Words of warning and welcome:

This is very much my blog, so don't be surprised if this doesn't follow accepted patterns and norms. Obviously it started out as a blog about my cross-dressing but it has developed a great deal since then. It is a place where I can be anonymous and honest, and I appreciate that.

It will deal with many things and new readers would do well to check out the New Readers' Page above this and the tag down there on the right. Although there's nothing too bad in here there will be adult language, so be careful. If you think this needs a greater control, please let me know. Thank you!

Thursday, 16 May 2013


It was lunch time, I had arranged to pick up some notes from my room for some students and we were on our way to my room to get them when my boss stopped me and ushered me into the office. She explained that a sensitive and important matter had come up in the same tone she once used to accuse me of trying to get her sacked (a ridiculous claim, though I had a copy of the lesson observation made in her job interview, it is true). Thus it was with somewhat loosened bowels, a dry throat and shaking hands that I shoo-ed my students away and let my boss shut the office door. Some students had been talking at break, she said, and it was an important issue. My mind was racing: what could I have said that would be misinterpreted? Had I told an inappropriate joke to the wrong set? Had I said something terrible inadvertently (once, in 2004, I had said that Warsaw was 'breast-shaped' and had been bitten off by Germany in the First World War to my 18 year olds, one of the students, it turned out, had a mother who had been slated that day for a masectomy and so lodged an official complaint against me) or had I done something wrong?

Yes, it did lead me to do the completely useless and pointless
smelling of my armpits. If I wasn't able to detect an odour
beforehand, shoving my nose there won't make a difference!
No. They had been discussing, in my boss's words, "your odour problem". My boss explained that she had had a harsh word with them but wanted me to know because "kids can be pretty cruel" and it was a "sensitive subject". I noted that she was keeping her distance. I asked if this was a genuine problem. She said "Yes, actually."

"Oh," I said, "Now?"

She screwed up her face and nodded, "It's pretty bad."

"Oh," I had a bath this morning! "I guess I'd better get a stronger deodorant then."

"It would be a start."

"Um. Well, I guess... Thank you. Look, if it is that ba-"

"It is."

"Oh, if so, you should have said before now."

"No worries. Maybe have a wash?"

"I..." By this point I was visibly shaking. "I had a bath this morning."

"Hmm, well, I thought you ought to know." And with that we both left.

Is it time to accept things, shave off my armpit hair and get
some roll-on? That way we can apply directly to the area,
block the pores with industrial strength stuff and then avoid
'trapped sweat' which I am led to believe is why women shave
under there in the first place.
I asked some other colleagues at the staff room, they claimed I did not smell. Or, at least, they couldn't smell me. Now, don't get me wrong, my feet reek. Badly. And after a curry I can trump like a trooper for days and I know they stink. I know that I can get sweaty on a hot day and I have halitosis sometimes depending on what I had for lunch. I know that Tilly can tell what I've eaten some days simply through my body odour. I am a little aware of it. But I also wear strong deodorant and, not having the option of a shower every morning, sponge bath my body each morning with a bath every now and again (approximately every three days at the moment). I can honestly say that I was not prepared for the exchange and I still have no idea what I think about it. I know I feel something but I have no idea what that feeling is or what it should be.

Tilly claims she can't really smell me any more than usual and that I can smell much worse. In effect, she says I am at my least smelly at the moment. I know my feet are bad, but so long as I keep my shoes on that's not noticeable (I can smell my feet better than most people. Following an incident where I was asked to put my shoes back on by customer complaint via bar staff in a bar from about fifty feet away I've got pretty good at spotting whether or not my feet are bad), so I'm pretty certain it wasn't my feet.

Thing is, I have no idea if the students in question had been taught by me that morning, before break, or not. I don't know who they were or precisely what they said. The revelation that my boss, who thinks I'm pretty shit at most of my job anyway, also considers me smelly and unkempt is... I don't know. I don't like it. Should I be out-raged? Or is this something I should be doing more to combat? I don't know.


  1. Joanna,

    I'm sorry to hear that this happened. No matter how well it's handled, it's always terribly embarrassing to be told that you 'smell'.

    Do you use cologne? I know when I was younger (through most of college), I used cologne only sparingly... for special occasions or dates. But after being told one that I smell (by a friend), I started to use it regularly. In my case it's a cheap musky cologne that happens to mix well with my own body odor and deodorant.

    Since I started making the cologne a daily thing I haven't been told that I smell bad (well... when I work hard and sweat a lot it happens, but it's expected then). I'll admit that I use a lot of it, but that's mainly because it's cheap. When I first put it on there is a cloud of musk surrounding me, but after a half hour or so it mostly wears off and just goes to the background.

    Just a thought.


    1. Hi Caitlyn,

      Thank you for the comment, it was helpful!

      No, I don't currently wear cologne. I've never been comfortable with it and it's taken me many years to wear deodourant - hence my confusion. I started wearing it about five years ago, before then I wore nothing and never got told I was smelly at work or in company - unless I took my shoes off.

      Indeed, I had assumed that Tilly was just uber-sensitive. After I took my feet to the doctor's and asked about body odour and they went out of their way to assure me I didn't smell at all and that the problem was likely Tilly's about four years ago. I wasn't wearing dedourant that day and it was a hot summer's day too - sweating like a pig!

      I shall look into cologne.

      Thank you, and love in return,

      Joanna x

  2. Joanna, I would highly recommend shaving your armpits. I have been doing so for maybe seven or eight years now. My pits stay much drier now, as there's no hair to hold the moisture. Likewise, the bacteria that cause the odor don't have a place to reside. It's a miracle cure!

    It took my wife over three years to even realize that I was shaving my pits. She thought it oddly feminine, and disliked it intensely for a bit, but it doesn't come up any more.

    That's just my experience. Maybe it'll help you.


    1. Leslie, you have no idea how much I want to just take your advice and get on and do it. But not for the sweat thing so much, though I am sure it would help.

      I am tempted to experiment and try it for a week or two to see what difference it makes to my quality of life, however, as it seems hairless pits would be a nice idea generally. The research I have seen, and I can't recall any references alas (bad historian, bad), suggests that hairless pits are no less sweaty and/or stinky than hairy ones however - there's a reason Germans and the French tend not to bother societally (not a word).

      I'm in a very funny mood of late but thank you for your comment, it is good to hear from you as always!


      Joanna x


All comments are welcome, I have a thicker skin virtually than I do in real life!