM on February 24, 2009


I sometimes make my husband smell my sweaters to tell me if they stink, because I figure I'm too accustomed to my own smell to make a good judgment. But can your significant other become so used to your stinkiness that he doesn't notice it either? Is it possible that I'm just walking around in a cloud of stink like Moonbeam McSwine?
posted by Evangeline at 4:26 PM on February 24, 2009


So, where do you hide money from a hippie? Under the soap.

I went through a period where I didn't shower or brush my teeth regularly. I was depressed. Now I'm over it.
posted by Sailormom at 4:32 PM on February 24, 2009


I was going to google up a quote I like about a clean woman being the best aphrodisiac (or maybe it was just soap), but the first result that has it is me mentioning it here before. If my googlefu failed me before, I'm not trying again. I'll just go take a bath instead.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:36 PM on February 24, 2009


CKmtl, my plump Italian grandmother believes bathing daily is unhealthy. She doesn't stink though.

Jessamyn, you are right that one can't know if habit is causing stink or if the person is just cursed with an unfortunate predisposition to BO and/or underlying medical condition. I will say that people whom I've interviewed in employment situations with BO get a small strike against them on the assumption that they either aren't going to have enough social awareness to work well with others, or are too depressed to take care of themselves. If I found out they had anosmia, or some other excuse, I'd probably cut them some slack.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:39 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


As a verb, bath is used like bathe in America: one can bath the baby (give it a bath) or, simply bath (take a bath).

I wonder if this is a case of one of those Britishisms that made it over to the Canadian Dominion, like colours, favourites and the metric system?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:43 PM on February 24, 2009


For my previous forays into non-smokerdom and from my current one (almost three months), I can tell you this: people, in general, smell pretty fucking bad once you can smell them. Of course, when I was smoking I probably smelled like an ashtray, so, fair enough I guess...
posted by jonmc at 4:48 PM on February 24, 2009


But can your significant other become so used to your stinkiness that he doesn't notice it either?

No. I tell my husband when he needs a shower, and vice versa.
posted by desjardins at 4:50 PM on February 24, 2009


I smell like cucumber melon. And fear. More like fear than cucumber or melon, really. So, sort of cucumbery-melon fear.
posted by steef at 5:07 PM on February 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


Keep it up, jonmc!

I sometimes make my husband smell my sweaters to tell me if they stink, because I figure I'm too accustomed to my own smell to make a good judgment. But can your significant other become so used to your stinkiness that he doesn't notice it either? Is it possible that I'm just walking around in a cloud of stink like Moonbeam McSwine?

The same terrifying thought has gripped my mind.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:21 PM on February 24, 2009


IMO, greasy hair is B>largely caused by over-cleanliness.

Wash your hair every day, and I'll guarantee your scalp is in full-time panic mode trying to rebalance its chemistry and conditions. It's pumping out oils as fast as it can, counteracting the abuse you've given it.

So do this: start cutting back on the quantity of shampoo you use. Chances are, you'll find that a small shampoo every three days results in stronger, healthier non-greasy hair. Then switch to a soap-based shampoo instead of a chemical shampoo. Even less damage to the hair and less irritation of the follicles and skin.

Shampoo is a bitches brew of truly nasty chemicals.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:44 PM on February 24, 2009


What the fuck is shampoo?
posted by fixedgear at 5:52 PM on February 24, 2009


Chances are, you'll find that a small shampoo every three days results in stronger, healthier non-greasy hair.

You know, I've never been able to get that to work for me. Maybe I just don't have the patience, but by the fourth day, when my hair is hanging in greasy ropes around my face, I just cave. Maybe I need a hair holiday.
posted by Evangeline at 5:54 PM on February 24, 2009


Oh, and good work, jonmc!
posted by Evangeline at 5:55 PM on February 24, 2009


Just when I thought the grocery shopping was done for the day I have to go out for "pineapple jello," because the curiosity as to what I as a woman smell like is getting the better (and always worse) of me--Thanks, jonmc!
posted by emhutchinson at 5:56 PM on February 24, 2009


Likely subjective, given my girlfriend and I's differing perspectives (she thinks man-stink is better; I think my crotch gets stinkier than my armpits, she disagrees; I think her armpits get stinkier than her crotch, she disagrees).

