If only I had consulted the internet before today. There are so many posts on how to tell someone they smell. For months there has been a smelly au pair at my gym. I have tried to ignore it but I can’t. Whenever I see this poor girl anywhere in town, I have to fight the urge to gag.
Unfortunately the cardio room of my local Y is small. It is always a little smelly but when this cute little foreign girl gets on the elliptical machine, her body heats up and the room soon reeks of onions, garlic and stale sweat from the day before. My sense of smell is superior to most others. When I was pregnant, I was able to detect small gas leaks in my house were undetectable to our local electric company without special machinery. Perhaps I can chalk it to hormones. A friend of mine recently noticed that she was also sensitive in our heightened premenopausal state and could even tell when her executive assistant was menstruating.
I have discussed this smell problem to a friend- who is staff at the Y- but I realize that it is so awkward many people won’t say anything. The policy is that a director of the same sex must approach the person. However, months have gone by and the girl still smells. She also wears the same T shirt most days, so that may be the problem. I have noticed that many college boys and divorced men have a habit of wearing their gym clothes more than once. The result is the unmistakable fermenting odor of day or week old sweat that is familiar to any high school athlete.
Earthy smells are fine with me. I love men to have a scent. My husband does not ever smell stinky but rather like fast food french fries and the stinkiest he gets is where he smells like slightly rancid fries- but still yummy enough to eat. I love the raw smell of men and realize that it is one of my key indicators for arousal. Fresh sweat is sexy, however, old sweat is not.
Of course women smell too. You only have to go into a stall of a public bathroom to smell the day old aroma of the woman’s groin that peed minutes before. We produce so much liquid, this is why a woman’s own vaginal juices make the best perfume to attract the opposite sex; however, my smelly au pair is not sexy to me and I am now forced to change my machine when she approaches. Sometimes I do it preemptively, not only to get away from the smell, but so that the other gym members don’t mistake me as the offender.
However, today, I ran into another au pair who works out in the weight room. I gathered up my courage to speak to him about his fellow country woman. This man is so sweet and I knew he could help me break it to her gently so that she would not be alienated by her fellows nor have her feelings hurt. I suggested that he mention a crazy woman who lifts with him that was touting the health benefits of using a little hand sanitizer under the arms before her work out. It is mostly alcohol based and will not interfere with the body’s natural mechanisms the way that antiperspirants do. Even if she does not follow-up on this advice, I have no doubt that the other guys who were ease dropping on our conversation will.
Previously Published on Open Salon May 23 2012 under Snarkychaser