Subject: Our Coworker Has A Body Odor Problem
Dear Steve and Shirley
For quite some time now I and some of my female black co-workers have been discussing a very delicate problem. We are all women in our fifties who thought we could deal with just about anything. However, a little over a year ago we got a new co-worker (also a black female) who has a severe problem with personal hygiene. She wears unkept clothes that cling to her in the most unflattering way, dirty sneakers and stretched-out slouch socks. Her hair needs to be, at the very least, washed and combed — (we’ve given up on her using a straightening comb or getting a perm or well maintained natural hairstyle). Last but not least and to add insult to injury, she has unpleasant body odors — some days it smells like urine, and some days it smells like unbathed women do at a certain time of the month. We have discussed over and over various possible ways to talk to her about this. We feel embarrassed for her and want to approach her before one of our white co-workers decide to do so. We feel strongly that this should come from one of us. This woman is in her 40’s, is quite intelligent, has a wonderfully pleasant personality, speaks articulately, and she possesses an obvious natural beauty under all of that negative stuff. Please help us Steve and Shirley. We don’t know how to proceed in a kind and gentle way. I would even be willing to take her shopping for several decent outfits suitable for working in our professional high profile office.
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