When Funk Finds You

by Denni Cravins

I want to share my thoughts on one of those rarely talked about, important, true life moments. We've all been there or will be at some point. Today, I want to talk about when funk finds you.

Now, first off, I need you to visualize/smell/imagine in your mind the worst, nose hair-curling funk that you have ever encountered. It could be the smell of two-week old trash or fish gone bad. Or, the smell of death, disease or boiled crawfish peels after sitting out in the sun for a day or two. Whatever the smell, it should be the kind that makes you want to take off running in the other direction. Unfortunately, if you're like me, sometimes this funk finds you in places where there is little or no place to run: the airplane and the gym, especially in a group fitness class.

I've had this happen to me on an airplane or in the airport at least three times. In the airport, I get up and move as discreetly as possible. Perhaps, I go to the restroom and then relocate myself away from the funky person. If the odor offender is sitting next to you on the plane, it's just one of those bad moments in life where you really want to cry or become invisible. I usually have something to stay warm on the airplane so my first defense is to cover my face with my shawl or jacket and hope that I can hold my breath long enough to fall asleep. If there are empty seats and you're bold enough, you should ask to be moved. I have not done this yet but as I get older and bolder I definitely think that Iíll be ready to do it in the future if/when the need arises.

So, this brings me to my most recent memory of funk. After church today, I was so excited about getting to the gym on time for the 1 p.m. spin class. I had that extra Holy Ghost excitement of getting a Sunday workout in and starting my week off high on endorphins! I was set up and ready to go when a funkster walked in with a knock-me-off-my-bike smell. And, as things go, he sat near me--there was one woman between us. I made it through the class, by trying not to look in that direction and holding my breath at certain moments. I had to wonder...If he smells this bad BEFORE class, how bad is it going to get?! I hoped and prayed no one thought the smell was coming from me.

Ok, now on to the culprits! I understand that different cultures have different views on hygiene. Personally, I like the ones that encourage at least daily showers or baths and deodorant. But, in almost all of these experiences, the funksters were Americans and had easy access to running water. Afterall, they are traveling and/or members of a gym.

Can't they smell themselves?! Don't they have friends and/or family!? I would tell my people if they smelled like toxic waste dump. If you are this person, you need to know. Everyone, please check/examine yourself and your smell. Ramp up your hygiene routine. Move to clinical strength deodorant/antiperspirant. If you have a condition, PLEASE self-isolate until you can get it under control. If you have to fly on an airplane, go to the gym or in any other way socialize with people who have noses, please seek professional, medical help.

My hope is that this public service announcement has helped you, made you laugh or will help you to have this difficult conversation with someone who needs to hear it.


When Funk Finds You by Denni Cravins

© Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.


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