The Smell of Failure

26 Sep

“Six days ago.”


“This morning.”

“I don’t know.

Take a guess what question these responses were answers to. I’ll give you a hint. The responders were 18- and 19-year-old guys with Asperger Syndrome.Okay, maybe not enough of a hint.

Answer: Bathing.

“I did an experiment,” the six-day responder shared. “I showered every day for one week. They [parents] still nagged about how I smelled. So, then, I showered when I felt like it. Maybe once in five days. They nagged the same amount. So, what’s the difference?” I tried to argue that, maybe, he forgot to change his clothes the week he showered, so his efforts were overshadowed by a strong odor. That comment gave him pause. In the long run, his own experiment will provide more compelling data.

Mind you, he recently received a “warning” while on the job because a patron of the movie theater complained about his body odor.

I’ve found that there is no compellingly logical way to encourage bathing/showering. I’ve tried a scientific argument related to bacteria and skin (think flesh-eating diseases, or something a bit less mystery diagnosis worthy). I’ve tried the you’re-less-likely-to-get-a-girl argument, which is usually undermined with the following quip, “Jeanne, you’re the only girl I talk to.” I’ve tried threats akin to “I will shower you with Bath & Body Works Juniper Breeze spray.” I showed facts, figures, and other meaningless statistics that suggest some random benefit. All, in all, I’ve failed. And, my nostrils have paid the price.

Ultimately, I’ve decided that there are other issues worth the fight. Unless, you have another strategy I could try.

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Posted by on September 26, 2010 in ASD in the Grand Scheme


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