We Shower Here in America

Posted: December 28, 2010 in America, Community, Culture, Humor, Opinion, Society
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

My work is very multi-cultural; we have people working here from many different parts of the earth, but primarily are employees are from Africa. Many times things go very smoothly where there is no culture shock on either side. The two areas where there is conflict are in personal hygiene and inappropriate behaviors. The behavior aspect is our African employees gain up on and harass the white employees until they quit. This is a serious problem, but not the focused concern. The topic today is personal hygiene.

I deal with many of the nursing assistants concerns on a regular basis. There are times they stop in my office to speak to me about this or that. Today I had a gentlemen come in who stunk the shit out of my office. The smell was a mixture of nasty cologne and intense body odor. I politely tried to cover my nose because I was about to vomit. I was filled with joy when our conversation ended and he left. You would think with him leaving the worst is over with right? Wrong. The worst part was not the initial stinkiness it was the lingering stank odor which stuck around long after he departed. I was patiently waiting for the smell to go away. After about five minutes of covering my nose and trying to refrain from vomiting; I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I tried getting up and fanning my door back and forth trying to get the odor out of my office. This proved to be a futile venture. I then grabbed my cologne and started spraying every inch of my office. This two did not take the problem away and it may have even made it worse. I am now out of options and fear I may be stuck the rest of the day. It has been two hours now and the smell is still lingering. I am afraid if people walk into my office I will be blamed for this monstrosity. This will simply not do. I am contemplating putting a sign on my door saying “it is not me.”

I know with how potent the smell I cannot be the only one left with burning nostrils. I am sure the residents are left with the burden of smelling this man. I would hope management would pull him aside and tell him he is being disrupted in the workplace and to please follow proper hygiene. I know I was confronted with this very same conundrum at my previous job. Instead of pulling this guy aside and telling him to take a shower we held a company wide meeting with one of the topics being appropriate hygiene in the workplace. I am all for people keeping their culture when they move to America, but there should be a few things we demand of people when assimilating them into our society. I can think of a few things we should expect from immigrants, and one of them should be the requirement of daily showering. Preferably with soap.

  1. Johanna says:

    I know what you mean. I had a girl from Nigeria in one of the classes I taught and she had a terrible body odor. I actually sent a note home and the parents said they didn’t believe in wearing deodorant. The other kids used to complain about her and I didn’t want her to be teased. I’m not sure what you can do about that one.

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      Oh no! It is sad she will be remembered as the smelly kid. I would never tell this guy he stinks. When he comes in I put some lotion on and dab some under my nose to help with the odor.

  2. When I was a new social worker, I accompanied my supervisor to a residence for a home visit. As I started across the yard, the stench hit me and, by the time I reached the front door, I was ready to hurl big chunks. My supervisor didn’t seem bothered at all.

    He pulled me aside, chuckling. “First lesson today,” he said. “English Leather!” Huh? He took me back to his car and reached into his glove box. He pulled out a small bottle of English Leather cologne and suggested I rub a bit under my nostrils.

    It worked! I went back to the house and smelled nothing but cologne. Of course, as an Old Spice guy, I started carrying a bottle of Old Spice in my car for similar occasions.

    You might want to keep a bottle of your favorite cologne handy (far better than lotion)…just in case! 🙂

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