Me Thinks

Friday, December 07, 2007


During my summer holidays after the 12th exams, a friend asked me what my favorite deodorant was. At an age, where I didn't know the difference between a deo, cologne and perfume, I said with brimming pride in my voice that I didn't use any "such" products. She had an imported Fa then and like most people I thought these products were for people that didn't take a bath regularly.

One of the things I'd credit NCC with, it taught early on in life to people like me the importance of such products. We all Indians know we sweat a lot but still assume we don't stink. BO (body dour) can be very very repulsive and people laugh at us from behind. We are not only not aware of it but we also feel proud of the fact that we live an "organic" life.

All this build-up obviously leads to a story or a predicament I have to deal with. A girl I am friends with is someone I met recently. I look out for her. She is smart and serious about what she wants to do. Landed in this country a few months ago and takes me way too seriously. Her BO makes people around make faces or gestures that are not very nice. How does one tell a person that one has BO without offending them? There is no way. I feel bad not telling her but I can't tell her that she has BO. I can't even tell if she were my close friend and I am guessing even if she were my sister. It's very offensive and embarrassing to the person. What does one do in such a situation?


Blogger Sudhakar said...

What does one do in such a situation?
Tell them and do not feel awkward."Empa conjam Deodarant pottukka vedi thane.Eppadi kashta pada vendame ne,enda sweatlayum ,smellayum?" appa konjam purimnu ninaikirem.Enna rigtha.

9:02 AM  
Blogger ILA(a)இளா said...


10:07 AM  
Blogger Ajay said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:45 AM  
Blogger Ajay said...

Three options:
1. Tell her in a humorous way and then kind of reinforce it with a meaningful face.
2. Gift her a perfume (considered rude sometimes)
3. Google it.

11:47 AM  
Blogger Arun Sundar said...

You can tell them, in a friendly tone, sporting a might be embrassing for a moment, but it has to be taken in the right sense...

Or try Vivek's style in Run movie - "maaa...appu gabbu thaanga mudiyala ma!"

11:49 AM  
Blogger anantha said...

Happy Holidays nu solli, give her a Bath & Body Works gift card for $11.

Or buy something and tell her you got a great buy 2 get 1 free deal for it. :D

They probably have good deals at B&BW during this season anyways, no?

11:55 AM  
Blogger Me said...

...inga irukara makkal irukaangalay avanga pal ley thekamaatanga...vai naarum...ana deo mattum correctaa daily potutu vandhutu....nambla lam kindal pannuvanga...

...and like most people I thought these products were for people that didn't take a bath regularly....inga vandhu dhan deo daily use pannanom nu therinjikiten...

...another worstu thing is...smelling like saapadu...en kooda oru payan padichan...avan enna samachan nu...avan pathu adi dhoorathula vara modhu theriyum...

...some ppl have yenna jiddu naatham...closetaa mudi vechitu cook pannungada nu kathalam pol irukkum...

11:57 AM  
Blogger APAM NAPAT said...

ask her to read your blog or gift her a nice brand for the holidays.
Use humour. She will get the message if she is smart.

2:35 PM  
Blogger MLC said...

put yrslf in her pl .. make up a story abt how once upon a time u had the BO and thn a good friend of yrs advisd u to use dove sticks (or whatever!) and thn tell her she cud try it whenever she thnks she has tt problm too. so now she wl nt think as if she was the ONLY one to hv had that problm!
let us knw how u actually solvd it:-)

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couple similar examples from me:
1) I work with somebody who constantly interrupts when others are talking. Because of business dynamics, it is almost impossible for me to tell him this.
2) I have a friend who has his mouth open when chewing, so he makes that irritating chomping noise. He's not that close a friend, so I feel a bit awkward bringing it up.

I have been thinking about starting a website to address issues like this. I thought of this years back and haven't done anything about it, so chances are I'll never actually do it.

Without further ado, here is my simple idea. Start a website (maybe where people can just enter the recipient's email, and send them an anonymous tip.

What do you think of that idea, Deepa? Obviously, it won't work always. If I get an email that I snore too much, I'll know where that came from :) But I think it would solve your problem, and mine.


