Although I was out picking up milk with my also horsie niece last summer and a crabby socialite wanna-be behind her in line commented loudly and rudely how my niece and I smelled offensive. My niece mentioned loudly back "And your perfume is offensive also." Woman replied, "It's over $100 an ounce!" to which niece replied, "the horse that caused this offensive smell cost about the same and he weighs 1200 lbs!"
I loved that!
I used to stop in the grocery store in CT on my way home from the barn, and it was in a very upscale yuppie type town, and I would get looks, and didn't really care much about it.
Now, here in Ocala, it is more unusual to see someone in the store that is NOT covered in some farm dirt! At least in the store that is up here near all the farms.
I live right in the middle of a big city and I generally go to the grocery store, Petsmart etc. in riding clothes while I have the car out. I get the occasional look (more so, it seems, when I'm wearing socks and paddock boots rather than tall boots with my breeches...I guess people understand tall boots but the socks and short boots throw them) but that's it.
"A canter is a cure for every evil." -Benjamin Disraeli
I try really hard not to stop at the store after being at the barn - mostly because it's not really on the way home. Then there's the "small town factor" (even though Harrisburg doesn't really qualify as a small town -- it certainly feels that way). If I MUST stop at the store on the way home from the barn, you can all but guarantee I will see at least 5 people that I know. And those five people will all have just come from church with their perfectly groomed children while I will be in my crappiest barn clothes --- never my cute, flattering riding pants, with my nice boots and trendy shirt.
My SO -- the actual farm owner -- has lost perspective. I, at least recognize that I have horse hair or mud on me. He no longer sees it or smells it -- nor does he actually care if anyone else does. It works for him -- no one has ever said a word. (Maybe it's the height + muscle + shaved head though). Works for me.
He did take his laid back approach to new heights (or lows depending on your point of view) last night. I had just returned from a week long business trip and was feeling really crappy. He told me to come over, get in bed, and he'd go pick us up some dinner. He said the horses were all taken care of and all he needed to do yet was shower. So I get there, and he has his overalls on (and these are extremely well used -- definitely got his money's worth -- overalls) and an old knit hat. I was a tad confused until he showed me that underneath he was wearing only boxers. He had just showered but had gone back into the barn and didn't feel like actually dressing. He then proceeded to make me get settled in bed, ordered the dinner, then left to get it in the same said overalls, knit hat and boxers. It's kind of the equivalent of me going to the store in underwear and a raincoat. Thank God he lives in Grantville a mile from the track.........he would make life too interesting for the people in my neighborhood!
My general feeling is though that we need to be more tolerant of each other. Everyone is going to need a "free pass" at some time or other. There aren't many of us that have the luxury of always going out looking our best. I actually think I've gone out looking worse after working out at the gym or in the weeks after giving birth, where I was lucky to shower, dress myself AND get to the grocery store, all in the same day.
A friend of mine stopped to pick up her daughter from school after she had been to the barn to ride. Of course, she was in breeches, boots and had on a light jacket. One of the snooty moms looked at her and crinkled her nose at the "offensive" smell. My friend just looked at her and said, "It costs a lot of money to smell like this. Get over it."
It does cost a lot of money for that smell, so I don't mind going anywhere after being at the barn.
Actually a city library in New Jersey got nailed in court (in the millions as I recall) because a deranged homeless man who smelled so awful that other patrons would leave when they saw him coming in the library, and who was obnoxious in the extreme was removed from the library by the local police and banned from admittance. The supreme court said it was clear discrimination and since then you can't get rid of someone unless they commit a violent crime or the equivalent.
And I second the perfume, stinky kids, and other obnoxious people that offend all of us. I loathe the little kids on the skate shoes too, and can't believe how some people think their little darlings are cute doing things that they wouldn't stand for from other people's kids.
At least people who smell from doing work earned the smell doing something. And I love how people assume you smell bad and you are on your way to the barn (and wearing clean clothes).
After the house fire (partial and all fixed better than ever) I would come over to the house and meet with the contractor, workmen (I love my electrician/plumbers) and the insurance adjustor. I would sweep insulation up or throw chunks of things in the dumpster and I was a little self-conscious about it since I was going to go grocery shopping next (Walmart actually) and the adjustor said "They don't care about that if you have the money"-he also said look at the rest of the people in the checkout line, and he was right. Better someone decently covered that is sweaty or mildly dirty but clean underneath than someone who is dressed like they're going back to their stripper pole after (especially little kids dressed that way-What are people thinking?) shopping.
