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The Sniff Test

Sort 280 gives bachelors hints on when it's time to change clothes.

by Dear Jon
October 13, 2004

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ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

Dear Jon,

A while back I started writing a music column for an website. The idea behind the column was to write about music I liked and answer questions of a musical nature asked by my readers. Unfortunately, this has evolved into people only asking me about music in car commercials and music containing subliminal messages. Is there a way I can reverse this trend so that people ask me about ANYTHING else?

Sincerely,
Dr. Spin
 
Dear Spin,
 
Last sort I answered a “question I wish I had been asked.” I suggest you follow the same ploy. Suppose by next sort some idiot writes:
 
Dear Dr. Spin. You are a naïve twit for believing that back-masking never happens. I have it on good authority that in his “Here Comes the Sun” on Abbey Road©, George Harrison tells us backwards that “Hare Krishna is Satan and commands you to eat your children.” What do you think of that?
 
You can answer the question you wish you had been asked. Launch into a Jungian reading of the opera “Tommy” by The Who, in which various archetypal figures are brought down from the myth realm to the rock realm.

 
ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

Dear Jon,

Is the purpose of an escalator to ease and speed up the walking up of steps, or to replace the walking up of steps altogether. In other words, I understand why old people and people with numerous heavy bags do not walk up escalators, but what's the excuse for young, unencumbered people?

Sincerely,
Impatient
 
Dear Impatient,
 
Relax and enjoy the ride, dude.

 
ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

Dear Jon,
How often do people wear the same clothes before washing them? I'm not talking about socks and undergarments, but slacks, jeans, and shirts seemingly unaffected by stains and sweat?

Sincerely,
Clueless bachelor
 
Dear Bachelor (the “Clueless” goes without saying),
 
I am curious: What assumption do you have about changing socks and undergarments?
 
For pants and shirts the key word is “seemingly.” Most bachelors are not keen on determining what is affected or unaffected by stains and sweat. While some men sweat more heavily than others, the rule of thumb is that shirts should not be worn more than one day in a row. Those who sweat more need to change their shirts more often than once a day.
 
Sweaters and suit jackets that are taken on and off throughout a day can be worn more than one day.
 
For pants, it really all depends. (Do you use Depends®?) The combination of temperature, activity, and fabric can mean the difference between using a pair three different days, or changing pants the same day.
 
What you need to employ is the “sniff” test. I am not referring to the ankle cuffs, either. Think to yourself, “Do I want people who stand close to me to discover that I have B.O.? Will these pants make people think that I do?”
 
Unless you secrete mint and cologne, the sniff test should make you wash more rather than less. If you are still not sure, and you have a sister in close proximity, put on your clothes, stand within five feet of your sister, and ask if you smell. Unless you are really from some kind of freaked-out family, she will not be polite at all when you have given explicit permission to be brutally honest. Also, unless you are from a REALLY freaked-out family, she won’t agree to sniff your pants for you.
 
These are two different kinds of freaked-out families. One is where the boundaries are set so high they are unscalable walls, and the other is where no boundaries exist at all. Functional families operate in the middle. In a functional family, your sister will either be honest or mean, but you will know that you should change your clothes just to be safe.
 
For going out socially, whether with friends or a romantic interest, always put on fresh clothes. Whether you need to shower first depends on your body chemistry, but always think about being safe rather than sorry.
 
Once you have married your romantic interest, she will quickly realize that you have only followed the advice about wearing fresh clothes to go out. She will begin to work on civilizing the rest of you.

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