Sounds like what you need is a tiebreaking vote! ♪ ♫ Craigslist! ♫ ♪
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:59 PM on February 24, 2009


So we smell like pineapple jello, and parts of us, at least, taste like a nine volt battery. Hmmm. Could be worse, I guess.
posted by Evangeline at 6:05 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


IMO, greasy hair is largely caused by over-cleanliness.

I wash my hair daily (but don't screw around with conditioner or gel or whatnot) and my hair greases up pretty quickly. I blame my Mediterranean genetics.
posted by jonmc at 6:07 PM on February 24, 2009


You know, I'm in a somewhat depressed, crying, can't-peel-myself-off-the-couch-and-feel-alive THING right now. Thank you, MeFi, for making sure I got showered, teeth brushed and changed into new pj's today. It actually made me feel a little better.
posted by bunnycup at 6:07 PM on February 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


We're here for ya, bunny cup. Now like my father always said, "Get up off the damn sofa and do something - it'll make you feel better!" He said it when I had the stomach flu, when I had my wisdom teeth removed, and even the day after a car accident in which I broke my arm and leg. I didn't even have my crutches yet.

Sometimes wallowing a little bit is not a bad thing. Couches are nice.
posted by Evangeline at 6:13 PM on February 24, 2009


Look, a little sweat, a little hair grease, a little too much perfume cover up, bless you friends, we're not but human, if you walk into a room and you are forced to think or say "It smells like ass in here" then someone needs to take a fucking shower and change they draws, otherwise stay funky brothers and sisters.
posted by Divine_Wino at 6:15 PM on February 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Thank you, MeFi, for making sure I got showered, teeth brushed and changed into new pj's today. It actually made me feel a little better.

In times of great depression, I've found this to be true.

Wallowing is best done with good smelling hair.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:48 PM on February 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


Every time I read one of these Stinky People Askme's, I'm reminded of this guy I knew in college. Nice guy, would do anything for you, kind as the day was long but he always reeked of body odor. Not "Oops, I ran out of Mitchum this morning and I'll just scrape the applicator across my pits and hope for the best," not "End of the day after helping someone move during a heat wave," not even "Three day camping trip with the buddies," but an eye-stinging miasma that accompanied him like the fucking rings of Saturn at every hour of the day and night.

The smell emanated from every orifice and surface: his pits, his mouth, his ears, his hair, his ass; it was the damnedest thing because he *looked* clean. Clothing was tidy, hair wasn't greasy, no shreds of green flesh hanging between his teeth yet you knew when he had been in a room. Not just that, you knew when he had walked down a hallway sometime during the previous four hours. I once tracked him down in the Student Union, following his vapor trail through 300-some students.

Anyway, it was a mark of how nice of a guy he was that we (his classmates) went through all sorts of tortured discussions to figure out a way talk to him about it without hurting his feelings. We came to a consensus, and one of us—the person who considered themselves to be closest to him—talked to him and...nothing happened. If anything, he smelled even more. So we all tried broaching the subject, one by one or in pairs and he agreed (which was great) and apologized (which wasn't necessary) and promised to work on it (which never happened).

So we backed off and most of us regretfully stopped inviting him to too many events because we couldn't take the stench but kept in touch because, like I said, he was a great guy. A few years after we all graduated, I hosted a housewarming BBQ and invited him because I figured it was outside and the smoke might help mask the odor. He showed up, smelly as always. Got him a beer, he sat down on a lounge chair and my cat marched right up to him, jumped on the back of the chair, sniffed, did that cat thing where they half-open their mouth and cross their eyes, turned around and pissed on his head.

Next time I saw him, he smelled of Irish Spring. Since then, he's never not smelled of Irish Spring.

Anyway, every time I read one of these Stinky People Askme's, I always wonder if the OP would like to borrow my cat.
posted by jamaro at 7:04 PM on February 24, 2009 [144 favorites]


jamaro, that's fantastic.

