Would You Send an Anonymous Email to Someone With Body Odor?
A service offers a polite way to point out body odor, bad breath and more.
You can smell a coworker before you actually see him. Your boyfriend’s breath smells like old tobacco. And your new BFF should really try eating with her mouth closed.
But as easy as it is to diss people like that (you just have to vent, after all) it’s much tougher and potentially more dangerous to talk with them about their little problem. Your coworker will probably hate you—and he’ll still smell. Your boyfriend could break up with you. As for your BFF, you now have a chance to find out how low her rage threshold is.
You could ask your boss to talk to your coworker, although most managers would rather fire 10 people than have one conversation about personal smells. You could go the classic hint route: the bar of soap on the chair, the gift of an electric toothbrush for him and a classic etiquette book for her.
Or you could sent a tactful, anonymous email that gently points out the problem. A website called www. nooffenseoranything.com offers free anonymous emails that manage to mention the problem without being mean.
The body odor one says, in part: Dear xxx, A friend who cares would like you to know you have a body odor problem. Please don’t be offended…we’re human and sometimes we stink. The message contains some helpful hints, including “Do not try to mask your odor with cologne.” The bad-manners one (our favorite) says “While you don’t necessarily do all these things while dining, you may be engaging in one or more of the following behaviors. The daunting list includes slurping, belching and passing gas at the table, though we’d say someone who’s guilty of that last one probably needs more than an email to change his behavior.
The messages are programmed so that you can’t add any irate words of your own. So would you use this service or not? Is it mean or helpful? Tell us! And if you do it, there’s no harm in sending yourself a test email to see how it feels—and to make sure you really are anonymous! (nooffenseoranything)
Jane Farrell is a senior editor at BettyConfidential.