Short PSA: The Sweet Smell of Success

Not all of you. Maybe even not most of you. But for those of you, young men, often with mad coding skillz which are much in demand these days, I have something to tell you and it’s going to make you sad. You smell.

I get it. The homeless Jesus look is all the rage in Silicon Valley. Recreated Pink Floyd tees, dark jeans to hide the grime. Shoes that are the foot equivalent of shit posting. The studied appearance of no fucks to give. Yes, it’s a look. But you smell.

Shower. Every day. Wash your hair. Every day. Cut your finger nails, even if you feel some compulsion to give the appearance of an 80’s coke fiend, unless you’re gender transitioning.

Much as your skills may be in demand, people do not want to sit next to someone who smells. Your boss doesn’t want to be in the same room as someone who smells. You will lose a gig, be denied a promotion, not get that post with that new team you so desperately want. And you want to know why? Because you smell.

Women prefer guys who don’t smell bad. Sure, they may not notice in a bar or on eHorny, but they will the next morning.

You don’t think you smell? Of course not. You’re nose-blind to yourself. We all are. But when no one ever gets in your space, it’s not out of respect for you. It’s because you smell.

There is a good chance no one will say anything. It’s rude and embarrassing to tell someone they smell. And there’s an alternative: just stay far away from them. But you will miss opportunity and never know why. You will suffer consequences that, when you get older and decide that a daily shower is a wondrous thing, you never know about. There will be no going back, no second chance to make a non-stinky impression.

Hygiene matters for a great many reasons. But most of them won’t occur to you until you’re older, when you suffer for your youthful indiscretions. So someone has to tell you. Someone who is willing to say the words you need to hear but no one will risk for fear of your wrath. You smell. Deal with it.

You’ll thank me someday. Everyone else will thank me now.

27 comments on “Short PSA: The Sweet Smell of Success

  1. James L. Smith

    That’s funny. But when I get ripe I can smell it. It’s because my big Irish nose has always distanced itself from the rest of me. Another thing about it that I like now that I’m in my seventies: the slightest whiff of something foreign in it and it will sneeze over and over again. Such pleasure.

    1. SHG Post author

      First you get ripe. Then you get over-ripe and start to rot. The unpleasant scent may be more apparent to others before it is to you, Irish nose notwithstanding.

  2. the other rob

    If you had wanted to relate the backstory that prompted this, you would have, so I won’t ask. Instead, I shall construct ever more elaborate fantasy versions, in my head, until something shiny diverts my attention.

  3. M. Kase

    While some level of this is definitely accurate, I wouldn’t wear my tape together sandals if I was actually on the clock, and would possibly consider shaving my Jesus hair again (it retrospect, my attempts to fit in with the California look are a failure).

    The smell problem is only because I’m currently without hot water, so I take my showers only at Planet Fitness.

    So, do I send the resume by email, or should I just copy-paste it into the comments here?

    1. Jim Tyre

      M. Kase,

      The real key to getting a good coder job in NoCal isn’t head hair length or sandals, it’s having a Unixbeard(tm).

      Since I know nothing about you, this may not apply, Still, for you or anyone else, the law is that the better the Unixbeard(tm) the less chance you’ll have of getting laid.

      1. SHG Post author

        I thought that was due to the man bun, but then, I only know through rumors. And there’s always pornhub.

  4. Jim Tyre

    This is one reason why I like SJ. I come for the law, but find good hygiene advice (as applied to others, not me). But SHG, you’re being a sexist shitlord. There are female coders who suffer from the same lack of hygiene. Not as prevalent as male ones, to be sure. But trust me when I say that I’ve encountered more than I would have cared to.

  5. JAV

    What is up with the homeless look? My work pretends to have a dress code, but unless you look like weasels shredded your clothes, or single and ready to mingle, no one seems to care.

    It’s like I learned to tie bow and neck ties for no reason.

    1. SHG Post author

      Millennials have generally rationalized away such graybeard traits as dressing appropriately, showing up to work (or anywhere) on time, doing your job just because somebody pays you to do your job, and yes, not emitting unpleasant odors. As with Chesterton’s Fence, perhaps they will eventually come to realize how and why these things developed organically, or their world will just continue to deteriorate while they hone their ability to make excuses and blame others. Whatevs.

  6. Fubar

    So someone has to tell you. Someone who is willing to say the words you need to hear but no one will risk for fear of your wrath. You smell. Deal with it.

    For only a small fee, I will rent these mad coders a snappy reply from my collection of the world’s most picayune and niggling grammatical issues:

    Smell’s a transitive verb (so I think).
    Although not committed to ink
    By Boswell I fear,
    We nonetheless hear
    Dr. Johnson said, “You smell. I stink!”

    1. Dan Quigley

      Picayune, Boswell and Johnson… not quite to “snort my taint” standards, but really close IMO… I think a quarter-ounce of scotch left my face when reading that. Nice.

  7. Ken Mackenzie

    Like the sign on the bus saying, “Do not abuse the bus driver,” it’s astonishing this needs to be said.

  8. Lex

    1. [Millennial Collective]: “Keep your mores out of our pore-es.”

    2. “Shower. Every day.”
    Preferably in the morning. (Night showering is a dirty lie; and sleeping in your next-day’s socks and underwear isn’t some Sam Hinkie-esq wunderkind lifehack. Or maybe it is.) And *always* after the gym, you weird little prudes. (Not showering after gym class being one of the weirder generational divides.) And, no, swimming doesn’t count as showering. Note: The showering process isn’t complete until you’ve used a *clean* towel or blow dryer to completely dry, your armpits, buttocks, groin, and feet in particular.

    3. Related: Wear clean clothes.+ Every day. I can’t stress this enough. Yes, you paid $400 for those jeans. Yes, machine washing/drying will break down the denim — just not as much as will the accumulating personal and environmental grime you’re letting to fester over months. Stop freezing them. Handwash if you must. The only non-outerwear clothing that should go 6 months without cleaning is a suit.++

    4. Body sprays/powders in lieu of showering are the equivalent of Fabreezing your garbage instead of taking it out. Also, I have no idea why anyone would want to “smell like a stripper,” but stop slathering yourself with fragrance mixed with baby oil. Also: If more than one or two people ask you what you’re wearing, you’ve put too much on.

    5. SHG missed the chance to speak to the millennial zeitgeist: Smells are instant and the most physically and emotionally triggering environmental cues. (See Proust.) For those with the sort of bionic olfactory sensitivity to know if someone 10 feet away had a bit of garlic the day before, the confection of bacteria festering on your hair, feet, groin, anus, and armpits for three days is Hell. #WorstSuperPowerEver.

    +Note: That detergent/softener fill line on your washer? Yeah, extra detergent =/= super clean/softer: It equals undissolved goo that traps even more bacteria, dirt, skin cells, body oil, etc.
    ++Of which decent people should own many; and which ought be carefully pressed before being appropriate hung, preferably in a cedar closet, on the correct hanger after being worn.

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