by Ranting Roger
What is it about personal hygiene that really (pardon the pun) gets up my nose? And exactly why do some people smell (rank) when there’s enough soap, water and deodorants in the UK to bathe the population until extinction. Look people, there’s a Poundland in more or less every major town and city in the country. You can shop and buy cleansing products to your hearts content; all for a pound, or sometimes even less. Wow!
I’ve watched ’embarrassing bodies’ on TV and know that for some unfortunate folk, smelling bad is not their fault. I’ve also seen folk being told, “No, we’ve checked you out and there’s nothing wrong with you at all. The smell that’s attracting attention will no longer attract attention once you’ve gone home and washed your behind”.
Here’s a situation that occurred recently, which will explain what I mean about hygiene problem.
I have a cousin called Vinnie. Not his real name, obviously. I don’t want to give his real name for two reasons. 1; I don’t want to embarrass him or his family and 2; if he thought I was writing about him, he may attempt to get quite aggressive with me in a threatening manner.
Anyway, we were both asked to attend a funeral of a relative and Vinnie asked me if I wanted to accompany him on the two hour journey. Well, it made sense at the time. I wouldn’t have to take my car and seeing as I hadn’t seen him in a while, we’d have the chance to catch up on things. Bigger fool me.
When I opened the passenger door, a stench matched only, I imagine, to cabbages being cooked in a vat of dog faeces after being marinated in Yak urine, violated my senses.
The car reeked of a combination of both foot and body odour that assailed my nostrils. It was foul. It was so bad, I could actually feel my nose trying to rip itself from my face in an attempt to seek sanctuary at the local public toilet. I was nearly sick. Maybe if I had been, it may have improved the air quality of the interior of the car.
As I said, we were going to a funeral, what I didn’t realise was that we were taking the body with us. I am lying of course. There wasn’t a dead body accompanying us in the car, as that would be illegal, but believe me, it smelt as though there was. “Let’s use my car”, I beseeched Vinnie, using the excuse that it would be cheaper in petrol. Absolutely not, he insisted. “My car is far more comfortable”. More comfortable than what, I thought. More comfortable than wearing a skunk as a face mask whilst swimming through raw sewerage?
Two hours later we arrived at the funeral. Apart from the respite my nostrils received when passing the odd farmer muck spreading, I felt as though the scent of death pervaded my whole being. It was as though his feet and armpits had died several months previously and Vinnie just carried them around with him.
Maybe, Vinnie wanted to pay the ultimate homage to our recently departed relative in the only way he knew best and that was by smelling like them.
We all know someone whose hygiene leaves a lot to be desired; whether it be a relative, friend or colleague. And maybe we should tell them. I certainly didn’t. Maybe I should have said to Vinnie, “Excuse me Vinnie, but you smell rancid. When you take your socks off, are they going to run to the washing machine themselves, turn the dial to ‘boil the hell out of me’ and slowly disintegrate in shame”.
I don’t know how to tell someone they stink to high heaven, but I’d like to.