And while I don't ride the subway, I do go to a gym, where I expect people to sweat and smell. I didn't expect some equipment to be literally unusable for up to a quarter of an hour after one particular guy uses it because he smells so much that anything he touches has a stomach-turning stench afterward.
posted by rodgerd at 7:12 PM on February 24, 2009


I blame the media for the Pavlovian shower every day thing. The two-weeks-without-showering homeless guy? Yeah, he smells pretty bad. But a few days? Come on. The incessant drive to make people afraid of anything and everything (ie, smelling like anything other than soap in this case) is really getting tiresome.

Having said that, brush your teeth, people. It is better to have real teeth than fake teeth.
posted by Nabubrush at 7:18 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Data point: my sister-in-law is from the interior of British Columbia (Barriere area). She's of French Canadian descent and uses bath. As in - I need to bath the dog. She's the first, and only, person I've heard use the word bath in that fashion.
posted by deborah at 7:45 PM on February 24, 2009


Who farted?
posted by dirty lies at 7:46 PM on February 24, 2009


Whoever smelt it, dealt it.
posted by jonmc at 7:50 PM on February 24, 2009


Hey, "no shampoo" people - what if you put product in your hair, like gel or wax? Don't you need to wash it out? Rinsing doesn't do the job, and if I don't use any product, my hair gets all flyaway in the winter.

I brush my teeth every day, for the record. The only days I don't shower are when I'm home all day due to sickness or laziness (or housework). I do confess to wearing the same clothes several days in a row.
posted by desjardins at 8:07 PM on February 24, 2009


It could be so much worse.
posted by Evangeline at 8:11 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


desjardins, I had an AskMeFi question on a similar topic and quite a few 'no-poo' people weighed in.

My history teacher in high school (in an effort to help us understand what pioneer life was like, I think) promised to give $100 to any student who went a month without showering, brushing their teeth/hair or any grooming whatsoever. No one ever made it because it was simply too nasty; of course this was the age of discovering sex and that might have had something to do with it...

But yeah... not changing your underwear each day? Fuck...
posted by cranberrymonger at 8:56 PM on February 24, 2009


Got him a beer, he sat down on a lounge chair and my cat marched right up to him, jumped on the back of the chair, sniffed, did that cat thing where they half-open their mouth and cross their eyes, turned around and pissed on his head.

And what exactly was stopping you from pissing on his head?

Poor guy. He really should have had better friends.
posted by jason's_planet at 8:56 PM on February 24, 2009


kbanas writes "Yeah, but that's something where the longer you wait the bigger the payoff in my book. If I go a day and then go into the bathroom and floss, use mouthwash and brush vigorously, it's almost better than orgasm."

Well, you're a cheap date.

Sorry, very sorry about that. It can't be helped.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:59 PM on February 24, 2009


And what exactly was stopping you from pissing on his head?

He wasn't into that sort of thing.
posted by jamaro at 9:07 PM on February 24, 2009


I'd like to hear the counterpoint from the Europeans in the house.

For me, North Americans smell too damn clean. All that shampoo and conditioner and aftershave and perfume, it icks me out. You don't smell like people. You smell like the soap factory, like you just stepped out of an Axolotl tank... let it age just a wee bit, brothers and sisters, there are natural oils that are a normal part of your body.

Unless you work in the the sewage treatment or fish processing industries there is no need whatsoever to bathe once every 24 hours.


Well, I'm Dutch and I've always admired the high standards of personal hygiene of Americans. They're almost as good as the Dutch.
posted by atrazine at 9:53 PM on February 24, 2009 [8 favorites]


I wonder why humans have evolved to find the smell of body odor so revolting. I am aware that many diseases are closely associated with poor overall--not just personal--hygiene, but it mostly comes down to the presence of fecal matter in the water supply, not just sweat and greasy hair, right?
posted by halogen at 10:11 PM on February 24, 2009


Unless you work in the the sewage treatment or fish processing industries there is no need whatsoever to bathe once every 24 hours.

