It's been a semi-magical evening: Your date kept his mouth shut during the movie
, demonstrated a working knowledge of silverware at dinner and laughed at your finely honed Lady Gaga impression. You decide to lean in for a kiss, and the unmistakable stench of B.O. immediately offends your delicate olfactory senses.
Could it be that this otherwise great guy suffers from a seeming lack of personal hygiene? And if so, what can a polite and courteous gal do about it?
For many, this would be akin to finding out Dreamboat likes to torture and kill small animals on the weekends -- "That's a deal-breaker, ladies."
But if body odor is the only obstacle standing in the way of you and a fulfilling future of joint mortgages, mother-in-law trouble and weekends in Amish country, there are a few things you can do to salvage the situation.
As Marjabelle Young Stewart, author of "Commonsense Etiquette
," writes, "The essence of etiquette is civility. So much of civility is thinking about the other person's feelings and perspective and acting with compassion, consideration and sensitivity." Well put.
Tread lightly when approaching this sensitive topic. Nobody wants to be told that they stink, unless they're currently attending Coachella
or are trying to ward off vampires.
Sometimes a lack of hygiene can point to a bigger psychological problem, like depression. Try to approach the situation with an air of concern rather than judgment. It's up to you whether or not that's something you want to get involved with, but if it is, bring it up gently: "Chet, you seem down. And I can't help but notice that you seem a bit ripe. Is there something you'd like to talk about?" If approached with a genuine sense of caring, rather than abject disgust, boyfriend is more likely not to be offended and to reach for that Dial.
If you know him a little better, you can try using good-natured humor: "Hey buddy, how about using some real deodorant rather than that hippie rock you've been rubbing on your pits?" He should get the point and chuckle at the same time.
Of course, you should keep in mind that some people from other cultures have different standards of personal hygiene than Americans. Be sensitive, and decide for yourself whether or not it's something you can live with or want to try to change. After all, isn't a relationship with a fabulous babe like you worth the occasional rendezvous with a loofah?
If worse comes to worst, you might consider just learning to embrace the stink and pretend you're dating self-proclaimed brooding stankypants Robert Pattinson.
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