Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: jpcher on April 09, 2013, 06:53:55 PM

Title: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: jpcher on April 09, 2013, 06:53:55 PM
One of the most nauseating aromas, to me, is the smell of a banana. Especially very ripe bananas. Green bananas and newly turn-yellow fresh? I can tolerate, and do. The aroma isn't sooo strong when the bananas are young. I buy bananas for the DDs all the time because they love them. But once the bananas ripen beyond a certain stage (still edible) the smell becomes stronger and just turns my stomach off.

Three situations. I'm wondering if I'm being rude?

1. When I walk into my kitchen and smell a banana I ask "Are you going to eat these? If so, they're in the garage." DDs know my aversion, so I don't think I'm rude in this situation.

2. Boss, CW & I had a short phone meeting where CW & I went to Boss' office so we could take the call together. Boss was eating a banana. The smell was overwhelming. I apologized "I'm sorry. If you don't mind, I can hear the conversation from here." I stood by the door for the 5-minute meeting with my head turned to the hallway and fresh air. I did make a comment or two so Boss knew that I was listening, but still . . . Yeah, probably really rude, right? How would you deal with this situation?

3. Boss came to my cube today, eating a banana. I was showing her certain things on my computer, so I put my elbow on my desk and covered my nose with a few fingers, kinda like in the "I'm thinking" pose. I was trying to be discreet. I felt that this was not rude, possibly handled correctly? Boss didn't seem to notice anything amiss.



Any suggestions as to how to handle unappealing smells? Especially with Boss who seems to have a fondness of bananas?
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: Shoo on April 09, 2013, 06:57:17 PM
I think you need to tell your boss about your aversion.  I bet she would be glad to know about it so she can stop eating them around you.  She probably doesn't want to make you nauseous.  Other than that, I think you're doing just about all you can do.
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: NyaChan on April 09, 2013, 06:57:44 PM
I treat things like that as a funny joke that we can share - i.e.  "I know it is so weird,  ;D but I actually can't stand the smell of bananas - it's a great way to get rid of me if you ever need to lol"
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: reflection5 on April 09, 2013, 07:00:59 PM
Since Boss is so fond of bananas, it's past time to say "Sorry, but the smell of bananas bothers me.  No offense."  This would be a lot easier than the actions you're taken - which might be interpreted as body odor, etc.

(I can't stand the smell of some foods (bleu cheese for one) and I've mentioned it to people. and scooted away or whatever.)
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: rose red on April 09, 2013, 07:02:24 PM
I think it's better and more polite to come right out and say you have a problem with the smell of bananas than standing far away or covering your nose.  No matter how discreet, someone someday will catch on and think they stink.
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: WillyNilly on April 09, 2013, 07:04:41 PM
I think in situations 1 & 3 you are totally fine. #2...? You should have at least explained the issue! I don't get it, because to me banana is one of the most delicious smells, but I do understand its a strong and distinctive smell - anyone who likes bananas knows they have a smell. Just tell your boss, I'm sure she'll think you are silly (because banana! yum!) but at the same time I doubt she'll take it personally or really care.
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: Yvaine on April 09, 2013, 07:11:33 PM
I think it's better and more polite to come right out and say you have a problem with the smell of bananas than standing far away or covering your nose.  No matter how discreet, someone someday will catch on and think they stink.

Yup. Better than letting the boss think she has BO or something.
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: JenJay on April 09, 2013, 07:31:06 PM
Is #1 a joke and you're actually telling the girls to either come eat the bananas right now or they're going in the trash? I think that's fine. If you actually put them in the trash and then expect your kids to remove them from the trash and eat them then yes, I think that's rude.

Okay, my mistake. Op said garage and I think that's completely fair.  :P

I don't think the work situations are rude but, as others suggested, I'd explain. Something like "FYI, I have an aversion to bananas and just smelling them is enough to nauseate me so I'll stand over here."
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: SouthernBelle on April 09, 2013, 07:38:43 PM
Is #1 a joke and you're actually telling the girls to either come eat the bananas right now or they're going in the trash? I think that's fine. If you actually put them in the trash and then expect your kids to remove them from the trash and eat them then yes, I think that's rude.