3:07 AM  
Blogger Premalatha said...

Talk about your deodorant often. Talk about why it is nice to have deodorant. Talk about how we don't use it in India (the smell gets lost in so many other smells :-) ) but it is nice to have such things. just generally bring up the topic now and then. Never address her directly.

2:41 AM  
Blogger Anusha Parthasarathy said...

Why dont you gift her a perfume (you can say its a new year gift for her)?

11:21 PM  
Blogger I said...

start ignoring her.

8:02 AM  
Blogger APAM NAPAT said...

Run two miles and go close to her. Ask her "can I borrow your deo spray. I left mine at home".
She will buy a deo. you will lose fat. Win - win

9:09 PM  
Blogger Oracle said...

It is rude to tell her that. gifting her a deo is even more rude.

The world could use a little less of "well-meaning" friends

If you are desperate to tell her, give her your blog link and she will stop coming close to you. ;)

1:37 AM  
Blogger Me said...

deepa sonnaya illaya?

3:58 PM  
Blogger Deepa said...

Hello All,

Thank you for all the "well-meaning" suggestions. I am not very close to her, so can't spend money buying her a gift. Even if I get a deal, I'll sound super Kiss A**-ish. Running for 2 miles before going to school is a bad idea though. I can't talk to her about deos and stuff because...I dont want her to ignore me and talk to others like "She is so strange. Can you believe it, she was talking to me about deo and perfume? One would think she'd have more other topics apart from parenthood and perfumes".:-)
So I am still waiting.
But Anon, thanks for the website idea. I'll gladly contribute there.

5:08 PM  
Blogger APAM NAPAT said...

well then learn to live with it.

11:50 AM  
Blogger dharmabum said...

i still don't know the difference between deo perfume and what was the other one? :P i do use one or the other though - for fear of a hurl of abuses and complaints from my mother!

well, tell her. please. u're not doing justice by not telling her. i don't think its delicate - its a very normal human thing, only some of us are not aware. sometimes - i've resorted to this quite a few times - i feel i am able to convey a lot better, when i write to the person rather than talk

8:40 AM  
Blogger Compassion Unlimitted said...

First time here..I agree with Anusha..It happened in my own office years back..i gave the girl nice set of perfume for an occasion and it did work..once someone is used to it .then its a life long affair.I mean the perfume !

2:54 AM  
Anonymous Chandru said...


motta kadudhasi is the only way out.

Its also cost effective

try & let me know the result

6:19 AM  
Blogger ashok said...

hmm...same goes for people with BB ! ( bad breath)

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deepa - you opened my eyes! I am still of the group that believes in organic living; when my entire family complained to me of my BO I thought they were joking!! LOL.
Just as I gained gyan from your blog, you could probably recite this episode and your dilemma to her, as though the person concerned was someone else. That might lead her to introspect. Eppadi idea?


Probably that's what your doing ;-)

4:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just curious if you solved this. As someone with BO I know how hard it is when someone else points it out to me. Yet I am eternally grateful to the person who did. It also depends on the personal dynamics between you two.

I have had scented candles placed under my desk. I have had my supervisor talk to me about it. It is certainly very embarrassing but I have eventually learnt to find ways to combat it

4:08 PM  
Blogger iamyuva said...

It's not easy to approach someone about his or her chassis's emissions.

yes you can talk when no one else is around. prefix with some qualifiers: "if you dont mind..It's hard to say this..." and "It's not my intent to insult you, but..." and/or, you might admit that everyone (you included) smells, has bad breath, etc. from time to time, and that you wish we would all be more honest with each other in the name of looking out for each another .and indirect way- email forwards, talking about 3rd person's BO with your friend, gift her a deodorant(after coming back from trip aboard,etc..)

onething a learn experience my multi-cultural travel & living in different country experience is: some cultures don't put as much emphasis as others on smelling means you and your friend expectations of what smells acceptable may fundamentally differ. after all, body odor, wherever it comes from, is usually natural -- it's all of the products that keep it out of others' noses that reek of artificiality.

hope i make sense.

11:41 AM  

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