The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

Why can’t bad-smelling foreigners smell themselves?

Written By: herbrunbridge - May• 24•11

The Good Manner: Advice on Thailand from WoWasis’ Pa Farang
This week’s dilemma: Bad-smelling foreigners can’t smell themselves 

Dear Pa Farang,

In a recent blog post, it seemed as though WoWasis ripped through the farang community, somehow saying that the majority of us smell bad.  What wasn’t said was that many deodorants and anti-perspirants have dangerous and/or irritating chemicals in them, and represent a health hazard.  I don’t use deodorants, but do wash every day, and have never had a complaint.  Deodorants are also expensive.  You owe it to your readers to mention the hazards of everyday deodorant use.
– BKK Vet

Dear Vet,

After a discussion with a friend last night, we concluded that one of the problems is that smelly people simply can’t smell themselves, through either a misfiring nose, or because they’ve become used to the smell.  The problem in such cases runs the gamut from general health to adherence to habit.

Pa Farang is not the expert on chemicals, but he does walk the streets, sometimes trailing behind some fairly odiferous western desperados.  In a discussion I had some years back, a young lady told me she eschewed deodorants, and used a rock instead, because she’d heard the chemicals in deodorants caused cancer.  Frankly, the rock wasn’t working, and I told her that while, to my knowledge, no one had ever died of armpit cancer, many die daily from exposure to BO.

In hot, humid Bangkok, BKK Vet, you’re probably not getting complaints because people can’t get near enough to you to hold a discussion.  I’ll refrain from suggesting you see a doctor for a nose test, but frankly, you may be used to your own smell.

It should be de rigueur for every farang to wash at least once (that’s minimum, by the way) daily, and use a good deodorant.  Arrid XX Unscented solid is surefire, if you’d accept a recommendation, battle tested through jungle & desert.

Your comment about the price of deodorants can be addressed accordingly: use a deodorant, and you slightly offend your pocketbook.  Don’t use one, and you strongly offend a nation.

Marayat dee,
– Pa Farang

Read Pa Farang’s other columns in WoWasis for more advice on relationships and cultural matters in Asia

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  1. dotco says:

    Highly energetic post, I liked that a lot. Will there be a part 2?

  2. guia says:

    Hi there, I read your blogs on a regular basis. Your humoristic style is witty, keep it up!

  3. xguide says:

    Incredible points. Sound arguments. Keep up the great work.

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