Drying myself off with a smelly towel.

The other day as I was getting ready for work, I walked back into the bathroom to brush my teeth and noticed a horrible smell. Yuck! I looked around accusingly, and my eyes landed on the very towel I used (just twenty minutes before) to dry off my freshly showered body. 

Not only that, but I gave my arm a sniff and I smelled exactly like the towel does! Eww!

(Just to clarify, I'm a clean person. I shower every day, I keep my house clean, and I rotate out my towel every two or three days.)  

I was horrified. I had a meeting in twenty minutes so I didn't have time to jump back into the shower. So what did I do? I spent the whole day wondering if others could tell that I smelled like a stinky towel. Whenever I walked by one of my co-workers, I was afraid they would catch a whiff of me and think of me as "one of those unclean people."

Since then I'm this freak who is constantly smelling her towels. I do it before I shower, before I dry myself off, and even throughout the day when I'm just using the bathroom. I even smell my hand towels now.

So that is my story, I'm pretty sure I feel disempowered. 



Linda! Yes, this is a great example of feeling disempowered. Your stinkiness was completely of your own doing and caused you to feel awkward in the presence of others. You might be asking yourself, "why didn't I just smell the towel as I was using it? How could I have dried off my face (MY FACE!) without noticing that stench?!" For whatever reason, you didn't do either of these things that would have averted your disempowerment. Knowing that you could have simply made a different choice that would have lead to a better outcome is disempowering. 

Curry sauce on my shirt

So I'm out to lunch the other day at a Thai restaurant and I'm eating one of those creamy, red coconut curries when a piece of baby corn falls from my fork and tumbles down the front of my shirt, leaving greasy, red, wet marks on its way to the floor. I just HAPPENED to be wearing my favorite white, linen shirt to lunch so I could impress the woman with whom I was on a first date. My first response to myself was, "fuck, why didn't I stab that baby corn instead of trying to shovel it into my mouth?"

Since I was on a first date and didn't want to make a bad impression, I just said, "I didn't really like this shirt anyway," which was the farthest thing from the truth. So now I'm faced with a quandary. Do I just dab and wipe at the red splotches on my shirt with a dry napkin, do I dunk my napkin in my glass and dab at it or do I go to the bathroom to try to sort myself out? I chose to go to the bathroom. 

When I came out of the bathroom, I had three round wet splotches on my shirt, each the size of a golf ball, and my shirt was sticking to my chest in those three spots. Not only that, but there was still a dull orange hue from the red curry that formed a ring around each wet spot because the little granules of curry had embedded themselves deep into the pores of the fabric.  I felt like a complete jackass.


You were disempowered in a multitude of ways on this, my friend.  First, you would like to think that you would have the whole "eating" thing figured out by now. I mean how many thousands of meals have you eaten in your life thus far? You would think that you would be a good judge of what food can be shoveled and what needs stabbing with a fork by this point in your life, right?

Second, your favorite linen shirt is probably a goner. The combination of oily coconut milk and red curry will probably render that shirt useless except as a rag. We all need a shirt that hangs just right, accentuates our curves and complexion and gives us that extra wind in our sails. To see that favorite garment soiled and stained is the epitome of feeling disempowered. And the very thought of scrubbing that linen shirt or paying to have it professionally cleaned is even more disempowering because you know that further attempts will be futile.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, your experience of disempowerment happened in relationship, on a first date for crying out loud! Doing something stupid when no one is watching is embarrassing, but having a witness to our inevitable foibles makes us feel like dirt. Not only did you not make the good impression you were hoping to make, but you also looked like a doofus instead. We all want to look good in front of other people, especially when we want to get in the other person's pants. God owes us that much, right?