She said garage, not garbage.
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: turtleIScream on April 09, 2013, 07:41:11 PM
Is #1 a joke and you're actually telling the girls to either come eat the bananas right now or they're going in the trash? I think that's fine. If you actually put them in the trash and then expect your kids to remove them from the trash and eat them then yes, I think that's rude.

I don't think the work situations are rude but, as others suggested, I'd explain. Something like "FYI, I have an aversion to bananas and just smelling them is enough to nauseate me so I'll stand over here."

I think OP said she makes her daughters eat the bananas out in the garage, where she can't smell them.
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: JenJay on April 09, 2013, 08:14:46 PM
Is #1 a joke and you're actually telling the girls to either come eat the bananas right now or they're going in the trash? I think that's fine. If you actually put them in the trash and then expect your kids to remove them from the trash and eat them then yes, I think that's rude.


She said garage, not garbage.

Ohhhh, lol, that makes more sense. I could see myself yelling "If you want your *gross thing* it'll be in the garbage!" as a joke so that's where my brain went. Thanks for correcting me!  :)
I've edited my post.
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: Surianne on April 09, 2013, 08:19:49 PM
I hate the smell of bananas too!  Good to hear it's not just me.

I think in a work situation, where eating in meetings is the norm*, you have to suck it up, or it could look badly on you. 

My trick is to carry a lip chapstick that's mint-flavoured with me.  If I rub mint right on my nostrils and my septum, it blocks most other smells.  (I'm very sensitive to perfume, so this helps me pretend it's not there.)  Vick's body rub or something similar works too.  I learned this from The Silence of the Lambs -- in one of the autopsy scenes, the characters put it under their noses to mask the smell of the corpse.  It really works!   And if you do it subtly, no one knows.

*I wish it weren't; I hate smelling some of the things my coworkers eat, particularly my boss, but she gets to dictate the norms for meetings, unfortunately.
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: TootsNYC on April 09, 2013, 09:08:32 PM
Why don't you just say, "I'm sorry--the smell of ripe bananas bothers me. Can you come back when you're done?"

It's not rude to say that something is bothering you--and this isn't all THAT different from someone accidentally banging you repeatedly w/ their tote bag or something.

They're not doing it deliberately; there isn't any value judgment either way.

It's just something that bothers *YOU*, and you *are* entitled to ask people to take the smell away from you, or you're entitled to excuse yourself, or to make accommodations. And you should explain it.

Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: *inviteseller on April 09, 2013, 09:19:33 PM
I think everyone has that one smell they just.cannot.stand.  I am with the poster about blue cheese..it makes me gag.  Of course I seem to be related to or friends with the blue cheese lovers society !  When I go out to eat with my family, I cannot sit by my dad or sister because it will ruin the whole experience for me to smell that (altho, bless my sister, she ia atarting to refrain in front of me).  I would tell your boss that it's not her, it's you but the smell of bananas are too much for you.  If you have a good relationship, she will understand, if not keep a small bottle of cologne on you to dab on your wrist and keep your hand under your chin (pensive pose).  Surprisingly, it works (learned when I worked with an aromatically offensive woman).
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: MariaE on April 10, 2013, 03:36:31 AM
I haaaaaate the smell of bananas as well. It literally smells "off" to me. I've often found myself thinking (though fortunately not saying) "Oh no, something smells rotten in here!" and then discovered somebody nearby was either holding or eating a banana. Can't stand the taste either, which unfortunately has ruined a lot of smoothies for me :( My brain just won't allow me to eat something that my senses are telling me has gone bad.

I've had to ask coworkers not to dump their banana peels in the trashcan in the office we share. Otherwise I have to empty it right away before I can focus on getting back to work. Fortunately they've been really kind about doing that :)
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: TomatoBunny on April 10, 2013, 07:26:35 AM
Are we really talking about bananas?

