When a young man found himself in a sticky situation that only seemed to get worse, he (u/hiti72) came to Reddit for advice (or perhaps just to vent). He realized that by being the nice guy, he majorly f*cked up. Here is his full story:
TIFU (Today I f*cked up) by telling my zookeeper girlfriend not to worry so much about her hygiene...
I (25M) have been dating this woman (22f) for a few months now, and honestly we get along really well. About a month ago, I met her for dinner one night at a semi-fancy restaurant around 6pm. She arrived a little bit late, and was really apologetic saying 'Oh gosh sorry, I probably smell so funky right now, I tried by best to wash and scrub but I know it wasn't enough.'
She was pretty stinky. She works as an animal caretaker at the zoo and had to stay late that night, so I understood. That night was the first night I really noticed her stinking of animals.
It was strong at the same table (something between old fish and a ferret cage, yuck) and rather unappetizing, but not the sort of thing you could smell across the room, so I saw no reason it should ruin the dinner.
So I tried to reassure her and said 'aw no you don't.' She said 'Oh don't lie, there's no way I smell ok right now.' So I said 'I mean I guess there's a slight smell, but it just shows you worked hard...I've never been one of those weak-stomached guys who's going to complain about that, I really don't mind, honest, I'm used to animal smells anyway.'
To my surprise her eyes lit up and she said 'Wow, really, you're serious? That's so reassuring to hear,' and starting opening up about how hard it was to make sure she always smelled good.
That she'd often have to scrub for half an hour after work to even be somewhat presentable and sometimes even that wasn't enough, changes of clothes and boots, that she had to sometimes pick which days to schedule dates with me or run errands based around her off-days, or which animals she'd be working with that day, to make sure the stink wasn't too bad...
I said 'wow, I had no idea it was that tough.' I asked how other keepers dealt with it and she said most were single or dated within the profession and it was rare to find someone like me who genuinely didn't mind! So I reassured her that yeah, she doesn't need to be overly concerned about that with me. I could tell it meant a lot to her.
But I think this turned out to be a big mistake...
Over the past month, we've seen each other more often, and she's usually smelled okay, but there have been 4 or 5 occasions where she's smelled horrible. 10-20x worse than that night in the restaurant. These have been house dates and not at restaurants/etc. I have to breathe lightly to even try to stomach it, and it really kills my mood and leaves my house reeking.
Luckily for OP, Reddit seemed to have a lot of experience in this department.
As a zookeeper myself, I think this will be something you want to think about when it comes to the long-term future of your relationship? I never had any success dating outside the profession, and this was one reason why. Right now, she can pick and choose when to see you and center it around when she smells ok.
When you're living together though? There are going to be days when she stinks like hell. Probably much worse than anything you've experienced so far. We get the same talk from zoo guests all the time. Warning them about the strong smell at some places in a behind-the-scenes tour, and they go 'pfff, no problem.' Turns out it usually is a problem.
Will you be willing to deal with that? That are certainly some days where my husband doesn't want to be around me after work, but at least he's used to gross smells as a animal keeper himself, and understands it as a fact of life.
So, what I'm HEARING, is that once you're nose blind, you can have your pick of hot zookeepers.
Can confirm. I have a friend who works at a Zoo. You date within the profession, because no amount of cleaning, odor neutralizer, or scent product will remove that stench. ESPECIALLY if he works with otters. It would take less effort to have your nostrils surgically sealed shut for the rest of your life.
Man.. you can only have 2 options here:try to understand her work better and learn about it in the days that she is really 'hard working' as you stated you simple avoid dates-meeting! but this not gonna work moving forward in the future if you are really serious about it you will need to face it since you can not expect she to 'Leave' or live in a different house once you guys marry for example right?
so try to talk to her and be frank and come up with some form of 'safe word' situation here .. you are fine most of the time but when 'safe word' comes up is better to make things short or do separate activities for the rest of the day well if she feels offended by it is not your fault.
Tbh if I was in similar situation as her and you, I would be more than happy if my partner come up to talk to me about this 'safe word' situation instead of simple giving up because at least means she is trying and really wants to make things work together in the future instead of leaving. So try to show her you care enough instead about the possible future of your relationship with her.
Idk man, seems to me that she's a keeper.
There is no easy solution here, but honesty may be the best policy.