#64 Hygiene

maxrailcrowdedYou’ve sat next to this person on the MAX. You’ve shared the sidewalk with this individual. At one point, you might have called them a friend. In the city of Portland, they seem to be everywhere. As their body odor permeates from their skin as they bike across the Hawthorne bridge, these characters assault our senses through smell-pollution.

I’ve never lived in any city where general hygiene seems to be so “uncool.” Washing your hair every other month, taking as few showers as possible, and still engaging in physical activities such as biking, hiking, or yoga has an effect on others that cannot be ignored. Many of us who prescribe to a regular bathing schedule can smell the human bacterial colonies that live amongst us. Organic soap isn’t able to wash away the stank. Crystal deodorant is a sham. Therefore, our summers are littered with stinky progressives. Tears spring to sensitive eyes of hygiene-normals much like chopping onions. The offender, long used to the odor emanating from their body (or long accustomed to covering it up with patchouli oil, incense or pot) does not know the pain they causes. Or probably doesn’t care.

During the winter months, women don’t shave. Men grow out their hair and shave faces sparingly. The majority of us look disheveled amongst the professionals*. Of course, the advertising, marketing and tech communities are largely responsible for the lack of hygiene. Quirky personalities and possibly a case of Asperger Syndrome or ADD make it socially acceptable for them to go into meetings with 5 o’clock shadow and uncombed hair. As long as you are wearing designer denim with those Chuck Taylors and your facial scruff is covered with a cashmere scarf you are good to go.

The people of Portland have let themselves go. We do not take ourselves seriously. Other cities have no reason to take us seriously. If the cast of Charlie Brown were represented by major cities, we would be Pig-Pen. We stink.

*People with careers

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16 Responses to “#64 Hygiene”


  1. 1 Denise Krausch 10/06 at 5:08 pm

    “X-mas wish”
    X-mas, 2009
    Dear Trimet,

    A X-mas wish from our family to your’s:

    My grandkids like to spend the day.
    They come to visit and we play.

    It’s sad to hear they had to say,
    “No bus for us, nuh auh, No way!”

    Those buses stink like ass-goo soup.

    We wish you’d steam or power spray
    that ass-goo stinky soup away.

    Till then we’ll say, “No bus for us”.
    We wish you’d clean your stinky bus.

    Your’s truely,
    Ann O. Nemus

    • 2 zumpie 10/06 at 6:26 pm

      Dear Ann,

      That your grandkids are lazy, snotty, bourgeois suburban brats with little concern for the environment is not exactly something to brag about (nor is it cute).

      BTW, I ride the bus every day. The only times I find it smelly is if a smelly person gets on it. While I’ll be the first the agree this is unpleasant, it also one of the many hazards of, um, living on this imperfect planet.

      But apparently your glorious granchildren exist in some exquisite bubble–where inconvenient unpleasantries like bad smells or poor people need never intrude. I’m sure they’ll grow up to lovely, self-involved people.

    • 3 ragemanchoo 01/12 at 6:14 pm

      Zumpie — Hey, at least they want to use public transit.

      Sounds like there are enough smelly people involved with the buses that it warranted this blog entry, though, and most of the comments agree. 😐

  2. 4 Smoky 03/19 at 12:28 pm

    spot on! The last time I rode the bus I almost puked. I’m serious…the smell made me gag. What a tiny smelly insignificant shit town.

  3. 5 Faintly Macabre 02/27 at 8:03 pm

    San Francisco makes Portland look like Scrubbing Bubbles Central… There was once a guy on the Muni who smelled so bad it made me sneeze until I was able to de-train. Worse, he’d pissed himself.

  4. 6 Jonathan 02/21 at 3:15 pm

    No… no… no… Lending context to your comment, that by broader standards I disagree.
    Try visiting Europe… especially Germany… Then you will really learn about BO and how entire societies reject the concepts of deoderants and anti-perspirants… Now as far as Portland stands on the scale of the nation, there are a few hippie-villes (e.g. communes) that probably rate worse, but I can’t make any comparisons for you since I’m still haunted by three years (mostly the summers) of mouth-breathing-by-necessity while wandering amongst the Deutschlanders. And the French and Poles don’t smell too pretty either!

  5. 7 reid c 02/11 at 10:08 am

    Portlanders love to pretend to have nothing and that includes owning soap or having access to running water. Just be glad the summers aren’t longer or muggier.

  6. 8 Erick E 02/11 at 8:02 am

    What’s the dress code in this city? “Imitate the bums who run rampant here?” Let me slap on a pair of 10 year old 20 dollar wranglers with my “I’m with stupid” t-shirt and my Columbia jacket. Stuffy east coast HAH.

    • 9 zumpie 05/22 at 7:12 pm

      Hey, Erick! You must not live in SE! It goes past the bums going camping look—I’ve seen many a middle aged parent at my daughter’s school dressed exactly like Angelica from Rugrats.

      BTW, I agree completely with you, it’s honestly a bit mind blowing how dreadfully everyone dresses here…and as they’re announcing “look at what a rugged individualist I am”, they fail to notice everyone else is wearing the exact same lame, faded camping gear thing.

      The only thing worse is Portland’s “Fashion Week”, when all the papers fawn endlessly over “innovative designer” outfits quite similar to ones I wore in my poser punk college days of the mid ’80’s.

      P.S. Sadly, the only people who seem to understand grooming take it to a very tacky, faux California level

  7. 10 angrylove 02/10 at 1:45 pm

    I love the dress code in this city. However, if you poke your head outside the marketing and food service industries I think you will find a substantial number of professional portlanders dressed to the nines like any stuffy east coast city. All in all I find this gripe myopic. The largest buildings in this city are filled to the gills will nice smelling well coiffed wage slaves.

  8. 11 PD-EX... 02/04 at 8:06 am

    hygiene… it’d be nice, but most porlandics cannot spell it, must less know its meaning.

  9. 12 Erick E 02/02 at 11:31 am

    I think the difference between Portland and the people of Detroit, etc. is the fact that those people are genuinely poor. Here people take homeless sheik to a new level. The only way I can tell the difference between the bums and “normal” people are by the jackets they wear cause otherwise, the facial hair and hair styles are pretty damn similar.

  10. 13 Texas Triffid Ranch 01/30 at 12:38 pm

    Max, why do we all get the feeling that if someone threw you against the wall, you’d stick?

  11. 14 Max 01/29 at 3:16 pm

    Yeah like Portlanders smells worse than people from Detroit, Miami, LA, ect. Your full of shit, you just stand to close to people on the max. As for the city as a whole it probably smells better than almost any major american city. Get of your high horse and quit wasting so much water so you can think your gonna get laid more.

  12. 15 Texas Triffid Ranch 01/29 at 10:24 am

    In this case, Portland isn’t a city. It’s a science fiction convention with no admission fee and no closing ceremonies. Seriously: in any other city, you’d have to go to an anime convention to find examples of body funk that could be cut with a knife, labeled and stamped, and dropped off in the mail. I’m just waiting for one of Portland’s frustrated wannabe comics artists to do a series for Marvel on the city’s own superhero: “Beware, evildoers! You face the wrath of…CAT PISS MAN!”

  13. 16 Rick Turoczy 01/29 at 7:38 am

    Aww. Honored to have received a mention!

    *Sniff Sniff* Do I offend?


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