DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS:
I’m just ending an experience with a friend who moved into the spare bedroom of the house I was renting this past fall. I’ve witnessed first hand that it’s possible for some people to have a complete lack of understanding of hygiene. His body odour (BO) would become overwhelming, because he’d NEVER wash his clothes and linens. The unit even has its own free washer and dryer! I know for a fact that he did not use them between September 2011 and April 2012 (and has only done a total two loads since).
He uses deodorant, but feels that since only a handful of people in his life have told him that his personal smell was offensive, it couldn’t be that bad.
In fact, it got so bad that whenever he would open his bedroom door the entire unit smelled like an old gym bag, but his reasoning was that past roommates hadn’t complained so that there must be something wrong with me. — Disgusted, Winnipeg
Dear Disgusted: I’ve have just had a barrage of letters on this topic and there seem to be two types of offenders — those who really don’t know, and for these people I DO have sympathy. At work, people should tell them immediately. In a large workplace, human resources should be alerted; In a small workplace, a boss should do it. It is part of workplace etiquette and productivity. Amongst friends, someone should privately tell the person who has BO. In a family, it should be said nicely but frankly and parents should bring in different deodorants until it is corrected. Parents should point out to kids going through puberty they can’t smell themselves as keenly as other people do, and by the time they do become aware of body odour on themselves, everyone else around is smelling it very strongly. You may be the last person to know but at some point you DO know. Then there are those who have strong body odour, plus unwashed clothes and it’s not about poverty. They know, and they simply don’t care. This is a different breed; your house mate was one of that group. These people need to be told to clean up their acts directly. Some of them enjoy the secret power of grossing out people and of knowing people are tip-toeing around them like mice, scared to say anything. Some of have been told before that they smell. As for remedies, some people have tried mild deodorants, which have failed. Others have moved on to strong deodorants that have worked around the clock.
Some need to see a doctor for help.
Whatever the case, people need to find a way to get through life without making their friends and fellow workers miserable, and their love partners disappear.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I am wondering what you think of a person who has been widowed and remarried wearing her first marriage’s wedding rings as well as the new rings. My thoughts are that the first marriage ended when the husband died and should be removed and kept in a jewellery box. Is this the new common practice? If a couple is living common-law I think it should also apply. — Respect for the New Husband?
Winnipeg Dear Respect: It depends on how the new husband feels. If he is a widower and still wears his old wedding rings too, then they can work something out with different hands. But, in most cases a person should take off the previous wedding rings and put them in a lovely box in the drawer. That’s close enough. Sitting on the finger, they are a constant reminder, which is especially difficult if the dearly departed is now considered a saint. Those rings in the drawer can be willed to the children of that union, or give to them earlier to keep.
Please email problems to firstname.lastname@example.org or write letters c/o Miss Lonelyhearts Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., R2X 3B6