I hang out with a lot of artsy Midtown types, and I've become pals with a guy I'll call Bob. Bob is really smart, has a great hipster fashion sense (hello skinny jeans!), and shares my taste in local indie and punk music.
But Bob stinks. Really bad. I don't know if he ever showers, but I know he doesn't wear deodorant because he's told me. He brags about how all-natural he is by avoiding chemical-laden deodorant sticks. My other friends make fun of his rank smell behind Bob's back, but I really can't stoop to that level.
Since Bob is a fairly new friend, I don't feel comfortable saying something to his face about the stench, but it's really hard to be around him for very long without gagging. How can I break the news to Bob without hurting his feelings?
-- Holding My Nose
Dear Holding Your Nose,
There's really no proper way to tell someone they smell like ass. You either choose to remain silent and put up with the stench or you tell the truth and hurt someone's feelings. In this case, I think it's worth a few hurt feelings.
After all, Bob's other friends are talking behind his back. If that news makes it back to him, it'll hurt worse than you telling Bob that he stinks to his face.
You should gently mention to him, perhaps when he's bragging about his lack of deodorant, that perhaps he should consider using an all-natural organic deodorant. Though it's not super-potent, it's better than nothing. If cost is an issue, he can even make his own deodorant using equal parts baking soda, cornstarch, and coconut oil.
But then, Bob may already be aware of his smelliness, and he might even like it. Some hippie types take pleasure in their natural smells. I once had a roommate who only showered once a week, if that. He was super smelly, and some of our friends dubbed him Icky Ricky.
When confronted, Ricky still refused to shower. He'd say, "I like my funk." My boyfriend and I actually to lay down the law and force him into the shower before we'd let him stay on our couch. If that's the case with Bob, there's not much you can do, except carry a can of air freshener wherever you go. Or keep holding your nose.
Got a problem? E-mail Bianca at firstname.lastname@example.org.