Social Question

john65pennington's avatar

How would have handled this situation? See inside.

Asked by john65pennington (29057 points ) January 29th, 2012

I was 19, she was 17. She was a girl that lived the next street over and I knew her from high school. I finally asked her for a first date. It was summertime in Tennessee and the humidity was higher than the temperature.

I arrived to pick her up at about 7 pm. We were going out to eat first and then to a late movie. Everything was going great, until she sat down in my car and I closed the doors. She, apparently had forgotten to put on deodorant and nervous sweat is the worst sweat of all. I kept the windows rolled down in my car most of the night. I had to. The smell of bo was making me sick.

After dinner, I made an excuse of a headache, to avoid the late movie and further torture. I took her home and never called her again. She married my best friend and they are very happy.

Question: did I handle this situation correctly or would you have handled in it a different manner? I heard she cried for two weeks and I am sorry, but I did not know what else to do. Okay, let me have it.

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18 Answers

Male's avatar

I can’t really say if you made the right decision, but personally I would’ve done something similar. I would’ve ended the date early, but if I really liked her, I would give her another chance by asking her out again (although if she suspects that I’m disgusted the chances would be slim). I would try my best to make it seem like nothing was wrong during the date, and the headache was killing me.

Then again, she married your best friend and she’s happy. So I guess the question is if she’d be happier being with you or him, but that’s something that can only be pondered about.

AmWiser's avatar

It’s not a matter of did you handle the situation correctly…you were young and a situation presented itself that you did not know how to handle. Thankfully you didn’t do or say anything offensive at the time and hopefully you never mentioned it to your best friend. At that age I probably would have done the same thing.:)

Neizvestnaya's avatar

If its someone I really liked, I would have (have done it) muddled through it. If after subsequent dates the b.o. situation was the same then I’d likely have become less and less attracted.

Zaku's avatar

I wouldn’t sweat it. j.k.

It’s not worth worrying about in hindsight, it seems to me, especially if she and your friend are happy, it all turned out well.

You behaved well for a 19-year-old, and it was not your duty to do anything other than what you did.

Indulging in hindsight, there were other options, which may or may not have been better. You could have explained what was going on, in a respectful way. That’s what I would recommend if you wanted to develop a relationship with her.

However, chemistry and smell are a very important part of whether people are compatible. If you were nauseated by her natural smell, then you may not have been a good match.

john65pennington's avatar

Zaku, How could I have respectfully told her that her deodorant had failed her? It would have embarrassed me more than her(maybe). She was a very delicate, sweet person that I would have never discussed with her. She was very shy and was absolutely the cleanest person I had ever dated. She just forgot her deodorant and it was an instant turnoff for me. We still see each other every once in a while and I wonder if she wonders what happened? She has never asked and she never will. I hated that this happened.

deni's avatar

If you knew her well enough, you could have said something. But that’d probably be awkward. If I were here, I would have ran to the closest bathroom, possibly even mentioning that the reason was because I was sweating my balls off, and washed my armpits and kept some kleenex or paper towel in my pocket to sop up more sweat if it came my way.

That is a tough one though. Given your age at the time and the fact it was a first date, I probably would have been to embarrassed, regardless of what side I was on, to say or do anything either.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

The mature me would have stopped at a store, picked up some deodorant, and given her a kiss on the cheek as I handed it to her. The 19 year old me would have done it the same way you did.

marinelife's avatar

I think that you did fine.

TheIntern55's avatar

I think you acted the way you should have. It would’ve turned out worse for you had you mentioned the smell. But now she’s happy and it’s all in the past, so what’s the use worrying about it?

Judi's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe , That would have been horrifying!
@john65pennington , do you think she knew why?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Judi I can be very gentle. I’m guessing she noticed as well. How do you think she felt?

john65pennington's avatar

I really think she knew somewhere in the middle of our date. She was the kind of person that everything has to be perfect and it was, except for the deodorant. It was steamy hot that day and into the night. I just could not bring myself to telling her. When I complained of a headache is when she knew that I knew and offered no resistance to end the date. I felt sorry for her as I know she had looked so forward to us having this date. Her sister told me so. I still have bad vibes over the outcome. But, at least she married a good person.

I have also thought….“what if this situation had occured in reverse”? Suppose I had the bo and not her. Would she have told me? Knowing her the way I do, NO, she would never have mentioned it to me, ever. We would just have another date, as if nothing had happened. She is just that way, a nice person.

linguaphile's avatar

@john65pennington What kind of bad vibes? This was what, 25–30 years ago? Aww… I feel bad for you both… that’s a long time to hold on to an awkwardness.

I wonder if it would be worth saying in a conversation some day, “Other than my wife, you were one of the sweestest dates I’ve ever had.” Not the “best date” but slip a small compliment into a conversation about memories and maybe she will realize you meant well?

You handled it better than I would have. If I was the girl, I’d be a lot more up front and ask for a stop at the store, but that’s me.

john65pennington's avatar

linquaphile….we were best friends back then. It took a lot for me to ask her for a date and a lot for her to accept it.Had this not happened, I probably would have asked her to marry me. This is a situation that you just do not forget, even after all these years.

My wife and I have had dinner with her and her husband. Not a word was spoken or even suggested, concerning the deodorant. I guess it will just be our secret…forever.

SpatzieLover's avatar

When you know better, you do better ~Maya Angelou

@john65pennington At the time, you handled the situation in a way that you thought was best. Now, with age and experience you are re-examining it with your current wisdom.

john65pennington's avatar

Spatz, you are correct. I guess I am just second-guessing that whole situation many years later. Thanks for opening my eyes. jp

linguaphile's avatar

@john65pennington I have to say I’m impressed you both maintained your kindness and respect for each other all through the years. This could easily have become a “I’m so embarrassed I’ll never talk to that guy again” situation. It didn’t, and you all stayed friends—

I like @SpatzieLover‘s response as well.

Zaku's avatar

@john65pennington “How could I have respectfully told her that her deodorant had failed her?”

You may not have been able to with the mindset you had then, which is another reason I don’t find any fault with your behavior, and why I suggest you have no reason to either. It would be possible though for someone to hold no disrespect for someone who forgot her deodorant and is smelling, and to preface the explanation of what is going with a polite disclaimer, and then just explain and demonstrate that she needn’t be embarrassed on your account, and maybe even suggest a solution. Of course, if she was incapable of hearing that info no matter how it was said, then that might not work, either. It might still be possible to explain, and just have it be funny.

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