Sorry for the slight derailment(?), but I'm seriously befuddled to learn this about bananas! I totally understand an aversion to the taste or texture of them, but I never really thought they had much of a smell. I'll admit that very overripe bananas have a slight smell... but only near my face and not much further away than that. Are bananas really that fragrant and I just can't tell??
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: bopper on April 10, 2013, 07:50:49 AM
I loooathe bananas.  And they do have a smell.  I will just tell people "You have to throw the peels out somewhere else" or "Sorry, I am not a banana fan" or "Would you mind throwing out the peels now? "  or "Sorry, I loathe bananas so I will come back when you are done."
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: Thipu1 on April 10, 2013, 08:04:17 AM
I have a friend who cannot abide the smell of bananas. It makes her physically ill. She also made no bones about coming right out and saying so.  To my knowledge, nobody ever considered her rude for that. 
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: Coralreef on April 10, 2013, 08:08:41 AM
I'll vote with telling your boss and coworkers that the smell of bananas is hard on you.  Maybe bring it in conversation with a "What is your least favorite smell?" and have others talk about what they despise. 

Food aversions are easier to talk about than BO or bad breath, perhaps because the "problem" is myself, not others.

PS : I don't like bananas either.
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: Knitterly on April 10, 2013, 08:14:42 AM
Bananas are not an uncommon allergen and it is very common for one to find the smell of an allergen to be absolutely nauseating.  OP, if you haven't, you may want to get tested.  I know 3 people with this allergy, all of them found out because the smell of bananas is nauseating to them - for two of them, the allergy is anaphylactic (the third person 'just' gets hives).

In any case, even if you aren't allergic, there is nothing rude or wrong about telling someone politely that the smell of something is making you physically ill.  Your boss will probably appreciate knowing, since that knowledge will help him help you do your job a little better (it will be easier for you to concentrate on what your boss is saying if you're not focusing on the gross banana smell).
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: Sharnita on April 10, 2013, 08:16:02 AM
I think it depends how it is stated. If it is "!Bananas are disgusting - they smell foul!" I do think tjat is rude. If it is "I have a sensitivity to bananas, even smelling them makes me ill. Could you throw the peel out somewhere else?" I think the.same.concern has been presented in a polite.and reasonable manner. I also think it will get more cooperation because it doesn't leave the listener feeling defensive.
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: Thipu1 on April 10, 2013, 08:51:42 AM
How about other smells that don't indicate allergens but have unfortunate associations.

When I lived alone, the tenants in the building where I lived never had to worry about roaches.  Every other month, the Landlord sent around an exterminator to spray the baseboards. 

The problem is that the preparation he used smells almost exactly like 'White Diamonds' perfume.  As a result, I can't abide that odor and, for several years, we had a volunteer who must have bathed in the stuff.  The scent was noticeable for hours after she left the library.   
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: Sara Crewe on April 10, 2013, 09:45:40 AM
If your aversion is such that you are having meetings with your boss where you stand by the door not looking at him/her then I think you need to convey the information immediately.

If one of my subordinates acted like this, I would think them extremely rude and it would definitely have a permanent impact on my opinion of them.  If it turned out they were having some sort of allergic reation or even had a phobia, I would feel completely differently.

I know one of the parties to the meeting was on the phone, but I have always found the usual behaviour in that situation is to treat it like a face to face meeting with the person in your physical presence.
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: rose red on April 10, 2013, 09:58:15 AM
Are we really talking about bananas?

Sorry for the slight derailment(?), but I'm seriously befuddled to learn this about bananas! I totally understand an aversion to the taste or texture of them, but I never really thought they had much of a smell. I'll admit that very overripe bananas have a slight smell... but only near my face and not much further away than that. Are bananas really that fragrant and I just can't tell??

