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I wish I wasn't so embaressed

post #1 of 90
Thread Starter 
Hello, I am new to this forum and I thought that this would be a good place to discuss what happened to me today.


I recently started a new job and today was my 3rd day, it is at coffe shop and roastery. My (male) boss pretty much draged me away (politley) from the rush that we were having and brought me to the back room and said "I don't know if you are aware of this or not but you have a body odor." I was so taken aback, it had never occured to me that I had "body odor," even though I am keenly aware that I DO have a natural body smell, kwim? Nobody has ever said anything about my smell (other then compliments) before.

I do not wear deoderant, I think that it is gross and I have never liked it, plus I didn't think that I smelled foul. However, I do wear cedar or patchouli oil ever so often.

He said that a couple of people complained! So, he sent me home and I was pretty embaressed

So here is what I think; I do have a body smell, it really isn't aweful but I think that people are so use to not smelling a normal body and they noticed mine and they thought that is was a sign of me being dirty or something.

Has anyone else ever experienced this before? Do you have your own smell that you don't try to overtly cover up? What would you do in this situation?

Thanks for the time.
post #2 of 90
I am sorry you were embarrassed

Frankly, I don't think natural body odor is acceptable in a service profession in the US. I might not have complained but I would not have appreciated it all. Especially, mixed with patchouli. Double yuck. Simply put no one wants to smell you.

I struggle the issue with myself because a lot of things react with my skin and create a worse odor than natural smells. I find something simple like toms of Maine unscented deodorant to work well. No chemicals. Just helps bacteria from multiplying and stink from developing.

If you don't make a change you will probably lose your job. Not sure your age and previous job history but I think it would be an issue in most employment. And this isn't going to be a protected issue so any employment can easily fire you over it.
post #3 of 90
I've actually found wearing deodorant makes me smell worse... and I think it is rather insulting to say that no one wants to smell someone. I think your boss tried to be tactful but totally failed. What I do when I need to... I wash up right before I need to be somewhere, you can dust corn starch under your armpits and a bit of baking soda might help with any odors. You do not need to wear deodorant though... if you don't want to. The more stuff you put under your arms, the more your body will purge it and the more you will stink. It's a huge vicious cycle. Also, if it's warm where you are located, that can amplify natural odors... I know I tend to be a bit stronger smelling in the summer, hormones also have an effect on my body odor. I am sorry you were embarrassed, I wish I had better advice... like use it as an opportunity to teach about the dangers of deodorant or the benefits to natural body odor.
post #4 of 90
Thread Starter 
I have had other service industry jobs and I have never had this problem before.......

I understand that in the USA people are obsessed with being overty clean and perfect. And people are always in denial of the fact that they are essentially animals that have natural occurances such as body odor, hair on their bodies, oily hair, acne, ect....

I don't appreciate smelling synthetic fragrances AT ALL and it is everywhere I go. I seriously hold my breath if I walk by someone who has a fake smelling anything on.

I am honeslty thinking about quiting my job because I think that this might have been blown out of proportion, even though I totally understand that there are certain codes to abide by while working with the "civilized people."
post #5 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Auroara Bobcat View Post
I have had other service industry jobs and I have never had this problem before.......

I understand that in the USA people are obsessed with being overty clean and perfect. And people are always in denial of the fact that they are essentially animals that have natural occurances such as body odor, hair on their bodies, oily hair, acne, ect....

I don't appreciate smelling synthetic fragrances AT ALL and it is everywhere I go. I seriously hold my breath if I walk by someone who has a fake smelling anything on.


I am honeslty thinking about quiting my job because I think that this might have been blown out of proportion, even though I totally understand that there are certain codes to abide by while working with the "civilized people."
I feel very similarly to the bolded...

post #6 of 90
Thread Starter 
Thanks Demeter for your sensitive reply. I will try your suggestions for future outings I have.
post #7 of 90
Wow, that must have been really embarrassing! I'm sorry you went through that.

There are a lot of people who lose their appetite smelling "natural" body smells, so in a service position you may simply have to accept it. Yes, it's cultural, but that is simply the way it is here. You may be able to find a job where no one cares about your body smells. FWIW, I'm able to prevent my "body odor" from becoming noticeable to others without smelling artificial (which I can't stand either). I use Tom's of Maine sometimes, and I also like the Thai deodorant sticks. The Thai deodorant stick is simply a large block of minerals, get it a little wet and rub it on your freshly cleaned pits. Not sure how well it works with armpit hair, but it's worth a try. They also have a spray which is basically the same thing, but in water. That might work better with armpit hair. But while I'm at home, I generally don't wear anything.