You know, Thais already think most expat & holidaying Westeners have gross standards because we only shower once a day and spend our time in humid climes getting gross and sweaty. They have a couple of rinses during the day.

Best you don't move to Thailand.
posted by rodgerd at 11:13 PM on February 24, 2009


I wonder why humans have evolved to find the smell of body odor so revolting.

I don't think it's so much the smell of the body, as such. Fresh sweat has a fairly mild, positive tang to my nose. It's once it's started going stale and been there for too long it smells awful.
posted by rodgerd at 11:16 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Savages.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:28 PM on February 24, 2009


I wonder why humans have evolved to find the smell of body odor so revolting.

If you are around it all the time you quickly become desensitized.

If you eat a less than totally rich diet, get enough activity that you are sweating often, and don't trap the sweat and grease up against your body with a lot of clothes, you don't build up as intense a stink.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:53 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


What Rodgerd said.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:53 PM on February 24, 2009


I mentioned in that caravan-in-the-woods FPP recently that I'd lived in one myself for getting on two years. I could get a shower at the pub I worked at evenings, but only about once a week as I didn't want to take the piss. Used to have a strip wash mornings by pouring boiling water on a towel and scrubbing down - great way to start the day shivering out there half-naked as dawn was coming up behind the trees and birds just starting dawn chorus. Day job was working as a carpenter or builder's labourer so what with that, living in the woods and using a wood-burning stove I mostly smelled of of woodsmoke and forest. Was also only washing my hair in rosemary water boiled up in a pan. I was in my early twenties, fit as a butcher's dog and glowing with raw health (glossy coat annd a wet nose too), so it was a case of beating back the offers of good loving with a stick (plenty of those handy in the circumstances). Lovely woman I ended up shacked up with for some of that was a truck mechanic and often had a faint whiff of eau de diesel about her. Good days, care-free; never felt as clean living in the city. Stuff the pampered poncery of modern living :p
posted by Abiezer at 12:54 AM on February 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


I used to ride bikes pretty regularly with a guy who reeked. He was a great guy, smart, safe, predictable, good bike handler, took his pulls, didn't complain. Except when I was on his wheel, my eyes would water and I just couldn't sit behind him for long. We quickly figured out it was his polyester jersey, which despite looking clean, held a deadly funk which was released as soon as he warmed up, which took approximately thirty seconds. We suggested that detergent formulated for poly clothes, no luck. I switched rides after that.
posted by fixedgear at 3:25 AM on February 25, 2009


If you eat a less than totally rich diet, get enough activity that you are sweating often, and don't trap the sweat and grease up against your body with a lot of clothes, you don't build up as intense a stink.

Yep. When I follow a mostly veggies and no junk food diet and run everyday I can go three days without a shower easy and not smell. Fall off the diet and stop working out and I stink by the end of each day. It's a totally different kind of odor as well.
posted by Science! at 5:34 AM on February 25, 2009


These filthy people are all my robots. Officially, they're referred to as the Army of the Unclean. It took so much time, effort, and technology to give them the emotions and intelligence to be both lovable and loving that I didn't have the time or wherewithal to keep coding so, at the risk of offending a few, I gave up halfway through the hygiene module.

Though I can't reveal the purpose of the AOU, I can say that once they're all in place (and only about 10 percent are at this time), all I'll have to do is flip one switch.

You read it here first!
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 5:42 AM on February 25, 2009


I wonder why humans have evolved to find the smell of body odor so revolting.

No actually the opposite is true. This is why pubic hair develops in the crevices where you sweat at adolescence, because it captures and radiates your scent, which advertises your biological information and health status to the opposite sex. Body odor is/was sexy.

Super-stank bodyfunk (bromidrosis) most likely is not common among hunter-gatherers or people unexposed to the modern post-agricultural, post-industrial environment. This is like obesity and acne, which we take for granted as part of the human condition, but really it's a novel affliction that started with Europeans and whatever dietary and biological exposures we've spread around the world in the last 100+ years.
posted by dgaicun at 6:03 AM on February 25, 2009


But yeah... not changing your underwear each day?

