The Perils of Personal Hygiene

The Perils of Personal Hygiene
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If you start to notice people starting to avoid you, perhaps it is time to invest in a bar of soap.

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I recently had a strange experience in a restaurant over lunch. While sitting at the counter, an older gentleman came in and sat down next to me. On the surface he looked pleasant, but suddenly I was overcome by the strong pungent scent of his body odor, something that smelled like a cross between an open sewer and a dead carcass on the Serengeti (I wondered if vultures were circling overhead). His hair was slicked back and he was shaved, but I don't think he had taken a bath in quite some time. I used to know guys who believed a little body odor was a "manly" thing that attracted the ladies. However, the only thing this guy at the counter attracted was flies. The smell was so overpowering that I had to move to a table on the other side of the restaurant, much to the bewilderment of the man I was escaping from.

I don't understand why people deliberately avoid personal hygiene. I know it seems rather insignificant, but it sure can be irritating to the other people you come in contact with. This is true for both men and women, but I think it is predominantly men who are the greatest offenders of personal hygiene, and not just older men, but younger men as well. I certainly hope this isn't a new fashion trend (I must have missed the memo). Actually there is no real excuse for poor personal hygiene. The last time I looked, a bar of soap was still pretty cheap. I never was a fan of unkempt hair either, particularly in the workplace, but that doesn't bother me half as much as a guy who has long hair growing out of his ears or nose. Actually, I think nose/ear hair is one of the Lord's favorite practical jokes he ever pulled on us.

Fingernails are also something to look for. I don't know what is more gross, excessively long nails, ragged nails from biting them, or just plain dirty. Then of course there are the people who constantly pick at themselves, be it their nose, ears, eyebrows, or seat, not to mention those who belch and fart. If you've got to do it, please do it in private. If I wanted a show like that, I would go down to see the monkeys at the zoo.

In terms of facial hair, I've noticed most men over 40 seem to be clean shaven while younger men have some form of scratch on their face, usually unkempt (another memo I must have missed). It's not that I am anti-beards, but if you are going to wear one, make sure it's manicured properly. I don't want to see what you had for lunch yesterday. Actually, I blame Hollywood for the current trend of fuzz on the face. Call me old-fashioned, but I don't want to work with someone who looks like a bum. If you are wearing three days worth of growth to prove your masculinity, forget it, it's not working.

Personal hygiene is an important part of our appearance which defines who we are to the people around us. Actually, it's a sign of respect for others and represents a form of discipline which some people abhor. There are those people who are very cognizant of their image and cultivate it accordingly, but there are also a lot of people who unknowingly operate in the dark. Then there are those who deliberately ignore the status quo in order to attract attention to themselves. You have to feel sorry for this last group as they use personal hygiene to differentiate themselves as opposed to their intellect.

Just as a tip though, if you start to notice people avoiding you or moving away from you to the other end of the restaurant, perhaps it is time to invest in a bar of soap.

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is a freelance writer and management consultant in the Tampa Bay are of Florida.

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