Monday, July 03, 2006

Travel Advisory: Basel, Switzerland

We had perfect weather this past weekend in Basel - not a cloud in the sky, breezy, not too humid, and temperatures pushing over 30˚C. Other than going to John and Rammy's house for a BBQ on Saturday evening, and a quick walk to the berry stand to buy some cherries on Sunday afternoon, we pretty much spent most of the weekend up on the rooftop garden soaking up the sun. However, with the good, there always has to be some bad.
What could possibly spoil such a great time of year, you ask? Body odor (B.O. Boris Orloff, etc.) - that's what! I've written about it before, but I'm going to have to write about it again right now. Here it is: A lot of people in Basel STINK! I'm not talkin' a hint of body odor, I'm talkin' full-on, eye-watering, nosehair-singeing STANK!
I walked Mrs. TBF to the bus this morning, and I'm not kidding, I smelled B.O. emanating from various people about five times during the five minute walk. Mrs. TBF told me later that the bus ride wasn't too bad (it's mildly air conditioned), but the odor upon entering the tram after transfering was HORRID! So, that's my travel advisory for Basel - ride the tram at your own risk. Unless, of course, you don't mind sitting on a hot tram with a bunch of STANKY people!
How is it possible that people can have so much B.O. so early in the morning? I mean, really, is it that hard to rid yourself of body odor? Here are some tips from TBF for reducing your body odor:

1. Take a shower or bath every single day during the hot weather. If you're trying to conserve water, just get your body wet, turn the water off, lather up WITH SOAP, then rinse off. You'll hardly use any water at all, and you'll feel refreshed - BELIEVE ME!

2. Dry off, and then apply some DEODORANT! Deodorant is not very expensive. If you're opposed to the chemicals in deodorant or anti-perspirant, then use a deodorant stone like I do. They're completely natural, you can buy them at health food stores, they're not too expensive, and they last for about a year.

3. If you've sweat so much that your shirt is soaked, don't hang it up to let it dry so that you can wear it again the next day. WASH IT! If you only have access to a washing machine once per week or once every two weeks (common in Switzerland) - TOO BAD! Wash it in your sink or your bathtub with a little laundry detergent. This phenomenon is actually not limited to the hot weather. I experience it year round at the gym. I see people working out in clothes that I know they wore the day before, and I CAN SMELL THE B.O. AS THEY'RE WALKING INTO THE GYM! This means that they're letting their workout clothes dry and working out in the same clothes without washing them - GROSS!

I find it hard to believe that these people can't tell that they stink, but in case they are unable to smell themselves, here's what I'm proposing: Pull the culprit(s) off to the side (don't make a big deal about it), and tell them in a nice, but firm, way that everybody in the bus/tram/office/restaurant/football stadium/city finds their body odor offensive, and they need to do something about it...NOW! Believe me, the person(s) might be a little startled, but I can almost guarantee you that they will be thankful that somebody took the time to bring it to their attention.
People, we're living in a society here!

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

TBF,

I have a question for you. Has this topic ever come up in conversation between yourself and an actual native of Basel? If so, did that person agree with you or did they shrug it off as a cultural difference that should be accepted by you?

-Perry

The Big Finn said...

Perry -
The only time it's really come up was about a year ago (check out my blog entry from May 17, 2005) in my German conversation class. The teacher was criticizing Americans for using too much water, and I basically blurted out something like: "At least Americans don't stink!" The rest of the class pretty much agreed with me that Baslers (and a lot of Europeans in general) stink! He seemed rather surprised, to say the least. Since he was German, and not a Basler, I can't actually say that I've ever discussed the topic with a real-life Basler. Now that I think about it, I'm not really sure if I know any Basel natives.

Anonymous said...

As I was reading this, my first thought was "this from a man that used to pride himself on using Cottonell wipes to freshen up, and bragged about not needing to shower for several days".

Renee, the Polish princess

Anonymous said...

So maybe it is time to come home to Chicago and leave all the smelly Euo-Trash behind?

The Big Finn said...

Renee...
That's during the winter, AND the longest I've ever gone without a shower was three days. However, during that stretch I did perform the "whore's bath" to keep myself from stinking. That brings up a good point - the bidet. You Europeans have them...use 'em!

Anonymous..
Sorry. Chicago is where I grew up, but it's not "home" any more. I have a feeling that we'll never live in Chicago again. However, I won't be disappointed if I'm wrong.

Jul said...

Oops, I just sent our out-of-town guests off to Basel for the day. Hope they aren't overwhelmed by the stink. Too bad they didn't read this advisory first...

cncz said...

I carry around deodorant in my purse in the summer. I think everyone should.
Another tip is to wear cotton and avoid synthetics, not just for the heat but also for the stank.

CanadianSwiss said...

That is DEFINITELY why I hardly ever make use of public transport in summer (I actually avoid them at this time of year). And if I do have to work hard physically and sweat, then I'd rather sit alone in my car that have people sniffing at me and do one of those "ewwww!!!" mimmick!

Sal DeTraglia said...

Epidemic funk isn't just a Basel thing. It's a Spain-thing, also. In fact, I'll betcha it's a Europe thing.

During the course of my nearly seven years here, I think I've found the culprit. It's the deodorants themselves.

I've tried nearly every one on the shelves of my local supermarket and (with one exception) none of them work. They're just white-tinted water.

How I long for my beloved Arm&Hammer Powder-Fresh Scented Anti-Perspirant...which I can only seem to find in the US...and will keep a rhinocerous smelling fresh as a daisy for the entire day.

No...my exhaustive research concludes the only product in Spain that seems to work is Nivea Anti-Perspirant.

That's NIVEA ANTI-PERSPIRANT...in case any Spaniards are reading this.

The Sour Kraut said...

Does the deodorant stone really work as well as regular deodorant?

The Big Finn said...

TSK - It works better for me than deodorant. Remember, the stone is not an anti-perspirant - it won't stop you from sweating (like anything could stop me from sweating anyway!). But, it should keep the stank at bay. As a matter of fact, I used it at 8:00 this morning, just stuck my nose in my pit, took a big whiff, and...fresh as a daisy!

christina said...

Yep, it's also a German problem. I'm really sensitive to smell and have often had my day ruined by someone else's absolutely evil body odour.

When I first moved here there were deodorants galore (not that people used them) but it was really hard to find antiperspirants. That has changed and there's now quite a good selection but you have to read the label carefully to see what you're getting.

My recommendation for any stinky people who may be reading this? Rexona Active Reserve Pro Balance.

tobias said...

Oh dear, this really is an issue, isn't it? Well, I have to defend at least us Scandinavians - most of us do shower everyday and use deodorants and stuff. But when the weather turns hellish hot like right now, our bodies are not prepared and we sweat buckets, and our deodorants can't cover the surplus sweating. Therefore, on particularly hot days, people stink here as well, but it is an exception to the rule.
I use a product known as "Absolut Torr" (absolutely dry) which you apply to your skin, let it dry over night, wash it out in the morning and then it will reduce your sweating a LOT. Maybe we should start exporting that stuff all over the continent?

The Big Finn said...

Tobias - I'm going to have to pick up some of that "Absolut Torr" stuff when I go to Stockholm this September. I might be the heaviest sweater the world has ever known. It must be my Finnish blood!

tobias said...

Most probably - Finns meet heat, and nasty problems occur. So avoid Helsinki now, I tell you...