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Or, "Foxes and Frizzies"

So, Whines got me hooked on a furry mush, and I've been playing a little college-age dog character who's been working in fast food for a while. One of his personal issues is that he doesn't much like his job, wants to be a real chef, but bailed on the culinary school he was attending, and now he works at a "taco shack" type place.

So...here's some assumptions I have about an anthro critter society. Natural smells are okay, within reason. So a healthy critter could go a week between baths or more, if he took care of some very basic grooming, and that an anthro dog would smell fairly doggy. Something that's sick and smells abnormally unpleasant might be a different case. Two, that anthro characters have strong senses of smell--maybe not as good as a real animal's, but better than human.

One thing that marks someone as being physically attractive tends to be an absense of working-class characteristics. So...in the Victorian era, attractive people had elaborate dresses that were difficult to put on, gentlemen had light builds, not heavily muscled, and smooth hands would have been a mark of gentility. Now, someone that can take the time to take care of their body tends to be attractive--so good muscle definition, trim figures.

Extending that to my character, who chronically smells like a Taco Bell kitchen and doesn't like it--if you had a job that marked you as a lower-class person--assembly line work, fast food, sanitation--those smells would cling to you. Presumably, you wouldn't want them on you, if you were trying to present yourself well--you wouldn't want to go to a formal party smelling like industrial pine-sol--but animals that get too-regular baths get skin problems, dry fur, and so on.

So...with my two assumptions above (I think they're pretty reasonable), would bathing carry a negative status class? Would someone whose job was so low-key physically as to let them wear their natural smell seem more attractive than someone who felt they had to get the work-day smell out of their coats? Would some sort of racially appropriate conditioner seem trashy?

The biggest assumption I'm making here is that an anthro character that smelled "bad" (a very human concept) would care. Certainly, our german shepherd doesn't mind smelling like she rolled in poo, because she does. But anthro characters are half-human, and probably have a sense for class, for status, for presenting themselves and their social standing. Dogs are heirarchical and status-concerned, most social carnivores establish pecking orders.

Anyway, that's all, just thinking about whether my character would feel better about taking a shower after a day slinging tacos, or whether that would make him feel worse. Would a shower make a dog feel dirty?


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 4th, 2007 03:09 pm (UTC)
I've been playing a little college-age dog character who's been working in fast food for a while. One of his personal issues is that he doesn't much like his job, wants to be a real chef, but bailed on the culinary school he was attending, and now he works at a "taco shack" type place.

Except for the dog part, this accurately describes one of my co-workers from McDonald's years ago. He also liked Broadway musicals, so while he worked he had this habit of singing a little snatch from Les Miserables' "Master of the House": "Food beyond compare, food beyond belief, mix it all together and pretend it's beef!"
Oct. 5th, 2007 01:50 am (UTC)
That's not something I want to hear my fast food employees singing! :)
Oct. 5th, 2007 12:21 pm (UTC)
Especially when they're working the grill ;?)
Oct. 4th, 2007 03:43 pm (UTC)
Challenging problem. And a great detail for any story you may be writing.

Solution isn't to bathe more often, but to bathe just before the event and then wear a cologne or perfume to mask what stench remains. Perfume was created in RL because people believed baths were unhealthy in medival Europe so perfume was created to mask the BO. Polite society in your world could easily follow a similar model, perfume following a bath.
Oct. 4th, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure that would work. Perfume would still be status-class: high class, since it was a luxury item. In this case, human BO was low-class, spices and perfumes were high-class.

However, if you're assuming that natural odors are appealing, but that scent can be a marker of a low-status job or lifestyle, then perfumes would be what poor folks and working-class stiffs use to gussy themselves up (For example, in early 1800s England, the poor loved bright colors for their fancy duds, but the aristocracy was wearing subdued tans, following the trend of the monarch--seperate fashion standards for seperate class levels--but still obviously status-classed).

I could imagine that anthros with more spare time--or wishing to cultivate that image--might take conditioner baths occasionally that don't clash with their natural oils (looking at the $20 conditioners you can pick up, this doesn't seem out of the question).
Oct. 4th, 2007 06:03 pm (UTC)
I actually think perfumes would be far less prevalent. For the simple fact that some species have far more sensative noses than others. Even in my office we're told not to wear colognes and perfumes as some people are allergic to them. If you had, say a primate of some sort putting on cologne what would smell reasonable to them would be possibly unbearable to the dog standing next to him.

That being said since a large percentage of animals don't sweat they would have less of a problem with exertion causing BO and bathing might end up being more a function of keeping fur unmatted and nice looking rather than scent control for most furs.
Oct. 4th, 2007 06:23 pm (UTC)
*nod* I kind of think large bottles of conditioner-type-stuff--maybe with some natural fragrance, but nothing that would really cover up smells--would be more the rule rather than harsh detergents. A lot of people with intensely curly hair just use conditioner and only actually "wash" their hair a few times a month, rather than looking like a giant cotton ball of fluff.
Oct. 4th, 2007 03:54 pm (UTC)
In a mixed species anthro society, especially one with both prey and predator animals I think bathing of SOME sort would be common though certainly not to the extent that humans do (for one thing, having to dry all that fur!)

But I suspect the muskier animals, such as foxes, skunks and such would bathe more as would the prey on the assumption that the stronger you smell like yourself the more you smell like food as well. If the society were homogenized among species I might give a very different answer but since one animal's musk is either another's bad smell or 'hey dinner' I imagine hygenie would be pretty important.

And I do think you're right, any job that would make you smell very strongly different would probably be looked down on far more than even in the real world.
Oct. 4th, 2007 03:59 pm (UTC)
That gets into the difficult territory of "carnivore vs. herbivore relationships between sentient anthropomorphic creatures." I do NOT want to open that can of tofu, thanks :)

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )