Letter to the Editor: Deodorant slurs wide of the mark

Dear Editor,

Please inform Mr. Danko ["Culture Shock: Deodorant-shy Slovaks are slow to change," by Slavomír Danko, Vol. 5 No. 28, July 19 to August 1] that lying to his mother is a nasty thing (much nastier than not using deodorant).

When Mr. Danko's mother asked him "Do I smell, or what?" (a classic example of the crowd mentality), he replied "No, you don't," a merciful lie that only a Slovak could come up with. An American would have replied "Yes, Mum, like a skunk," or something of that sort. Not very polite, but frank at least.

Does Mr. Danko know that there are Slovaks who take a shower every morning, and also one in the evening? Some extremists even don't hesitate to take a shower during the day. Others have been using deodorants for decades, including me, my parents and my girlfriend.

Mr. Danko claims he doesn't "want to say that Slovaks are pigs," but as he continues in the next paragraph, "Slovak culture, although very rich and interesting, has not made room for deodorants and anti-perspirants until now." Which is it to be? If the second statement is true, then Slovaks are pigs, no doubt about it. On the other hand, if Mr. Danko is serious about not portraying his compatriots as pigs, he has to stop generalising about other people from his own hygienic history.

Andrej Winkler
Bratislava

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