I’ve been working as a retail cashier for over a year now, and I’ve encountered many people who obviously don’t bathe or shower. I’m not talking about someone who might have missed this morning’s shower. I am talking about people who reeked so bad that it tears up the eyes of the cashiers next to me.
I cannot figure this out. Why do people go out smelling so bad that people can’t stand next them without gagging? Don’t talk about being homeless or not having access to facilities. Some of these people drive cars, wear nice clothes, and pay with credit cards.
Elderly folks get to smelling pretty strong. But they can’t smell it. And bathing thoroughly is difficult or even physically impossible. So they wash their face & armpits & call it good.
Some people have amazing BO that’s just their personal chemistry plus whatever bacteria live on their skin. I once worked in an office for a guy who I know showered thoroughly & wore clean clothes every day. And who reeked from first thing in the AM. Somewhere along the way he got some medication that altered his chemistry. After that he smelled no worse than anybody else. The difference was amazing, and almost overnight.
I spent one August as a honey-dipper. Even with serious showers and all I sometimes had a funk to me (I am told). To be frank, my nose was so burned out at that point I just couldn’t tell. Maybe this in some cases?
Lots of things can go wrong with bathing facilities beyond “I just don’t have a shower.” One of my friends grew up in a rented home where for years the bathtub drain didn’t work and all bath water had to be bailed into the toilet or sink by bucket. Other people have inadequate heating, making wintertime bathing extremely unpleasant.
I read on a forum lately about a guy who feels it is not natural to be bathing all the time. He says the exterior of the body is meant to be covered with bacteria and he hasn’t bathed for 16 years. Not me, I do the daily shower if I need it or not.
This used to be me. Didn’t start taking daily showers until I was almost 30. Before that it was once a week, or so. I also didn’t wear deodorant. It was pretty bad.
As to why?
I couldn’t smell myself, so I didn’t think it was a problem. This is really the main one. It honestly didn’t occur to me that people would think I smelt bad but wouldn’t say anything, even my friends.
I didn’t get into the habit as I was growing up. Every once in a while my mom would say “You need a shower, dear.” so I would take one - but unless she did, or unless I noticed my hair was getting greasy, I wouldn’t. She took one most days, but never insisted that I did, so I figured it was just personal preference on her part.
Taking a shower in the morning meant getting out of bed earlier. Screw that. And taking one at night (my preference, still) meant staying up later when I was sleepy. Basically, showering cut into my sleeping time.
I don’t do anything with my hair other than brushing it and pulling it back, so I didn’t need to take a shower to get my hair wet for styling purposes.
So, yeah. shrug I started showering daily because my husband nudged me into it, and I eventually realized it was a good idea. But he met me and fell in love with me when I was still unshowered, and I had plenty of lovers before then, so I guess it didn’t make me completely unworthy of human company.
Everyone has different hygiene habits, and not all of them translate into body odor. There are some people who bathe regularly and still have funk on them. And then there are people who can get away with skipping a couple of day. No one knows what kind of person they are until a friend passes them a note that says “You need to wash your ass right now.”
Worse than that, I developed a rather strong aversion to clothes that had been washed in a well-known brand of detergent – not one that I ever used, but on other people, it made them smell like they were covered with dried barf.
I dated a girl once who would have to interupt love making to shower because she reeked so bad if she started to sweat. I felt really bad for her and would usually lie and say I couldn’t smell anything. I always felt like she made it worse trying to mask it with various scents.
Except I would expect that, growing up, some loved one should tell you, sometime around puberty.
Failing that, it’s not impossible to check yourself. Smell your own clothes, especially in the places where stinkiness tends to happen. Do the “check yourself” maneuvers, like smelling your own arm pit.
I really think a lot of people just aren’t taught to check for these things.
If I go a day without showering I feel fine, as long as I’m not working outside or working up a sweat. Two or three days and I feel horrible. Is that unusual? I can’t imagine not showering for days at a time, outside of emergency situations. I’d be really uncomfortable. Nothing to do with smell.
Sometimes the odor is diet related. I used to have a bf who showered at least once a day and also changed clothes at least once a day. I always knew when he ate at his mom’s house because he would reek for days.