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E. Jean Is Back, Offering Advice to a Woman Who Hates Her Man's Scent!

E. Jean Is Back, Offering Advice to a Woman Who Hates Her Man's Scent!

Dear E. Jean,

I'm a lawyer who is seeing a kind, generous, sweet, gainfully-employed man. But in conversations with friends, I refer to him as a "smothering barnacle." I also actively avoid kissing him, can’t stand the way he smells, and his baby kisses on my forehead make me want to scratch his eyes out.

I'm almost 37, never been married, and he is a great guy, but he smells so bad (to me) that I can’t bear to be near him, though he'd probably smell irresistible to some other gal who actually loved him. Do I break up with the best guy who's ever come along? — Texas Attorney

To see E. Jean's answer,


Texas, My Trollymog,

Though 99.9 percent of the Dears are dying to tell you to get RID of the fellow (and are ready to strangle me for even running this question) . . . I quite like him. He doth reeketh a whiff? So what? That scent he's wearing is called "eau de employed." In this economy, honey, you may have forgotten what a man who holds a job actually smells like.

And come on, Miss Dainty Doily, how over-refined have you Texas attorneys become? Since when does a little tang banish "the best guy who's ever come along?"

Grab him by the ears and say, "Dude. Kill the baby smooches. I’m gonna show you how I like to be kissed." And when he leans in to begin the lesson, hold up your hand, smile and whisper: "Ahhhhhh — not so fast, you bewitching animal! Your man scent is a little too intoxicating for me. So look what I found . . . " And here hand him a box of hand-soaps, shampoos, and aftershaves. (If you're the high-strung Gossip Girl type — and aren't we all? — drive home your point by removing the top from the aftershave, sniffing and staggering backwards with your hand fluttering at your heart. He'll get the picture.)

A woman can always — always! — improve a "kind, generous, sweet" man because he wants to please you. Indeed, I once scrubbed down one of my husbands in vinegar and drove him around with his head hanging out the window till he dried off.

P.S. If you've washed him up and still want to wash him out, re-gift him to the ladies on and chalk it up to a bad case of the "McClintocks." Martha McClintock, PhD, of the University of Chicago, has discovered that you're a sucker for gentlemen who smell like you do, but not exactly like you do; and you go wild for a fellow who smells like your dad, but not precisely like your dad. The theory is you will choose a mate with an immune system which will give your offspring a better chance in life.

But to hell with Martha! You have 50 or 60 years worth of olfactory foul-ups and fun in front of you.

