DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is there a polite way to call attention to a stranger’s shoe odor?
When my wife and I went to an afternoon movie, a couple came and sat down next to us, the man on my left. After a few moments, he crossed his left leg over his knee, putting his left foot closer to me.
Within moments, I was besieged with a truly horrible odor from his sneakers. I moved to my wife’s right, leaving an empty seat to her left. After a minute, she, too, said enough is enough, and we moved together to a couple of rows back, with little inconvenience, in that it was a lightly attended show.
Would there have been a polite way to let this person know of this issue?
GENTLE READER: Even if there were, you would then likely have to endure either an unpleasant conversation or witness his trying to fix it -- with more of a social obligation to stay put whilst doing so. Removing yourself from the situation solved your problem. Let us leave it at that.
Miss Manners suspects that once this man realizes that there are consistently empty seats surrounding him in public places, he will take measures to solve the problem. Or enjoy all of the newfound extra room.