Oh, and I noticed that wearing certain fabrics makes me smell funny. Anything fake makes me sweat more (even if I feel cold), and increase my BO. I wonder if it was the uniform?
post #8 of 90
Tom's of Maine makes me reek... if I need to use an actual deodorant, I found JASON brand to be much gentler on my pits and didn't make me stink. I didn't use it all that often, though, because I really feel that putting stuff in your armpits perpetuates the problem.
post #9 of 90
I totally agree with the synthetic fragrances thing. My mom and grandma use fabric softener which makes me gag...and its all over the sheets when I sleep at their house. Ewwww!!

For your situation the real issue may be that you are in a coffee shop, so anything outside the smell of coffee is going to be noticeable. They way your boss went about "educating" you to the situation is very lame, and I would chock it up to his being clueless. Don't quit over this, its his issue more than yours I think. That being said I think you are going to have to take steps to smell more like coffee IYKWIM. I'm not a fan of deodorant and most of even the natural ones out there make me smell even worse than I might otherwise, but there are a few that work for me.

Weleda sage deodorant is the best. Don't use it if you're breastfeeding though as sage oil is a antigalactigogue (did I spell that right?). My second fave is Weleda citrus. They both work for me without screwing with my natural underarm balance.

Hugs to you! What a crappy situation. You're right about Americans being unhealthily obscessed with cleanliness. I used get some real crap when I told people I only washed my hair once a week . Or that I actually don't enjoy showering. You would think I had blasphemed!
post #10 of 90
People do complain about "synthetic fragrances." My mom has awful asthma, and if she's in a place of business that has a lot of air freshner or scented candles, or employees with heavy perfume, she always complains and lets them know that people like her can't physically be around that.

At any rate, I'm sure that was humiliating and I'm sorry. But I agree that, rightly or wrongly, American society (and many other socieites) is not fond of "natural odor." But I wouldn't automatically discount the unpleasantness. I've known a few people who had really horrifying body odor, and normally regular old "natural odor" doesn't bother me. (I mean, two of these people stank so bad I literally would gag in their presence). Not saying that YOU smell that awful, just pointing out that some people really do have atrocious BO.

If you're in a service position, I guess you have to decide if you'd rather wear some kind of deodorant (you can make your own fragance free deodorant with coconut oil, baking soda, and cornstarch) while at work, or if you'd rather find a job where it's not an issue and you can go without.
post #11 of 90
I've been told I smelled of body odor at work. I still remember the burn of the embarassment on my cheeks. That's not what any women should have at her birth time - smelly body odor. It was my premenstrual time, and I had forgotten.
I just use an unscented anti-persperant now. I only use it every week or so and it works fine - admittedly, I'm not a very sweaty person under my arms. I usually sweat down my back, unless it's a day or two before my cycle.
Personally, I'm comfortable with the antipersperant (aluminum containing) technology. The unscented Sure isn't scent free (dammit) but it's close. I can't stand deodorant - the layering of smelly foo over smelly body bothers me. The crystals make me feel sealed off.
I guess I just wanted to say, "I feel ya" and also, don't rule out antipersperant.
post #12 of 90
Gosh, I'm sorry to hear of your experience!

I've just recently discovered that apple cider vinegar patted in my armpits while in the shower (and rinsed off) works really well! Doesn't stop you sweating, but because it makes the skin acidic it doesn't allow bacteria to multiply and therefore smell. Apparently, an alkaline environment (like after using soap to wash) will allow bacteria to grow. I also can't wear synthetic fabrics against my upper body as it stinks right away (that was even back when I wore antiperspirants).
post #13 of 90
I'm sorry you are dealing with this mama!

But my advice is to skip anything with patchouli in it. A lot of people think that just smells dirty and nasty. It is SO strong. A tiny bit is extremely noticeable. For most Americans, it is probably worse than un-natural fake scents and body odor.

Good luck, mama!
post #14 of 90
My post was probably blunter than it needed to be. I am sorry I hurt your feelings; I didn't mean to. I should have put more thought into my phrasing.
post #15 of 90
Odor is such a subjective thing -- what smells natural to you might smell really strong to someone else, many people don't like synthetic fragrances, many people don't like patchouli, etc. That more than one person noted your body odor that day tells me that maybe something else was going on. Do you have to wear a work shirt made out of synthetic fibers? Are you coming up on PMS week or in your cycle? Are you maybe coming down with something gastrointestinal, or a virus?