I have the opposite problem at my house-- my husband changes his underwear too frequently. He and I both skip the shower when we are home alone-- don't drop in on us after a three day weekend if you find natural smells offensive-- but he is fanatical about putting on clean clothes ever single time he takes them off. Our schedule always revolves around a nap so he puts on clean clothes about 3 times a day. That is 3 pairs of socks, 3 pairs of jeans, 3 black T-shirts, and 3 boxer shorts go into the laundry every single day. Plus he always uses a fresh towel. The amount of laundry I do for only 2 people is ridiculous.

We have also noticed how high tech sports clothes are noxious; I love the smell of my husband, but when he comes home from a tennis match his smell is offensive. It is always the clothes. Strip him naked and he is as sweet to me as all the perfumes of Arabia.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:31 AM on February 25, 2009


I wonder if this is a case of one of those Britishisms that made it over to the Canadian Dominion, like colours, favourites and the metric system?

Maybe. I was also born in England, which complicates things. I will ask my friends now how they spell bath(e). Stay Tuned!
posted by chunking express at 6:47 AM on February 25, 2009


Nthign that diet has a lot to do with the foulness of the unwashed in America (or other countries eating too much processed junk.) I find the smell of McDonalds revolting when fresh, let alone oozing out of someone's pores layered with stale sweat and yesterday + today's cheap cologne.

I don't think showering every day is necessary, but not showering every day PLUS not doing laundry can get funky -- a sink-bath in lieu of a shower and freshly laundered clothes work fine, though. The main reason I shower every day is for the steam for my poor, afflicted sinuses and because I find it an enjoyable aspect of my morning ritual.
posted by desuetude at 7:00 AM on February 25, 2009


None of my friends spell bath without an 'e'. So i'm guessing it's just a British thing. Unless no one from Britain does it either.
posted by chunking express at 7:22 AM on February 25, 2009


OK, I have a patagonia capilene shirt that's meant as a baselayer. I often wear it under a fleece pullover. I could shower, put it on, and do absolutely nothing all day, and the thing will still REEK when I take it off. I don't understand why they market it for physical activity, because no one would come within 10 feet of me if I wore it while biking. My husband is brutally honest about the way I smell, so I'm certain that none of my other clothing has this problem. So WTF?
posted by desjardins at 7:35 AM on February 25, 2009


I have a patagonia capilene shirt

For what it's worth, I have this same problem with capilene, and patagonia in specific. Most of my stuff can stand a few wearings if it's not workout clothes but the capilene stuff is stanky and I've never understood it. I'm glad to hear other people have this problem.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:49 AM on February 25, 2009


It might be because Capilene's outer surface is water soluble, so your sweat gets in the fibers and combines to form a new temporary stinky chemical.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:00 AM on February 25, 2009


I blame the media for the Pavlovian shower every day thing. The two-weeks-without-showering homeless guy? Yeah, he smells pretty bad. But a few days? Come on. The incessant drive to make people afraid of anything and everything (ie, smelling like anything other than soap in this case) is really getting tiresome.

As someone who lives in Florida, and walks three miles a day, I promise you that my daily showers aren't Pavlovian. In the summer, they're twice daily showers, and they're really, really necessary for me to not reek.

I was able to use powder and deodorant in the place of antiperspirant in the winter while living up north, but there are geographic aspects of the question, like INSANE FREAKIN HUMIDITY that make blaming the media across the board sorta silly.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:03 AM on February 25, 2009


OK, I have a patagonia capilene shirt that's meant as a baselayer... WTF?

Base layer is there for wicking your sweat and keeping you cool. It's not for preventing stank.
I'm a runner and Mr. 26.2 is a cyclist and we wash a lot of dry-fit/race poly/base layer clothes. Unless you wash them carefully, they can smell like the funk of 1000 years. Wash them as soon as you can. Use a hot water wash, plenty of detergent and some added borax - no fabric softerner. Line dry in the sun if you can, because it makes a huge difference.

