Author Topic: Is it rude to apologize for stinking?  (Read 3244 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

NyaChan

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4107
Re: Is it rude to apologize for stinking?
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2013, 09:07:37 AM »
Maybe this is too far off, but I tend to think of body odor in the same category as body sounds like stomach growling - yet if someone passes gas or their stomach growls, I always see people's heads turning around, chuckling, or even commenting on it.  I get really anxious about getting hungry or nervous in quiet situations like meetings or class because my stomach growls and the looks/comments embarrass me - is it rude for me to try to laugh it off by pre-empting the comments with a, "Sorry, I missed lunch?"

audrey1962

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4322
Re: Is it rude to apologize for stinking?
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2013, 09:19:03 AM »
I think you overshared and made your co-worker uncomfortable.

Eden

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 627
Re: Is it rude to apologize for stinking?
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2013, 09:50:32 AM »
Yeah the whole thing was a little awkward on both ends. I think it was ridiculous for her to have scooted away like that but I also think the OP made things even more awkward with the explanation. It wasn't rude, persay. Just uncomfortably personal.

LadyL

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2907
Re: Is it rude to apologize for stinking?
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2013, 09:57:57 AM »
I also think it's awkward to say something akin to "Oh, do I smell? Sorry!" because it presumes the person you're apologizing to noticed your odor and is judging you as smelly. It's likely to make them feel defensive. I agree that it's similar to saying "Sorry, I had Mexican for lunch!" after passing gas - TMI, and the polite fiction is that odors don't exist.

Better to say something neutral like "Sorry for invading your space, I'll step back a bit."

LadyL

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2907
Re: Is it rude to apologize for stinking?
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2013, 09:59:27 AM »
Maybe this is too far off, but I tend to think of body odor in the same category as body sounds like stomach growling - yet if someone passes gas or their stomach growls, I always see people's heads turning around, chuckling, or even commenting on it.  I get really anxious about getting hungry or nervous in quiet situations like meetings or class because my stomach growls and the looks/comments embarrass me - is it rude for me to try to laugh it off by pre-empting the comments with a, "Sorry, I missed lunch?"

Stomachs growling aren't seen as "gross" the way that odors are. I put it in a similar category as hiccups - unavoidable, somewhat funny. Fine to apologize for having hiccups or a growly stomach, TMI to apologize for gas or B.O.

chigrrl1

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 52
Re: Is it rude to apologize for stinking?
« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2013, 10:03:05 AM »
I personally would have laughed this one off with you, I had a similar situation once where I accidentally tooted while over-zealously sliding my chair over to a male coworkers desk.  It may have been TMI to say "Oh my god, I'm sorry I just tooted," but it had us in stitches.  I guess it depends on your audience. 

Yvaine

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9086
Re: Is it rude to apologize for stinking?
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2013, 10:27:33 AM »
Yeah the whole thing was a little awkward on both ends. I think it was ridiculous for her to have scooted away like that but I also think the OP made things even more awkward with the explanation. It wasn't rude, persay. Just uncomfortably personal.

I don't think it's rude to scoot away if someone is in your "bubble." We don't know if the OP was close enough to be in co-worker's personal space, but if she was, I think leaning away is a pretty normal and understandable reaction.

JenJay

  • I'm a nonconformist who doesn't conform to the prevailing standards of nonconformity.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6539
Re: Is it rude to apologize for stinking?
« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2013, 10:50:10 AM »
I don't think you were rude.  I think you approached it very nicely - and with some humor.

In a pinch, by the way, corn starch or baking soda will help some. :)

More than some for a lot of people!  :D

Deodorant has never worked for me, which was always very embarrassing since I am otherwise a really clean person. I'd have to shower every morning and sometimes again at night  :-[. A little over a year ago I read about baking soda and baby powder. I mixed up a 50/50 ratio and it worked better than store bought deodorants but I still felt self-conscious by the end of the day. Two parts baking soda to one part baby powder, though, is perfect!!

Eden

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 627
Re: Is it rude to apologize for stinking?
« Reply #23 on: January 17, 2013, 11:52:37 AM »
Yeah the whole thing was a little awkward on both ends. I think it was ridiculous for her to have scooted away like that but I also think the OP made things even more awkward with the explanation. It wasn't rude, persay. Just uncomfortably personal.

I don't think it's rude to scoot away if someone is in your "bubble." We don't know if the OP was close enough to be in co-worker's personal space, but if she was, I think leaning away is a pretty normal and understandable reaction.

