Social media has emasculated us from many communication barriers and enabled many to speak out when they previously would have been silent. This is both a good and bad thing. It has allowed a generation of anonymous keyboard warriors to spew forth a torrent of nastiness and vitriol that serves no positive effect. It has also allowed many who were dismissed and bullied to stand up for themselves – and that is good.

There are still some social areas where we have not conquered the awkward situation.

What should I have done today in the fast-serve supermarket checkout queue when the bloke in line ahead of me had rampant BO? This discovery was not made until he had vacated the scene of the crime.

The putrid, gag-inducing odour greeted me as I started to unload my groceries. It also said hello to the supermarket assistant and the shopper behind me. It was working the room, so to speak. I made an involuntary noise voicing my revulsion, the checkout staff were whispering about it and – judging by the three-step retreat of the shopper behind me – she smelt it as well. My problem? Everyone thought it was me. I was annoyed and nauseous. Not a good combination. The real culprit had vanished. I was wearing this and was not happy, Jan! 

What would you do in this situation? I did my normal thing which is grin, bear it, leave and write a column about it.

If this sort of situation happened on a computer, not only would the immediate victims launch into a keyboard rant, so would anyone who had ever shopped in their life, their best friends, aunties, uncles and cousins, plus several support groups. And there probably would have been several anti-BO Facebook pages within the hour.

There was nothing natural about this smell. While our intestinal fortitude has grown in general, we (me) are still not as bold and brazen in person as we are on social media. Our (my) mission is to confront these social situations head on (keep a peg in your pocket) and be more assertive. Good luck.