Etiquette: You don't have to put up with body odor

For the News-DemocratSeptember 2, 2013 

Q. I recently met a really nice man, quite the gentleman and very considerate. He has a great sense of humor, too. We've gone to a movie or two and out to dinner and had a good time. The only problem is I don't think he uses deodorant. He wears a nice smelling cologne but sometimes I can smell a little BO. This continued hot weather is not going to help the problem.

Should I say something to him? If so, what? Maybe he just didn't have time to shower after work, before he picked me up for our date.

A. Personal hygiene is a critical issue which should be of the utmost importance to everyone. Cologne and perfume are never solutions to poor hygiene. This man may be very nice, but whether it is some kind of health issue or poor hygiene, you either have to address the issue with him or simply stop seeing him.

The current high temperatures we are experiencing provide the perfect timing and rationale for you to bring up the subject. Whether during a phone con- versation, or in person, you could say this: "With this terrible heat, I've really been perspiring a lot more -- just getting in and out of car to go to work or the grocery store. I've had to take more than one shower a day and switch to a stronger deodorant to make sure I don't have body odor. Have you had the same problem?"

If he says no, you will have to be prepared to say: "Oh, I think maybe you have." If he continues to deny he has a problem or provides no physical or medical explanation, no matter how nice he is or how much fun, life is too short to spend any part of it with a smelly person. There are a lot of other nice, funny men in this world, who also take showers and do not have body odor.

Q. A lot of restaurants are providing straws with their iced tea and water. The covering is the toughest covering ever to open! It's like a clear plastic or cellophane. I can't seem to be able to tear off the end like I can with the paper covers, so I sneak it up to my mouth and tear off the top with my teeth. My husband rolls his eyes, but I like to use a straw. Am I being tacky, as my husband says? His solution is I should carry a little pair of scissors in my purse. What do you think?

A. These cellophane straw covers do seem to be a lot stronger than paper. However, instead of resorting to using your teeth or a pair of scissors, here is an updated approach to meet the challenge of a newer technology being adopted for a a familiar product.

Hold the straw covered with the sealed cellophane in both hands a few inches below above the table's edge, but no farther than a few inches from your body. Clasp the fingers of one hand near one end of the straw, and use the fingers of the other hand to push the straw through the end of the cellophane. The least amount of attention and commotion you bring to this effort, the better. If still no success, allow your husband to be the gentleman and accomplish the task for you.

Dianne Isbell is a local contributing writer. Send your etiquette questions to Lifestyle Editor Pat Kuhl, Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427. Or email to

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