I agree it only has a light scent unless it's really ripe.  I like the smell and taste of bananas so I'm surprised how many people are disgusted by them too.  I wonder if it's one of those weird things like cilantro, where your tongue/body chemistry either like it (or at least not bothered) or it taste like soap.
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: Cami on April 10, 2013, 10:04:53 AM
Are you allergic to ragweed or similar plants?

When bananas get ripe, they release a chemical similar to ragweed. Often those with ragweed allergies find that RIPE bananas not only can cause them to have an allergic reaction, but also that RIPE bananas smell noxious to them.
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: MariaE on April 10, 2013, 10:15:57 AM
Are we really talking about bananas?

Sorry for the slight derailment(?), but I'm seriously befuddled to learn this about bananas! I totally understand an aversion to the taste or texture of them, but I never really thought they had much of a smell. I'll admit that very overripe bananas have a slight smell... but only near my face and not much further away than that. Are bananas really that fragrant and I just can't tell??

I agree it only has a light scent unless it's really ripe.  I like the smell and taste of bananas so I'm surprised how many people are disgusted by them too.  I wonder if it's one of those weird things like cilantro, where your tongue/body chemistry either like it (or at least not bothered) or it taste like soap.

Could be, but the weird think is that I liked (or at least didn't dislike) bananas until I was about 10.
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: Outdoor Girl on April 10, 2013, 10:51:12 AM
Are we really talking about bananas?

Sorry for the slight derailment(?), but I'm seriously befuddled to learn this about bananas! I totally understand an aversion to the taste or texture of them, but I never really thought they had much of a smell. I'll admit that very overripe bananas have a slight smell... but only near my face and not much further away than that. Are bananas really that fragrant and I just can't tell??

I agree it only has a light scent unless it's really ripe.  I like the smell and taste of bananas so I'm surprised how many people are disgusted by them too.  I wonder if it's one of those weird things like cilantro, where your tongue/body chemistry either like it (or at least not bothered) or it taste like soap.

I like bananas; I eat them all the time at varying stages of ripeness.  If they get too ripe, I'll let them get really over ripe then use them for banana bread.  But the riper they get, the more they stink.  When it gets to the point I can't stand the stink anymore, I know they are ripe enough to make good banana bread.   ;D
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: veryfluffy on April 10, 2013, 01:02:04 PM
How reassuring to discover how many other people find the smell of bananas revolting! I cannot be in the same room with a peeled, ripe banana. I buy bananas for DH, but he has to eat them outside.

I used to work in an office where most people brought in snacks to eat at their desks. I basically asked that if someone had to eat a banana, that they could warn me and I would leave the office for five minutes if necessary, but they had to then either take the peel out to the bin outside the building, or put it in a sealed plastic bag in their own bin. I was the manager, so it seemed the best compromise I could come up with.
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: ladyknight1 on April 10, 2013, 01:30:31 PM
I only get an odor from bananas after having the peel in the garbage for 6 hours, then it smells like paint to me.
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: Mikayla on April 10, 2013, 01:56:07 PM
Not much in the way of advice, but my dad had such a strong aversion to bananas that we couldn't even eat banana popsicles or muffins in the house.  And that included the garage.  We had to be outside somewhere and downwind!  Once he even smelled the banana flavored laffy taffy I had in my purse. 

I'm beginning to see he wasn't as strange as I thought.

Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: Margo on April 10, 2013, 02:39:56 PM
I also dislike the smell of ripe/overripe banana (I can, and do, eat them if they are slightly under-ripe)

I work in two different offices and on days I'm not in office A, a colleague uses my office. She is very fond of bananas and eats one most days. I explained the situation and asked her if she would please but the skins into the kitchen bin rather than the one in our room. (our bins are not emptied every days)

In your case, I's simply explain to your boss - for most people, delaying 3-10 before eating something (or delaying a meeting by 5 minutes to eat first) would not be an issue.