Even with all that, eventually they just stink and get tossed. If it starts to smell pongy as soon as it reaches your body temperature, it's time to send that race jersey to great finish line of the trash can.
posted by 26.2 at 9:05 AM on February 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wear wool as a base layer. It doesn't smell. It has natural anti-microbal properties. Shop around and you'll see that wool garments can be the same price as synthetics. I wear my favorite wool jerseys three or four times before washing them. I told a friend and she said "ewwww" but why wear them out? Saves water, detergent, time...
posted by fixedgear at 9:36 AM on February 25, 2009


My local sporting goods store has a laundry detergent specifically for sports synthetics that does a 1000% better job of getting the stink out of my underarmor than Tide or what have you.

Wool as a base layer is pretty old-school and is a good idea, but even the nice wools can be itchy. Though I should probably break down and just go buy a wool jersey for my bike commutes.
posted by GuyZero at 9:57 AM on February 25, 2009


Wear wool as a base layer. It doesn't smell.

I have wool sweaters that I've gone a long time without cleaning. I'm not going to tell you how long, 'cause it would gross you out. This is one of the reasons I have my husband smell some of my clothes. I keep thinking, "this couldn't possibly still be okay", but he smells it, and apparently it's fine.

Now if there's a little bit of acrylic in the mix, all bets are off.
posted by Evangeline at 10:00 AM on February 25, 2009


I'm convinced acrylic fibers somehow manage to pull BO off of other people and draw it to you. That stuff holds a stench like no fiber. Why do they make clothing out of it all?
posted by 26.2 at 10:20 AM on February 25, 2009


but even the nice wools can be itchy.

If you can afford it/are willing to pay what they are asking/get it as a present, Ibex rules. My polo shirt feels like silk, even die hard 'can't wear wool' folks like it. It's all in the size of the fiber, or so they tell me. Sheep can get sheared repeatedly, then eaten, which is nice.
posted by fixedgear at 10:21 AM on February 25, 2009


I don't do baths. The idea of sitting in dirty water makes my skin crawl.

(I do shower. Showers are awesome, all that dirty water just flows away...)
posted by sandraregina at 1:45 PM on February 25, 2009


Dude, you shower first then you have a sit in a nice bath.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:45 PM on February 25, 2009


I don't do baths. The idea of sitting in dirty water makes my skin crawl.

Presuming you use some sort of soap, this is exactly what surfactants prevent.
posted by desuetude at 1:53 PM on February 25, 2009


Dude, you shower first then you have a sit in a nice bath.

I really like the way you phrased that comment, sort of like, "Duh, don't you know anything about basic personal hygiene?" Also the words "dude" and "nice bath" are kind of a neat juxtaposition.
posted by Evangeline at 1:57 PM on February 25, 2009


even the nice wools can be itchy.

Can be, but don't have to be. The merino wool baselayer from Swrve Cycling is the best base-layer garment I've ever owned. Light, comfortable, non-binding. Non-stinky. And it doesn't itch even the slightest. At 45 bucks, it's pretty reasonably priced, too.
posted by dersins at 2:14 PM on February 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Acrylic, *shudder*. I once got a hand knitted acrylic cable-knit sweater. I nearly cried that someone would spend that much time to make something with such an awful material. I tried to be gracious and effusive in my thanks, but the uncontrollable quick flash of revulsion as I tried it on was probably all too apparent. It reels almost like wearing a trash bag poncho.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:15 PM on February 25, 2009


s/ feels for reels
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:16 PM on February 25, 2009


but really it's a novel affliction that started with Europeans and whatever dietary and biological exposures we've spread around the world in the last 100+ years.

Ahh, white people. Is there anything thet can't be blamed for?
posted by rodgerd at 3:30 PM on February 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Flavor Flav.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:09 PM on February 25, 2009


Brandon Blatcher, I'd be willing to bet big money big money no whammies that (mostly) white people can be blamed for this.
posted by dersins at 4:18 PM on February 25, 2009


Well, to be clear, 0% of non-Westernized people have acne, while 80-90%+ of Westernized people get acne. We find the same for obesity.

I think it's safe to say whatever is wrong with this guy is the body odor equivalent to this or this, and not likely something pre-Westernized people would ever encounter.
posted by dgaicun at 5:27 PM on February 25, 2009


That's the stupidest use of a study I've ever seen.

