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Ask the Editor

By Eun J. Lee

FEATURES EDITOR

Dear Editor,

For the past two years I have lived on the same floor as someone with incredibly bad body odor. I feel awkward confronting this person, but the stench is often unbearable. What makes it even harder is that this person often encroaches on other people’s space without asking, such as sitting on other people’s beds and usurping common lounge areas in the dorm. I’m sick of putting up with it. What should I do?

--Holding my nose in Next

Dear Nose Holder,

Like it or not, funky odor is an inevitable part of life here at MIT. According to a recent study, more than 90 percent of students have had to deal with some form of B.O. during their years here, and these encounters most often occur in Athena clusters (41 percent) or in living groups (29 percent). B.O. in Athena clusters is so common that the administration has developed its own acronym for the phenomenon: Athena Super-olfactory Stench (A.S.S.). Despite the prevalence of A.S.S. and B.O. in general, there are very few who actually confront the culprits. This apathy among those of us who suffer from others with B.O. is probably why it still exists in our day in age. In fact, many people who are spreading the stink don‘t even know they have a problem, so knowing is half the battle.

There are subtle ways you can let your friend know he smells without coming off as strong as their smell. My personal favorite classic trick is making a face when walking into the room and saying “Man, what smells like A.S.S. in here!! ” Be creative. For example, if he is sitting on your bed, say you have to do laundry and ask him kindly to get off. Then you can say “Oh, by the way, you smell like A.S.S... good luck with yourself.”

There is actually a Web site you can go to that will send an anonymous letter along with deodorant to your friend. For more information, go to http://www.give-a-hint.com. Hope this helps!

Dear Editor,

I get really annoyed with the people I live with because they keep using my dishes. I’ve made it pretty clear that they’re not communal property, but no one listens. What should I do?

--Fed up in Burton-Conner

Dear Fed up,

Here’s a foolproof way to keep anyone from using your dishes. In most cases, you probably know the person (or at least suspect someone) who is using your dishes. Let it known to everyone you live with that you are sick and tired of everyone using your stuff. Tell them that you’re so mad, you’re going to lick random items you own so that no one will use them.

Then, while everyone is gone, lick all of the things you own along with all of the things that the person who you know is using your stuff owns. Even though they are unlikely to use the latter, it will make you feel better to have a safety net.

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