If she is not willing to compromise then the suggestion to keep a strongly scented lip salve, or something such as Vicks or Olbas Oil so you can mask the scent is a good one.
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: Sophia on April 10, 2013, 02:50:24 PM
You would hate my workplace.  A couple of months ago they started to get weekly fruit deliveries for the employees.  Bananas are very popular.  We only have about 30 people in the office, and the day it reaches that perfect ripeness I've seen 20 bananas disappear in a day.
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: jpcher on April 10, 2013, 05:08:02 PM
Are we really talking about bananas?

Yup, really talking about bananas. ;)



Bananas are not an uncommon allergen and it is very common for one to find the smell of an allergen to be absolutely nauseating.  OP, if you haven't, you may want to get tested.  I know 3 people with this allergy, all of them found out because the smell of bananas is nauseating to them - for two of them, the allergy is anaphylactic (the third person 'just' gets hives).

Wow, I never realized that just the smell alone could cause an allergic reaction. I've never had a reaction except for slight nausea. (Maybe that's because I run away before any reaction can set in  ;))


Are you allergic to ragweed or similar plants?

When bananas get ripe, they release a chemical similar to ragweed. Often those with ragweed allergies find that RIPE bananas not only can cause them to have an allergic reaction, but also that RIPE bananas smell noxious to them.

Another interesting fact. ;D . . . no, I'm not allergic to ragweed.



The next time I see Boss eating a banana I will politely mention my aversion. I can definitely see that trying to put up with the smell the way I have been might come across in the wrong way (possible BO or non-interest in the conversation.)

Thanks for setting me straight.


Oh, and to those mention lip balm or somesuch thing to cover the smell, I'll try that, if she refuses to stop eating bananas around me.
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: Just Lori on April 10, 2013, 07:27:36 PM
First of all, I really expected this to be a question about someone who ate too many beans the night before.

I agree with all the PP who say you should just be upfront about it.  Own it as your problem, and don't expect anyone to quit eating bananas.  Just ask them to be understanding when you move away from the scent.

FWIW, I have an equal reaction to seafood, especially shrimp.  If someone is frying shrimp, I have to go somewhere else.  I figure my body is trying to warn me away from seafood for some reason.  I do not, however, have an aversion to chocolate.  Obviously my body welcomes good chocolate, and I should listen to my body.
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: pinkyblue on April 10, 2013, 10:16:48 PM
How reassuring to discover how many other people find the smell of bananas revolting!

Add me to this list! I thought I was the only one.  I can't stand even the least bit of banana-related smell - I find it  overwhelming and nauseating, and nothing I've employed by way of countermeasures makes any dfference.  My co-workers have been wonderfully understanding in terms of taking their banana remains to the kitchen bin rather than just dumping them in their cubicles' bins where they smell up the place all day and into the next (at least, for me - it seems to linger).  They've even made a joke out of it, which is cool.  :)   

I'm intrigued by a previous post (sorry, forget which one) that mentioned not having this sensitivity until about age 10 or so.  I'm told I had no problem with bananas until I was about 8 or 9, at which time I suddenly and definitively could not stand any contact with them, let alone eating them.  I'd really like to know the reason behind such a sudden and major shift like that. 

I agree that it would be best to mention the sensitivity/aversion openly and thus avoid any misinterpretation that might come about due to being more oblique/subtle.   
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: leaf_eater on April 10, 2013, 11:30:29 PM
I loooathe bananas. 

I see what you did there. :) One of my favorite POTA lines.
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: LadyDyani on April 11, 2013, 12:20:45 PM
Oranges.  When I was about 10, I spent an eight hour car ride with my mom and stepdad in the front seat, and my sister next to me. It was a hot and rainy July, which means extreme humidity and windows rolled up. My mom and stepdad were chain smokers. Sis ate two or three oranges over the eight hour ride, but since we drove straight through, the rinds were in a bag, right there next to me.  There was no getting away from the smell.  The only time I got out of the car over the eight hours was when they pulled over for me to be sick.

