Dear Annie: Can anyone tell me why old men (over 60) don't or won't shower or put on clean clothes?
I have several older male friends who smell so bad that we don't want to be any closer than 12 feet. And they wear the same clothes for weeks until the clothes almost fall off their bodies. When they come to visit, the furniture where they sit smells for a couple of days, and the same thing happens when they ride in my car. And going into a store with them is embarrassing. They look like homeless bums.
These men are not stupid. They are educated and intelligent and had good jobs with good paychecks. With the warm weather coming, I know it's going to be really bad. They have families and other friends, but these people either have no problem with the smell or they don't see the men often enough to be aware of how bad it is.
These men all live alone and their homes are filthy. They aren't under a doctor's care or living in a nursing home, so they don't have medical problems that make them smell like this. -- Wondering
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Dear Wondering: We appreciate that you are friends with these men, but your letter is so filled with insulting generalizations that we hardly know where to begin. First, 60 is not "old." You'll be there sooner than you think. Second, most men that age shower regularly and smell perfectly fine. So it seems your particular problem is about specific men who happen to live alone. We assume these men used to live with someone who did their housekeeping and laundry, and reminded them about hygiene.
If you know the family members, you should ask one of them to talk to their relative about this. Perhaps they (or you) would be willing to go to their homes and toss in a load of laundry, vacuum or wash some dishes. Or give them the name and phone number of a cleaning service and suggest they set up a regular schedule. We assure you, these men have no idea that they have an unpleasant odor and would be mortified to realize that others notice. Please be kind enough to intervene.
Dear Annie: The list that "Dover, Pennsylvania" asked you to print is a bit dated. He said a wife should know how to change a fuse. My house is 50 years old and has circuit breakers, which are clearly labeled. Also, a spouse who doesn't handle the finances needs to know which bills repeat and how they are paid. Are they paid online? Are the payments automatic? Does he use specific software, like Quicken? How do you use the program? What are the passwords?
In addition, as the wives of my deceased Lodge brothers found out, you should have the names and phone numbers of a good plumber, an honest electrician, a roof repairman, an appliance repairman, a carpenter/home repairman and a handyman.
They say a woman's work is never done. Neither is mine. -- A Husband in the Hudson Valley
Dear Husband: We suspect "Dover's" house still has fuse boxes, but most places have circuit breakers. And a great many bills are paid online, some automatically. Both spouses should know how this is done, along with every single password for logging onto the computer and into the appropriate accounts.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailboxcreators.com or write to Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies.
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