Yes, I am referring to the thorny issue of body odour.
Let’s be honest, when you fly long-haul on your own (which I am as I write this) the one thing you want is a row of seats to yourself.
It never happens so the best you can hope for is a slender, clean and, most of all, private person in the seat next to you.
I was sitting on the ‘plane at Schipol feeling rather smug with myself as the seat next to me was left unoccupied. Luxury; room to spread, have my stuff all over the place and generally have a relaxing flight… but then, disaster struck. The last person onto the flight (the one all the frantic calls over the tannoy in the airport were for) came and hovered next to me.
No matter how I tried to ignore the guy, it was fairly clear that he was going to sit next to me. As the rest of the flight seemed to be pretty full, it looked like we were stuck with other.
Even before we took off it became obvious that neither of us was going to enjoy the flight. My new companion had a large bag (God knows how it classified as cabin baggage) and there was no space in the overhead bins, so it had to go under the seat in front of him, which was a struggle for him (and me) although, no doubt, entertaining for everyone else.
As soon as the flight attendant came round (and there’s a blog in that one, I can tell you) the guy tried to order whiskey, which wasn’t free, sorry I meant to say ‘complimentary’ so he had a large cup of wine.
Even better, this put him to sleep!
But horror of horror; he snores. Even worse was to come. As he stretched and made himself comfortable he put his arms behind his head and yes, he would have benefited from a more than casual acquaintance with a can of Right Guard.
But what’s to do?
I can’t ask to be moved; there’s nowhere to go. I can hardly ask him to go and squirt his pits, offering a can if heeds one. I just have to suffer in silence and hope he doesn’t fart… or read this blog over my shoulder, come to think of it.
There was a case recently of an employee who had similar… errrr… issues. When the employer told them to sort out their personal hygiene problems they took exception to this and decided to take the employer to tribunal for bullying.
It turns out the employer, rather than doing the right thing and having a private meeting with the employee and being all sensitive about it, simply left a can of Impulse on the lady’s typewriter for all to see.
If you are faced with an issue like this, you can deal with it, but please do it tactfully.