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-   -   Is bad hygiene a dealbreaker? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=32878)

persephone 11-14-2012 01:31 AM

Is bad hygiene a dealbreaker?
OK, I don't know if my experience is typical, but I have had more than one first date with a poly man who was...not so fresh. The first two times, I wouldn't have been interested in dating them even if they were neatly groomed and smelled like a field of wildflowers, but I just met someone whom I click with really, really well and could definitely see being in a relationship with. Except for his breath, which was so awful I noticed it even before I sat down across from him in a cafe. And his hair, which looked like it hadn't been washed in a week.

I debated what to do, and one of my partners recommended that I just tell him, so, in the nicest possible way, I recommended that he reevaluate his oral hygiene routine and visit a dentist (he confirmed that he has dental insurance). I didn't have the heart to bring up showering after that (and he actually didn't smell bad outside of his breath, just looked really unkempt).

I may have done him a big favor, but I still can't decide if I should go forth and date him. It just bugs me that he didn't shower and brush his teeth before going on a first date with me. He seems to be the sweetest guy ever though.

Has anyone else run into this? What is it with all these mangy guys with scruffy beards and bad hygiene? Is it just the males of the poly community in my area? How do you folks with sensitive noses, like me, deal with sterling human beings who appear to be afraid of soap and toothpaste?

BoringGuy 11-14-2012 02:45 AM

Did he mention any other current partners? If not, then now you know why that is.

I've never had to address this on a first date , or not being someone who goes on dates, i should amend that to "so soon after meeting someone". And even then, the worst thing i had to do was tell the person to wash their feet (or their butt, in one or two cases).

I guess i would appreciate being told about my breath, same as i wouldn't want to walk around with a booger or with the seam of my pants split and no one let me know. On the other hand, maybe the guy has a mental illness.

Cue lectures about me being a small-minded douche-bag for saying that.

nycindie 11-14-2012 03:15 AM

I have found that the best way to tell someone their breath stinks is to say, "Excuse me, but your breath is a bit strong. Care for a mint?" and I offer them one (I usually always have mints with me).

But as far as greasy hair, maybe he worked out earlier or something and didn't shower after the gym? But usually when that's the case, people do apologize ("Sorry I'm a bit greasy, I worked up a sweat at lunchtime" or whatever). Then again, he might just not bathe every day. I used to work with a guy whose hair was so dirty it smelled from two feet away, and that was always an assault to the nose.

Gotta say, though, someone like that doesn't get a second chance with me. Could be the nicest guy in the world, but... ewww. And I don't need to be anybody's mother and tell him to wash himself.

Helo 11-14-2012 05:09 AM


Originally Posted by persephone
Has anyone else run into this? What is it with all these mangy guys with scruffy beards and bad hygiene? Is it just the males of the poly community in my area? How do you folks with sensitive noses, like me, deal with sterling human beings who appear to be afraid of soap and toothpaste?

As for the title's question: F yes. Because of my work (and just general personality) I'm hypersensitive to personal hygiene and if someone's personal cleanliness is lacking on a consistent basis, chances are good I wont want to be around that person again.

I put cinnamon in my shoes and hair for gods' sake (which, incidentally, is an amazing strategy for a date). Very paranoid about smelling bad.

As for the guy, is it the first date? Off breath sometimes is difficult to detect in yourself so a polite offer of a mint or gum probably is the best bet. It'll be embarrassing for a second but that will pass quickly. For the hair, are you sure it wasn't hair gel? Why people feel the need to slather their heads with petroleum jelly I will never understand but some people still do and it can lend to a greasy look even in freshly washed hair.

Other than that, I'd say go on a few more dates and see if its a trend.

And in defense of scruffy men (as I am a scruffy man) we get mixed messages; I've had women pounce on me for my scruffy appearance and I've had others tell me they'd totally fuck me if I would just shave my face. Plus my hair is very prone to flyaways so I kinda always look I just came down out of the mountains with my flock of goats for market day.

Anneintherain 11-14-2012 08:45 AM

I went out several times for coffee dates with somebody last year, 2/5 times he had stains or...food on his shirt. If I'd been interested in dating him I might have said something the second time happened, it did make a negative impression so really I didn't even consider him as an option after the second time it happened.

Once I went out with somebody and seemed obvious that he had slept on his hair and it "stuck that way" and he didn't bother combing it before meeting me. My inclination was not to date somebody who didn't at least try a bit for a first meeting, showing up on time, in clean clothes with no obvious grooming issues... but I gave it another shot and it turned out his hygiene was great. So I'd always give somebody a second shot if I was really interested in them, but I wouldn't be giving them grooming advice on the first couple dates...

I have felt a couple other people I've met didn't really keep to those standards either, people are just really laid back or something... Never was anybody smelly or dirty looking at least, I just get people who call 5 mins before or after we are supposed to meet to tell me they are running late, I guess I should count my blessings!

In your situation, I would probably go out with him again, and if he showed up looking dirty or smelling bad I wouldn't accept a third date and if asked why I'd summarize. I certainly don't have any desire to get into some situation where I'm wishing somebody would change before we'd gotten to a third date, I think both parties are better of just not making the effort if it's already an issue.

@BoringGuy - ok im glad ive never had to tell anybody to wash their butt!

Anek 11-14-2012 01:20 PM

Never happened to me, but it would be a deal breaker. As nycindie says, I don't want to be someone's mother and tell them to wash themselves.

BoringGuy 11-14-2012 01:30 PM

Helo - hair gel and petroleum jelly are not the same thing. Petroleum jelly is Vaseline and i have never heard of anyone putting vaseline on their hair especially with all the hair products on the market these days. Just FYI.

RfromRMC 11-14-2012 01:57 PM

Definitely a deal breaker. They don't have to be perfectly groomed and pristine 24/7, but what you describe is just ridiculous. Can't even bother to shower and gargle a mouthful of Scope before a first date? That's not just bad hygiene---that's disrepectful! :rolleyes:

Witch 11-16-2012 06:33 AM

Yeah thats a deal breaker for me. It makes me really uncomfortable. D: I've been a bit spot on about first impressions with people. Seems like the only time I was wrong was when I thought they were nice wonderful people, and turned out to be buttholes. XD

persephone 11-16-2012 11:52 AM

I'm going to see him one more time this weekend, with my primary partner along, for a quick bite to eat in a public place. If the hygiene issues are COMPLETELY fixed (great breath, no greasy unkempt hair), then I might be considering him as potentially more than a friend. Otherwise, he's done, except as a cyber buddy.

Thanks for everyone's input.

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