To this day I can't stand the smell.  No orange cleaners, no orange juice, nothing.  My DD loves oranges, so she peels them, takes the rinds out to the dumpster, then uses lemon cleaner on the counter.  DD loves her momma.  :-)  Hubby uses this orange scented hand cleaner when he works on cars, he keeps it in the garage, and he washes the rags so I don't have to deal with it.  He loves me too.  :-)
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: sunnygirl on April 12, 2013, 08:15:21 AM
Ever since I was born I've had a problem with the smell of cucumber - when I was a kid it genuinely made me throw up; now I can sort of handle it but if I get a proper whiff it makes me gag. My friends and family know about it and are fine with accommodating it. With other people, I either try to discreetly move away, or just very politely say, "I'm sorry but I have this unusual problem..." People are understanding, I feel, if it's presented in the right way.

I agree than bananas have a strong smell (to me).

Incidentally, a fun fact I learned in my undergrad degree - bell peppers have a certain compound (phenylthiocarbamide) which is incredibly bitter smelling and tasting. Green peppers have the most and red the least. But the ability to smell/taste this compound is genetic - you either have the gene to be able to identify it, or you don't. (Similar to the famous 'bitter almond' smell of cyanide - the ability to smell it is a recessive genetic trait, so unlike bell peppers the majority of people actually can't smell it.) So that's why a lot of people really can't stand green peppers, and think they taste/smell really strong, while a lot of other people love them think they don't have much of a smell/taste. I can't even walk past loose green peppers in the supermarket.

Sorry if that's too off-topic or if you already knew that!
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: Cami on April 12, 2013, 08:21:19 AM
Ever since I was born I've had a problem with the smell of cucumber - when I was a kid it genuinely made me throw up; now I can sort of handle it but if I get a proper whiff it makes me gag. My friends and family know about it and are fine with accommodating it. With other people, I either try to discreetly move away, or just very politely say, "I'm sorry but I have this unusual problem..." People are understanding, I feel, if it's presented in the right way.

I agree than bananas have a strong smell (to me).

Incidentally, a fun fact I learned in my undergrad degree - bell peppers have a certain compound (phenylthiocarbamide) which is incredibly bitter smelling and tasting. Green peppers have the most and red the least. But the ability to smell/taste this compound is genetic - you either have the gene to be able to identify it, or you don't. (Similar to the famous 'bitter almond' smell of cyanide - the ability to smell it is a recessive genetic trait, so unlike bell peppers the majority of people actually can't smell it.) So that's why a lot of people really can't stand green peppers, and think they taste/smell really strong, while a lot of other people love them think they don't have much of a smell/taste. I can't even walk past loose green peppers in the supermarket.

Sorry if that's too off-topic or if you already knew that!
Thanks for that info! Just yesterday I was having a conversation with people about peppers and how some of us like red, but not green peppers.
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: camlan on April 12, 2013, 09:04:19 AM
I love bananas and eat one almost every day. But even I think the banana peel gets a bit smelly after the banana is gone. That's why one of the reasons I don't consider them an office-friendly food, because the smell is sort of cloying and it lingers. (The other is that they get so bruised in a lunch bag.)

So, yeah, just tell your boss that the smell really bothers you and ask nicely if he could not eat them around you.
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: Thipu1 on April 12, 2013, 09:33:11 AM
There can also be problems with cilantro. 

I like it in small doses but, in some dim sum dishes, the smell immediately jumps from 'tasty' to 'soap'.  It turns me right off. 
Title: Re: Unappealing smells . . . not sure if I handled this correctly.
Post by: MariaE on April 12, 2013, 09:36:45 AM
I'm intrigued by a previous post (sorry, forget which one) that mentioned not having this sensitivity until about age 10 or so.  I'm told I had no problem with bananas until I was about 8 or 9, at which time I suddenly and definitively could not stand any contact with them, let alone eating them.  I'd really like to know the reason behind such a sudden and major shift like that. 

That was me :) I wonder if it may have been a hormone thing. I entered puberty quite early and if my memory serves me right it would coincide with that.