I have definitely gone grocery shopping right from the barn. I don't recall seeing many people giving me weird looks, but I do remember seeing other riders in their gear on several occasions. One time, I just kind of felt like someone was looking at me and I looked over to see- turns out it was a woman dressed in her riding gear just like me! We both just chuckled .
*Warning- tangent ahead: This thread reminds me of a story recently told by a barnmate of mine. She is a well respected neuroscientist at a university that also has worn many other hats- does painting on the side, was an emt at some point, vet tech...
She told a story of recently taking her son to daycare recently, reminding me how even more judged we are in our clothing than I sometimes like to believe:
"One of my favorite advantages of academia is the low expectation of daily fashion - in comparison to business, let's say. As a matter of fact, in certain circles I travel looking disheveled and tired cultivates a certain allure of intellect and hard work. I, especially now that classes are over, have been sporting nothing but the most comfortable of jeans and t-shirts, of which one and sometimes both, may contain various size holes.
This morning I dropped my son at childcare, as a looked forward to a long day of lonely benchwork. Much to my horror, I had forgotten it was Christmas caroling day. This usually means empty socializing with other parents as one waits for the appropriate munchikin to came onto stage. With this dreaded realization I parked my Biodiesel, pimped-out, custom exhaust system outfitted, horse trailer towing, F250 truck in between the Toyota Camry's and mini vans of the world. It must have been that I am still wearing a large brace on my left hand after sugery, that drove the nice parent to come help me take Pox out the back seat. This same man, who wore a suit and obviosuly had a "real job" sat next to me during the show. "I am Peter" he said " I am a civil engineer"... after a brief pause he added..."Do you do construction work?".
Agreed on the stinky babies and the B.O., but the one that really makes my eyes water is the dude in the Lynyrd Skynyrd baseball shirt who smells like he was annointed in liquid cigarette smoke. I mean, jeez, how much do you have to smoke, or in what kind of confined quarters, to smell that heavily?
I'll take eau de horse or B.O. over that smell any day!
I love our Piggly Wiggly just a few blocks from the barn I used to board at during the drought of 2001-2002. Workmen from the nearby island resort went in with dirty clothing for their lunch selections, but I went in in late afternoons covered in dust from lessons at the barn. I always apologized in the checkout line for my dirt when I paid, but no one ever complained about my looks/smell or that of the workmen. But I wouldn't go in with dirty boots, always washed them off at the barn before leaving.
I live in a rural area; a drinking town with a farming problem. If we were judged or segregated due to smell or dress code, the stores would be empty. It always brings a smile to my face though, when my daughter and I go to a nearby city to compete in a show. After a long day at the show grounds, we always frequent a certain restaurant (not formal but not diner). We are always seated in a certain area (close to the kitchen doors) where no one else would sit.
I occasionally run errands, including grocery shopping, after riding. However, I always change from my riding or paddock boots into regular shoes when I get in the car. I can't really blame them for not wanting to have brown stuff tracked in on riding boots, even if it's actually just mud.
Stay me with coffee, comfort me with chocolate, for I am sick of love.
As a father of young daughters getting into horses, I love the smell. I will always know if they are lying about being at the barn or not.
I love the smell of horse so much I'm always a little shocked when my husband indicates that it may not be pleasant to all people, possibly even including him. I personally think such people are clearly deranged, but then again, there are people who love the smell of German potato salad or sauerkraut, which both make me nauseous, so I guess there are all sorts of crazy folks in this world. Me, I remember being a horse-deprived child who ducked into the Persian rug outlet in the mall because it smelled like leather and tack.
I feel more comfortable going to a store when I'm clearly dressed for riding (breeches, half chaps or tall boots) than when I'm just dressed for barn hanging (jeans, paddock boots, old t-shirt). I feel like when people see me looking like a horse person they tend to overlook the smell (or I like to think I'm infecting small horse-deprived girls who will come to crave the scent of horse). When I'm just looking generally slobbish, I feel more conscious of the smell not being pleasant to all. (: I usually borrow my husband's car to go to the barn so I run a lot of errands on the way--therefore I'm generally immune to stares and sniffs as I stand in line in my breeches, if there are any. Mostly I just get comments about "cool boots" (i.e., half chaps).
If a store tried to throw me out because of my horsey smell, I'd be pretty ticked off, considering the various smells of the various people I've been subjected to living in the city! Horse is by far the most pleasant smell I've encountered at my local grocery store...
I hate to say it - but I can't smell the horse smell on me - I am sure that those who are not around horses can, though. I do wash my barn jacket and don't wear it to town, but the rest of me goes in and out the barn all day and I can't keep changing clothes. I do wonder what my house smells like to the non-country people --- on the other hand, who cares, they wouldn't keep coming if they did.