I've noticed that my odor changes a lot when I'm getting sick or when I'm getting my cycle. When I'm getting my cycle, it just gets stronger but isn't "bad," persay. When I'm getting sick, my body odor is just bad. But because it's me, I don't notice it as soon as other people might. I think this is true of most people. Your odor will change gradually, so your nose adjusts up to a certain point, but someone coming into your space for the first time will get hit with it all at once -- big difference!

I'd avoid strong-smelling cover-ups like patchouli, because a lot of people aren't fond of that scent, and it really doesn't mix with body odor (or coffee) very well. Something more neutral would probably work better, especially if you have to wear a synthetic fiber work shirt, since those hold odor so badly, and people tend to sweat a lot more when wearing something like that. There are deodorant brands that don't have a lot of crap in them, like Jason and Tom's of Maine. A deodorant crystal or Thai deodorant would be another good alternative, depending on your body chemistry. If you're really opposed to putting anything on your armpits, you may need to find a way to do a quick swipe with a wet washcloth every hour or so while at work.
post #16 of 90
Thread Starter 
Thanks Earthmama. I was wearing a synthetic shirt yesterday which could have added to my smell. That is probably what it was.

I am not trying to defend myself by saying that I don't stink, but I know for a fact that I do not smell *BAD* I think that becuase I have an odor period is what the problem was.

Nonetheless, I will try to temper my smell but not try to cover it up completly. I also will be quiting my job because of how embarressed I am and the fact that I feel hurt by my boss.

No customers complained, it was some employees. And even before this insident happend I was aware of one employee who was very rude to me (maybe because I smelled But I doubt it.)
post #17 of 90
Personally, I would rather smell a person than some awful synthetic smell. Really, as long as people wash regularly, I don't see much of a problem. I know this is not the cultural norm though. Patchouli...I might avoid that. It's maybe not synthetic but it can still cause reactions in people and it's not really to everyone's liking, especially near food.

I don't have much else to add to what the other posters said, other to chime in my support for no deodorant. Also, reading that it was other employees reminds me of a job I had once in a large retail store. I had just returned from a year in Central America, was experiencing a bit of reverse culture shock & didn't have much money to spend, but I dressed appropriately...black pants, toed shoes (after a year in sandals), etc and did my job well. I found out from a friend whose gf I worked with that some employees had said I would "fit in better" if I just got a different pair of shoes that were more like theirs. Yeah. Like I wanted to fit in with people like that.
post #18 of 90
I would quit unless I really needed the job, but also I find it hard to judge your own smell, I have been around people who really really smell bad and they are completely unaware of it, if you don't want to try deodorant that's ok but there are tons of other options to try. Personally Iwen t back with good ole secret as it seemed that the natural options made me smell even worst.
post #19 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Auroara Bobcat View Post
Thanks Earthmama. I was wearing a synthetic shirt yesterday which could have added to my smell. That is probably what it was.

I am not trying to defend myself by saying that I don't stink, but I know for a fact that I do not smell *BAD* I think that becuase I have an odor period is what the problem was.

Nonetheless, I will try to temper my smell but not try to cover it up completly. I also will be quiting my job because of how embarressed I am and the fact that I feel hurt by my boss.

No customers complained, it was some employees. And even before this insident happend I was aware of one employee who was very rude to me (maybe because I smelled But I doubt it.)
Are you sure it is worth quitting over? Yes, embarrassing. But jobs are difficult to find!

I'm sure your boss could have been nicer, but really, there just isn't an easy way to explain this to somebody. I'm sure Boss felt really awkward too, and wanted to help you.

I am very sensitive to smells. When I get my coffee, and people use their whole hand instead of just fingers, to put the lid on... I can totally taste and smell their soap/lotion. It totally ruins the coffee for me.

In your shoes, in this economy, I might take the precautions you mention and then give the boss/job one more chance.

Good luck with your choice. What a tough situation.
post #20 of 90
I'm not quite crunchy enough to get behind the "it's uncool of them to mind that someone has noticeable body scent" (even if it's not "bad" per se) bandwagon. If coworkers can smell someone, customers can, too. Most customers would probably much rather try to get a comfortable distance away from someone whose scent they didn't care for than complain about it. Coworkers don't have much choice, usually.
I doubt that anyone i've ever known who smelled unpleasant realized it-- otherwise, I imagine they'd have taken steps to change it.

You might try oxiclean on your synthetic shirts, as well as rubbing your detergent for that load of laundry right into the pits of those shirts before washing- unless you use powdered detergent.

Also, I find that a quick post-shower swipe of my armpits with rubbing alcohol (some people feel that vodka is more natural) to kill bacteria really keeps me smelling nice longer. I use deodorant afterward as well, but to each their own!

alsoSarah
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