Are you saying that because bushmen aren't obese, obesity is the result of westernisation? Seriously?

Are you seriously arguing that East Asia never knew obesity? Or India? Or Persia?

I just ask because I want to understand if you're dumber than a rock.
posted by rodgerd at 10:29 PM on February 25, 2009


that (mostly) white people can be blamed for this.

Actually, you can blame a single (very) white person for that. If she hadn't broken his heart, he never would have done the show.

I'm a HUGE romantic.
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:21 AM on February 26, 2009


Or you could blame this guy.
posted by Evangeline at 7:27 AM on February 26, 2009


Or you could communicate like an adult.

No, obesity was not/is not common in those places. And it wasn't common in Europe and its offshoots until relatively recently as well. This is basic knowledge among anthropologists and epidemiologists:

"Obesity is a relatively recent public health concern. In non-industrial and non-western societies, obesity is uncommon as a health problem and it is essentially absent in societies that still exist as hunter/gatherers." [page 202, citations within]

Most world cultures have modernized, or changed in specific ways, due to Western contact and influence. Part of that is the introduction of obesity and related diseases. There is lots of anthropological evidence for this.
posted by dgaicun at 7:29 AM on February 26, 2009


Above comment @ rodgerd. I guess the "or you could" phrasing is unfortunate.
posted by dgaicun at 7:32 AM on February 26, 2009


Oh good. For a moment I thought you were chastising me for using a sentence fragment.
posted by Evangeline at 7:35 AM on February 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm glad that was cleared up so Evangeline wasn't unduly chastised, but I'm ready to get into a flame war about VH1 shows if anyone's interested. I'll argue either side of any related topic!

1. Bret Michaels specifically picks girls who are aloof so he can extend that franchise indefinitely.

2. I Love Money shouldn't have worked, but it did. I Love Money 2 really shouldn't be working, and it really, really isn't.

3. Real Chance of Love is a reality show about two guys who were on a reality show about a girl who was on a reality show about Flavor Flav. This is GREAT for America.
posted by SpiffyRob at 10:19 AM on February 26, 2009


Oh SpiffyRob, I'm out of my depth. I only watched one season of "Rock of Love" in the hope I'd finally see what's under that bandana. I never did.
posted by Evangeline at 10:31 AM on February 26, 2009


Under the bandana is a cowboy hat, and under the cowboy hat is another bandana. Infinitely.
posted by SpiffyRob at 12:44 PM on February 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


I could have sworn it was bandannas all the way down.
posted by dersins at 12:48 PM on February 26, 2009


Maybe there's nothing under the bandana. Maybe he lost the top half of his head in a hilarious - I mean tragic - freak accident.
posted by Evangeline at 12:58 PM on February 26, 2009


Yarmulke.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:11 PM on February 26, 2009


I may be delusional, but now that I think about it, I believe in the current season, Ashley went into Bret's bedroom and he had no hat and no bandana, just a ton of blonde hair. Now, I'm dubious that it's real, so the missing top half of head theory could easily still be valid, but it appears I was wrong in my original assessment of infinte headgear.

Alas, poor Bret! I knew him, Flavor Flav: a fellow of infinite headgear, of most excellent rocking: he hath borne me on his bus a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is!
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:07 AM on February 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


A rose by any other name still has a thorn.
posted by Evangeline at 7:26 AM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bret admits to extensions.
posted by team lowkey at 12:42 PM on February 27, 2009


I think I liked him better with the bandanna. Without it, he looks like a tired truck stop waitress.
posted by Evangeline at 2:13 PM on February 27, 2009


"Yarmulke."

Scrolling down for a minute, I thought this was the "Name Hitler's Cat" thread for a second.
posted by klangklangston at 6:27 PM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


You say "Hitler's cat", I say "Bret Michaels" - tomato, tomahto.
posted by Evangeline at 6:29 PM on February 27, 2009


How can you tell when your butt smells bad? Flies cluster. Ugh.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:34 PM on March 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


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