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AIBU to tell this woman about her offensive body odour?

(23 Posts)
feathermucker Fri 07-Mar-14 12:40:28

There is a woman active within the school PTFA who, to put it mildly, seriously stinks. I mean in an offensive way.

Apparently, someone did try and speak to her about it a few months back and said woman was upset.

You can literally smell her coming from quite a distance, it's that bad. Lots of people talk about it once she's near or has gone past, but no one wants to say anything.

How would I phrase it, what should I say?!

Nataleejah Fri 07-Mar-14 12:44:11

Depends if its poor hygiene or due to very unfortunate health problems

NoArmaniNoPunani Fri 07-Mar-14 12:45:07

That's a tough one. Is it BO, stale piss or halitosis?

Tryharder Fri 07-Mar-14 12:45:55

What is the smell? Is it BO or something else? Do you know where she lives and perhaps could write to her anonymously?

TBH, I would leave it. I can't imagine she doesn't know and so is either unconcerned or it's an ongoing medical issue.

NewJobNewLife Fri 07-Mar-14 12:46:38

I wouldn't mention it. Especially if you think someone else has already talked to her a while ago.

She may have a medical condition, she may not wash enough, she may know she smells and not care. None of those things are really anyone else's business unless you are seriously inconvenienced by it (and I wouldn't class sitting next to a smelly person for an hour or two for a meeting as a serious inconvenience).

Leave the poor woman alone.

WreckTangle Fri 07-Mar-14 12:47:23

Is she a work colleague then? I don't understand the relationship? How often do you see her if not a colleague. Are you all PTA mums?

I'd probably not say anything unless you were good friends or worked together. Even then the working together it should be management addressing such issues.

Poor woman.

feathermucker Fri 07-Mar-14 12:48:00

So far as I can tell, it's poor hygiene as her clothes are a bit scruffy and stained.

It's really, really bad stale sweat smell

It's putting people off joining the PTFA.

NeonMuffin Fri 07-Mar-14 12:48:07

Offensive body odour is anti social IMO. There's nothing worse than having to be in close proximity to someone who stinks.

Harsh but true.

feathermucker Fri 07-Mar-14 12:53:06

I don't want to be the one who upsets her by telling her. I don't mean that in a cowardly, selfish way at all.

It's a hard situation. She knows about it from what I can gather and doesn't seem at all bothered. When she was last told, I believe she supposedly went home, got changed etc and came back still smelling the same.

I know it could very well be a medical issue.

I'm feeling sympathy as opposed to revulsion wink

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 07-Mar-14 12:55:58

How many health conditions lead to odour though?

There's one (that I cannot remember the name of) that makes the sufferer smell like fish
Incontinence
Breath - which can be dehydration, gastric, sinus rather than poor hygene
Possibly a vaginal infection

But , I must say, I work with the general public and some DO stink.
I have had BO patients in my chair where I literally churn my stomach.
Some I'm praying silently "Please don;t talk, Please don't talk" because their breath is so foul.

And yes, some incontinent.

What could you do?

Leave some magazine articles "helpfully" open at a relevant page?
Be chatting about a programme "Oh did you see that Life of Grime?"
"Oh yes, can you imagine what the peoples clothes smell like? Would you wash in that bathroom?"

She must know. And if she doesn't respond to a subtle hint, can her manager/ line manager say something?

Missred Fri 07-Mar-14 12:57:28

Tough one. If this was a work based issue then I think you'd have grounds for discretely and kindly discussing it. Having said that I work with a colleague who's breath at times could floor an elephant at 20 paces. She has tonsilloths poor woman.

In a social setting less clear, and this woman may feel she was being socially isolated and excluded no matter how carefully you word matters.
My gut feeling is to leave sleeping dogs lie, but listen carefully whenever you're involved in a conversation with her, see if she drops clues as her body odor may be underlying more serious personal problems.

Xfirefly Fri 07-Mar-14 12:57:40

we had a work colleague like this. and having to work in close proximity to them was awful. we had to make a complaint to our supervisor...who was aware of the issue but didn't know how to approach it. I felt really bad for them but it was obvious laziness on their part. it took one of my colleagues to be sick from the smell for our supervisor to have a quiet word. there was a slight improvement afterwards. thank god I moved departments.

it may be insensitive and come across as mean but its not fair on people who have to be close and put up with it all day.

tripecity Fri 07-Mar-14 12:58:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

oldgrandmama Fri 07-Mar-14 12:59:20

Oh lord, reminds me of my first job (1960). In office with several other girls and one absolutely REEKED! It was a combination of sweatiness (she didn't 'believe' in deodorants or too many baths shock) and thick, unwashed sweaters. It got so awful that our boss asked us in for a conference (without the smelly one) and told us it was UP TO US to sort out the problem!

We tried. We gave each other 'gifts' of lovely smellies but she didn't use them and eventually we arranged for her to have a 'routine checkup' at the company's health centre, having alerted the health centre to the problem and they were fine (couldn't do that these days!)

She went, they tactfully remarked on the aroma, she ignored it and came back, nothing changed. After another month, she was fired. Yup, all our fault, but what could we have done, short of saying to her 'You stink, do something about it'. But we were too frightened ... and in any case, it really shouldn't have been up to us (but as I said before, it was the 1960s).

CoffeeTea103 Fri 07-Mar-14 13:04:29

If it is affecting people in the ptfa then she should be told about it. Seriously whatever the issue is she should be aware of how she's making other people feel.
Worked with a guy once that picked his nose constantly and ate it shockconfused. He definitely was called in and told as people started refusing touching things he touches. IMO this woman's bo is just as invasive and disgusting to others.

KitZacJak Fri 07-Mar-14 13:09:21

Apparently, someone did try and speak to her about it a few months back and said woman was upset.

Ok - but somebody has already tried to speak to her about it so she is aware. What would be the point in doing it again? I think you just have to put up with it.

Pollyputthekettle Fri 07-Mar-14 13:13:17

Don't say anything. As you said someone else said something and she was very upset.

NoArmaniNoPunani Fri 07-Mar-14 13:24:20

Offensive body odour is anti social IMO. There's nothing worse than having to be in close proximity to someone who stinks.

I agree. Hire a barbershop quartet to deliver the message with a jaunty tune

ChasbutnotDave Fri 07-Mar-14 13:25:57

Could the school have a word?

Tulip26 Fri 07-Mar-14 13:34:19

How are her kids? Clean, ironed clothes, clean hair?

Floggingmolly Fri 07-Mar-14 13:37:47

I didn't want to be the one who upsets her by telling her
But someone else has already done just that, haven't they? confused
So she knows, and nothing's changed... Maybe she seriously doesn't care, in which case you're basically screwed.
What are her kids like, hygiene wise?

Nanny0gg Fri 07-Mar-14 13:43:09

If she was upset, surely she knows there is a problem? If she didn't care she wouldn't be upset.

And please don't do it anonymously. How hideously hurtful would that be?

mouldyironingboard Fri 07-Mar-14 14:15:52

At the next PTA meeting give her some deodorants to try out and ask her which one she likes best. If she takes offence and leaves it's better than offending every other member of the PTA by the stink.

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