To see more advice from E. Jean, visit Elle magazine and

Join The Conversation
Allytta Allytta 8 years
wow, you're one mean bitch. why would you even go out with him then? i don't even dance with guys in clubs if i'm not satisfied with their odour. it's very important and obviuosly can ruin relationships.
Janine22 Janine22 8 years
I don't get it. Does he have B.O. or is it that you just don't like his general smell? In any case, you should not hate it when someone you are dating is affectionate to you. I really think that he is just not the right person for you.
khadeekiinsz khadeekiinsz 8 years
Okay...she def. doesn't like this guy.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
Aw, I feel bad for this guy too! It doesn't sound like this woman even LIKES him...she avoids kissing him at all costs? Look, if there's something that bugs you about your guy and you want to stay with him, fix the one thing that bugs you and stay in the relationship. When I met my husband, I hated, HATED his hair. I thought it was the geekiest, most unflattering haircut I suggested we get it cut. I promised him that I would pick a haircut that would be a lot "easier to maintain" and I told the stylist how to cut it. It looked fantastic and he always gets it cut that way now. So if the ONLY thing that bugs you about this guy is the way he smells, find a cologne/deodorant/body spray/whatever that you love and tell him he'd smell sexy with it on. But somehow I doubt that's all that's wrong with this guy to her.
caryatid caryatid 8 years
i'm putting my faith in martha (she's my old prof!) for this one... dump the guy, you shouldn't be with someone who grosses you out, wtf?
taramilk taramilk 8 years
some men would smell delicious to us, and some men would just make us scream "B.O!". If you can love his smell, you can live your life with him, if you can't, then you are not compatible. They don't say "we got chemistry" for nothing. that's why some people suggest not wearing perfume, because the love of your life might have past by you, but couldn't "smell" you.
pharm_chick pharm_chick 8 years
haha i read this yesterday in my elle, and i was cracking up on the bus. perhaps that explains the weird looks by the other passengers lol
pippins_halfling pippins_halfling 8 years
This would honestly be a deal-breaker for me. You have to like how your man smells.
hithatsmybike hithatsmybike 8 years
Break up. If he smells bad to you, you're not attracted to him -- no matter how well you've lied to yourself thus far. Hanging on to him because he's employed is some of the worst advice I've seen (and sometimes it gets really bad on the web). Was it a joke?
urban-chic-101 urban-chic-101 8 years
Omg... this woman obviously does not like this guy! Why doesn't she just break up with him already. It is obvious that she is not attracted to him just by his scent. The pheromones she is smelling are not enticing her him, in fact they're repelling her from him. Just be done with it all ready.
RunninginBoston RunninginBoston 8 years
I don't have any advice, but I have to say, the question seems too smoothly phrased to be from the OP. Do Sugar and E. Jean. edit the questions? And sheesh, the woman is a lawyer. Why date a guy just 'cause he's employed.? She doesn't need a sugar daddy.
geebers geebers 8 years
Seriously you are NOT into this guy. You are making fun of him and you totally are disgusted by him. I think this poor guy deserves SO much better. Jeez - I feel bad for him.
notinthemood notinthemood 8 years
'But in conversations with friends, I refer to him as a "smothering barnacle." ' Hello?! Who do you think you are... too good to be nice? Why would you trash talk a great guy to your friends?! You don't even respect this guy! Do him a favor and let him go! When girls say their boyfriends are rude to them when they are around their friends, we unanimously say, "Dump him!" We all know that a relationship without respect is like a garden without seeds... something might grow there, but it's probably nothing good.
Fallen85 Fallen85 8 years
If you dislike him soley because of scent then take E.Jeans advice and buy him some deodorant, cologne etc that YOU like. If it runs deeper then that then truthfully look at your future. Do you picture him by your side 10yrs from now giving your children baby kisses on their foreheads? Can you image waking up next to him and snuggling that repulsive smelling chest of his? If not then let him go. Let him find someone who actually likes him before you mess up his self esteem and turn him into one of those "woman hating" jerks we've all been with.
Colleeninator Colleeninator 8 years
I think the important part here is where she says "he'd probably smell irresistible to some other gal who actually loved him", implying that she doesn't.
edc edc 8 years
This is the person who gives women a bad name. If you have to ask the question should I dump him, you already know the answer. You just want someone to agree with you so you can blame them for you not having a guy.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
You WANT to love this guy, but, you just don't. Don't try to force it. Hopefully you're not as desperate as E. Jean seems to think you are - who would want to settle for a guy who looks good on paper but with whom you have no chemistry? Talk about a sad and unfulfilling life waiting to happen.
tomatoshirt tomatoshirt 8 years
Are you sure you even like this guy? You said "though he'd probably smell irresistible to some other gal who actually loved him." Who actually loved him? Well ...
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 8 years
I disagree that you should stick with him just because he's employed. It sounds like you're just not attracted to him for whatever reason, and if you don't see yourself in it for the long haul, why bother? It's certainly not because of the chemistry. Let him go so he can find a woman who finds him attractive.
designerel designerel 8 years
I have heard about that study done where if a guy smells like a family member of yours, you automatically find him repulsive-smelling. But I guess I am a bit confused about how he "smells." Is it because he doesn't shower enough, or wears bad cologne? If it's the former, I'd suggest getting him to take showers with you so he can kind of associate showers with sex, in a sense.... If it's the latter... surprise him with a GOOD cologne? And talk to him about the kissing thing if it bothers you that much. Tell him you prefer neck (insert whatever kiss of choice here) kisses or whatever.
greenapples1987 greenapples1987 8 years
sweety this is no reason to break up with your guy!! i agree with e.jeans answer! i suggest you take him shopping with you and while you're out, suggest a few products that he should pick up while you're at the store. as far as the kisses, just do like e.jean said, tell him what you like..your guy only wants to please you, right?!
CarleyCod CarleyCod 8 years
I have felt the same way, but consider you may be feeling this due to the pregnancy hormone. Yes, you may want to scratch your mans eyes out because your pregnant! When i felt extreme annoynace and irritability it was because of that. So...maybe he isnt so bad and its really just you and your hormones?
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