Sorry I wasn't clear. I didn't mean it was weird to move at all, just what I gathered from the post that the person scrunched their face and scooted very quickly. There's no reason you can't create the space without drawing unnecessary attention and making the other person uncomfortable.

DottyG

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 18204
Re: Is it rude to apologize for stinking?
« Reply #24 on: January 17, 2013, 12:04:07 PM »
Quote
is it rude for me to try to laugh it off by pre-empting the comments with a, "Sorry, I missed lunch?"

I don't think so.  I think that would be perfectly fine to say.

And JenJay, that's really good info to know!  I'm going to store that away in my memory bank in case I need it!


Moray

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1869
  • My hovercraft is full of eels!
Re: Is it rude to apologize for stinking?
« Reply #25 on: January 17, 2013, 12:16:55 PM »
Well, you weren't rude for apologizing, but it was definitely TMI.

TMI -- good point, but how would one apologize without divulging TMI?



I never thought that she pushed back because I was invading her space. Interesting.



Ooh or maybe it was because you told her that SHE could keep her distance and she was irritated that you, the person who was having the issue, weren't taking the responsibility for keeping YOUR distance from her?

Ooh, another good point! I can see how putting the onus on her was the wrong tack to take.  Trust me, once I realized it might be an issue, I did keep my distance from other co-workers.


(I'll have to remember the baking soda if it happens again. Thanks!)

Re: the bolded. I think even acknowledging your alleged stinkiness, let alone volunteering that they can expect stinkiness if they haven't experienced it already is TMI. In the future, what you should do is try to give yourself a larger "bubble" of personal space and leave it at that.
Utah

Zilla

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6506
    • Cooking
Re: Is it rude to apologize for stinking?
« Reply #26 on: January 17, 2013, 12:46:13 PM »
I think you overshared and made your co-worker uncomfortable.
Agreed and if I was the CW, I would have been mortified.  Absolutely mortified if someone apologized for stinking and why.. (ETA To clarify for DottyG) I wouldn't have grimaced but I would have leaned back as I don't like people close to me.  Especially if you didn't say excuse me or give me a heads up you were leaning in.  And if you stank, I would have never reacted to the scent, just ignored it. 
« Last Edit: January 17, 2013, 01:47:47 PM by Zilla »

MommyPenguin

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4631
    • My blog!
Re: Is it rude to apologize for stinking?
« Reply #27 on: January 17, 2013, 01:34:13 PM »
I remember working at the library, where we had a lot of people who were homeless (and thus couldn't wash regularly) or people who just didn't have good hygiene.  One patron in particular had a home, but smelled *so* bad.  It was difficult not to gag when he got close to you, it was that bad (to the modern nose... he might have been perfectly within social norms of other places/times).  And yet... making a face, scooting away, all of those things, just seem really really rude to me.  We would never have done such a thing.  We sat next to him as close as was reasonable while helping him with the computer or to find a book, etc.  So I see moving away due to a smell as being really obvious and somewhat rude.  Because of that, I'd *like* to give her the benefit of the doubt that maybe she was moving away just to have some space or to give you more room to see the screen, and she felt really uncomfortable and didn't know how to respond when you brought up the smell (which she may have noticed but been ignoring, or may not have noticed until you brought it up).  Her response was really off, but maybe it was a foot in mouth moment for her.

DottyG

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 18204
Re: Is it rude to apologize for stinking?
« Reply #28 on: January 17, 2013, 01:37:00 PM »
I'm not discounting those of you who say that someone's leaning over would bother you - it may actually bother you to that extent, and that's a personal thing that no one else can tell you is right or wrong.

But I wouldn't be "mortified" if someone leaned over while showing me something on the computer.  Heck, it happens all the time to me.  Someone comes by and wants to show me something and leans over to show me on the screen.  And I'm sure I've done the same thing.  I don't pull back from them like it sounds like this woman did - and they haven't done that to me.  I love my personal space as much as the next person.  But to be mortified by it seems extreme in just my own experience.

Victim Of Fate

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 118
Re: Is it rude to apologize for stinking?
« Reply #29 on: January 17, 2013, 01:46:31 PM »
It seems to me that it wasn't the TMI that she took offense with, but the implication the co-worker had essentially made a rude comment about the OP by shifting away. If that was not her reason for moving (or even if it was), I can see why she'd feel affronted by the suggestion that she'd essentially made that reason clear.