Unqualified With J. Harvey: People Need To Realize That Cubicles Are Enclosed Areas

March 25th, 2008 // 14 Comments

Last week’s column caused all sorts of controversy about the role of bridesmaids, exactly how much you should spend on a bachelorette party and how some sisters will f*ck with your dress on their wedding day to make you look bad. Things got heated! I love opening a dialogue! These week’s e-mail is from a girl with a stank co-worker. And I don’t mean personality-wise. Keep reading….

Dear J,

A woman I work with drinks these protein shakes that give her gas. Be for they switched our cubicles around it use to affect me a lot. So much so that I went to my manager to complain (nothing was done). It was horrible! Now that they changed things around I thought that I was in the clear, until I was walking back to my desk on doughnut day with my chocolate bar and hot chocolate when BAM I ran straight into it. It was like hitting a brick wall of stench! It’s so bad that other people in the office are staring to smell it and make comments and jokes. She really is a sweet woman and I want to tell her, but I don’t have the heart. Can you help?


Dear Jessica,

That’s a tough sitch. And I can’t believe I keep getting these e-mails that ask me how to deal with other people’s bodily functions. I’m already queasy. I hate the idea that woman have gas. You people are supposed to be the fairer sex. It’s bad enough dealing with the boyfriend’s fart trumpet. Nasty bitch.

Anyway, I would go to see your manager a second time. You shouldn’t be exposed to that. Capt. Useless probably thought it would blow over (so to speak) if you got it off your chest, and probably had no idea how to approach the lady himself. Envision this conversation:

Capt. Useless: Uh, hi, Marie. I just need to talk to you about a little problem we’re having.

Marie: Of course! What’s up?

Capt. Useless: Well, uh, a couple of the people out on the floor have come to me with…well, it seems as though there’s a certain…smell…out near Jessica’s cubicle?

Marie: (smiles quizzically, has no idea, that’s what makes this so painful)

Capt. Useless: A smell…your power bars. You see…a cloud.

Marie: Yes?

Capt. Useless: Cut down on the protein shakes, your farts reek like death.


That’s what Capt. Useless is probably scared of. If he does nothing the second time, you have the option to go to Human Resources. They HAVE to follow up on every complaint. But if she’s a sweet lady, really sweet, ask her to coffee some day. Be direct, but kind about it. Tell Marie what’s up. She’ll probably thank you for calling it to her attention. Hell, tell her to have a steak or something if she needs that much protein.

If that doesn’t work, pointedly use scented candles around your desk. When you’re sited for a fire hazard, point to Marie and say “well, so is her ass if I light a match!”

That was tough for me. I hate the bowel stuff. Please continue sending me love, sweet love to harvey.advice@gmail.com! I LOVE YOUR E-MAILS!

Note to our readers, J. Harvey is in no way a counselor, advisor, professional, priest, or in any way qualified to be giving out advice. Please take it with a grain of salt and a sense of humor. In other words, don’t sue.

By J. Harvey

  1. green cardigan

    Jessica and a colleague should have a loud conversation on coffee break one day, (within ear shot of Ms.Methane) about their latest diets, friend’s diets, weight, size…you know the usual and in the middle of it all the colleague should ask Jessica if the protein shake diet works and Jessica should reply ‘don’t think so, and there are really bad side affects, I had this friend who tried it and her farts were so bad that her husband died for methane poisoning’….or something to that effect.

    Then they could look around , go ‘Oh God! what’s that smell’ before gagging into their hankies.

  2. DruNken LauRen

    j, my man… you hit that one right on the head. you need no comments from me….

    ah…. my little boy (j.) is all growned up and will not need me anymore, your comments on this one were perfecto mundo.

    (soon to be Mrs. Step-Momma-Spears)

  3. Krystyn

    well now my Capt Useless is going to have to have a talk with me because I literally just pissed myself in my cube from laughing so hard.

    Oh, and I hazard a guess that the stank coworker (Marie if you will) is older than 45. Women under 45 don’t actually have gas, like you said J Harvey, we’re still sexy bitches. LMAO!

  4. Red ginger

    I had that problem although not so bad. It was lactose intolerance. Sicne I started drinking soy I don’t think I have the problem. In anycase I don’t drink protein shkaes anymore.

  5. princess

    dude, you are too funny, i know how you hate to talk about poops/farts and that crap hahaha

  6. The Gal J

    The direct route. Wow. I’m impressed. Me? I say leave a typed note, after dark, in all black and then deny deny deny.
    That way nobody is embarrassed and hopefully the message gets across.

  7. rutsa

    I think she should drop off a box of Gas-X with an anonymous note.

  8. Applespice

    I really like Rusta’s idea! (Working in a cube all day, I’ve pondered things to do co-workers to give them ‘the hint’ that something’s wrong with themselves).

    You might try speaking with your H.R. team, they’re not only trained to deal with stuff like this, it’s their job to

    Worse comes to worse- buy a fan and aim it at her cube and make her choke to death on her own stench.

  9. Xicana

    Oh God! I had that happen to me in law school. TWICE! First year property class I sat next to a guy who was from Jersey and totally looked the part. Wore sweatpant suits, with the jacket open to reveal a white tank top and chain. And he had a huge step in his hair. And this was in 2004. Anyway, he was pretty buff and always drank protein shakes during class. At first I thought that I might be smelling manure. But to my horror, I realized that it was his noxious farts! And to make matters worse, I couldn’t move seats because the place was packed and we were given assigned seats.

    Then again in second year law school I purposely avoided fart boy to sit next to this guy in my Constitutional Law course that seemed like he did not work out at all. I thought I was safe. But I swear to you, his farts were ten times worse! My sister had suggested that I bring in fabreeze and spray him every time he farted. But I didn’t have the heart.

    So I think the direct route is the best. Let supervisors know what’s up. And hope they do something about it.

  10. Jim

    Leave a nice card on her desk: “Roses are red, violets are blue, you’re real sweet, but your farts… WHOOO!!!!”

  11. T-Bone

    There used to be an online site called, “Just a Tip”, and you could anonymously e-mail “tips” to people. I don’t think they’re in business anymore, but I’m certain there are other sites that do this. You could say something subtle like,
    “You’re a nice coworker, but you stink like h*ll because of your ridiculous protein shakes”.
    That should do it :)

  12. Bleecker

    The fact that she has been letting her farts fly for over a year is not only disgusting, it’s rude. Therefore, I am all for Rusta’s suggestion of Gas-X with an anonymous note. The farter knows she farts, she can smell her own farts, and she probably revels in the sticky cloud that emits from her ass.

    Give her an Easter Basket choc full of Gas-X and some of those silicone air fresheners with a strap-on holster so she can strap one of those suckers right over her sphincter.

    If no one has the balls to leave her a strap-on air freshener kit, report the problem to HR. They are trained to mechanically follow rules and clinically handle any uncomfortable situation, just like this one.

  13. Harry

    I’m still remembering your response to the barrage of poems about the dance-floor flatulator, Jay. There, I mixed weddings AND bowels. *evil grin*

  14. beansfordinner

    Well J. Harvey, I think you got that one wrong…if you think she doesn’t know her gas reeks, then you must think that she puts her butt plug up her nose. Of course she knows her farts stink. The fact that she keeps letting them rip indicates that she doesn’t care that the EPA’s gonna come and tent her soon. If I worked there, you’d bet I’d make a comment from my cubicle along the lines of “oh snap, what crawled up your ass and died?”

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