Wet Dog

A couple weeks ago it was a typical rainy December day in Cupertino, and I was sitting in my office getting work done. Suddenly I noticed the smell of wet dog, coming out of nowhere. I thought it odd since Apple doesn’t allow dogs on campus, but I mostly ignored it. I just set my iChat status to, “It smells like wet dog in here,” and forgot about it.

An hour or so later a friend and coworker of mine (who happens to be black, which is a pertinent fact in this entry) pinged me telling me that my status message was the funniest of mine that he’d ever seen. I didn’t think it was quite all that funny, and I asked him to explain. He paused, and then proceeded to send me a link to a series of blog entries which contain the answer I was searching for. You’ll have to search for the phrase “wet dog” on that page to find it, but the gist is this: unwashed white people, when wet, smell like wet dog. This is something that is apparently only noticed by non-white people.

At first I didn’t believe him, even with the blog post. But now Steph has independently confirmed noticing the smell during rainy days with no dogs around, wondering what it was. I’ve even found entire books on the subject. So I guess it’s true.

More than anything else, though, I’d like any non-white readers to confirm they’ve noticed this. Even better… how long has this belief been around? It seems like it’s everywhere now that I’ve opened my eyes to it. Has this always been around, or is it something that has only been noticed more recently? I can’t imagine it’s new, but it’s new to me.

5 thoughts on “Wet Dog

  1. To clarify: Steph and I have both smelled it, but we never knew what the source was. I think by “noticed” I should’ve said “noticed where it was coming from.”

  2. Actually, I noticed the wet dog smell the same day Josh had this experience, but we hadn’t communicated about the topic. It was pouring rain. When I went into the staff lounge, filled with wet people of varying races, I mentioned to a couple of people that it smelled like wet dog in the staff room. No one responded. Maybe they thought I was racist against white people…

  3. So since you have an office to yourself, you were smelling… yourself? You need to wash that soul patch of yours more often perhaps.

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