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The Foul Flatmate: How Do I Live with my Smelly Housemate?

The alarm goes off in the morning, bleary eyed I turn it off. I can hear the sound of my housemate upstairs stirring in his room. I know the inevitable is coming. His footsteps precede the sound of his bedroom door opening, and this is it. I must accept my fate and wait for the tsunami of smell to hit.

We all know the unique smell of a boy’s room. Hard to describe, hard to put your finger on not
always unpleasant but definitely there. What I didn’t know was that some rooms smell a lot worse than others. My housemate is a pretty standard male student; a bit messy, lots of takeaways, some 24 hour Xbox sessions – and his room smells the tale.

But what can I do? Scented candles and air freshener are not enough to overpower the fog that has taken residence in the top floor of our house. I have tried the ‘indirect blame’ approach, commenting on the house chat that there seems to be a funny smell wafting from upstairs, hoping the penny will drop. Alas, no response from the main offender, despite words of acknowledgement from the other housemates.

As the weeks have gone by I’ve watched communal plates and glasses disappear into the black hole of my housemates room and whispered RIP, wondering if they will ever be the same again, or even ever returned. I feel like it is too personal and rude to say directly to his face, after all I don’t want him to hate me. A quick google search tells me my dilemma is not unique, and leads me to the WikiHow page: ‘How to tell someone they smell bad.

“Buy a nice scented deodorant and give one to the offender. Suggest a way of how to use it.”

Thanks google, but I feel like this method is as good as wearing a ‘you smell’ sign and ringing a bell outside his room.

Next; another webpage tells me, “B.O. certainly isn’t pleasant, but in the grand scheme of human problems, it could be a lot worse.” Certainly true, but I can’t help but wonder at what point do I become concerned that the smell isn’t from a collection of rotting corpses, and that one day I’ll have to plead my innocence to the police. A friend on my course can understand my pain, and tells me a horrific story of her smelly ex-housemate who used to (badly) hand-wash her clothes. These clothes would then drip their damp, BO infused water onto the carpet, eventually making the entire carpet mouldy. Well at least my situation is not that dire, but even her slovenly roomie was not confronted!

My choices seem clear; put up and shut up, or address Monsieur Stink and risk a hurt and offended housemate. Wish me luck, and spare a thought for me before you complain about the boy in the library who wears too much Lynx. I know which scent I’d rather live with.

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