You smell so good to me

Do you want “me love you good Charlie, me make you happy long time” or a relationship?

This post originally appeared on NextStage‘s That Think You Do blog in April 2016. We’re resurrecting it here for some Facebook friends who asked “Do Women Like or Prefer Men, that Wear Scents or Cologne?

Continuing with the thread introduced in You Smell Funny, we discovered some more research about how humans non-consciously use their olfactory sense (sense of smell) for mating purposes (like dating, finding the one you love, finding the one you’ll love once versus forever, finding the “me love you good Charlie, me make you happy long time”, all that kind of stuff) and thought to share it because we know you’re all out there just dying to know…

Guys and gals, are you in the courting/flirting/tension release stage of a relationship? You may tell yourself you’re looking for someone long time and if, in your heart of hearts, you know you’re only looking for someone short term, go to the ones who are heavily perfumed/masked/scented. They won’t disappoint.

It turns out that one aspect of our evolutionary heritage is to emit scents that let potential mates know our…fecundity (“The state of being fertile; capable of producing offspring”).

And here’s the interesting way this has gotten disabused culturally; We now lather and immerse ourselves in baths, oils, perfumes and such to mask the very scent that would tell the world, “Hey there hiya how you doin, I’m a’ waitin’ and a’ready for love!”

But wait, it gets better.

Those individuals who so obviously lather and immerse themselves? Consciously or not (we’re betting on not) are trying to signal potential mates’ olfactory senses that they would be a good long term catch.

When in truth, studies show they’re not good long term risks.

And don’t want to be.

But what about those folks who don’t put a lot of effort into masking their natural aromas?

It turns out that on average, the men and women who don’t lather and immerse themselves, who are subtle in their use of perfumes and colognes and such, are the ones who are consciously or not (again, we’re betting on not) signalling that they are genuinely good keepers, worth the effort and will be fruitful (in more ways than one) long term investments.

If any of you have read Canis Major in either its Kindle or Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires form, you may remember that it was Sherry’s subtle use of perfume that drew Iggie to her.

And, in the end, he was quite the catch.

So, ladies and gents, are you looking for someone to be with you throughout the years regardless of what life brings you?

Sniff out someone who uses fabricated scents to hint and suggest.

Are you looking for someone for an hour to a week or month at most?

They won’t be subtle. They’ll have applied their favorite scent with a housepainter’s brush.

You smell funny

Ah, the joys of individual body chemistries.

This post originally appeared on the other platform on 29 Jan 2010. We resurrected it on NextStage‘s That Think You Do blog in April 2016 and now here for some Facebook friends who asked “Do Women Like or Prefer Men, that Wear Scents or Cologne?

Perfumers and associated industries spend an incredible amount of money producing various scents for our use. Deodorants mask the caucasian from smelling like goats for example. And I’m not kidding about the goal smell, either.

Some people appreciate that there’s only one scent/perfume/olfactory mask they can wear and all others make their scent foul. I’m one of those lucky ones. I can only wear musk based scents. Wear any others and I quickly clear rooms.

Ah, the joys of individual body chemistries.

And that brings us directly to this post’s topic; how do you pick a scent that will be pleasing both to you and to those you want to please?

what ever happened to love potions 1-8?Pleasing perfumes, deodorants and their kin evolved from what we once called love potions. We would go to our village wisewoman and she would ask who we wanted to have fall in love with us, when we would see them next and whether others would be present. You’ll find this mix of questions in fairy and folk tales from around the world and with good reason.

What pleases us olfactively and vomeronasally (collectively “our sense of smell”. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of your vomeronasal sense. Nobody knew it existed until the late 1990s) is first based on our common biologies — we are designed to like certain scents and not others, then on our family’s preferences, then on our culture’s and then on our society’s as a whole.

Our olfactory senses are among the most primitive. The only older sensory system our bodies have is also the most dominant; our sense of touch. Our whole body is devoted to that sense and even our other senses yield to it. This is why it hurts when we poke ourselves in the eye. Why should it hurt? Why not just go blind for a moment or two? Because our sense of touch signals the eye is damaged before our sense of sight signals “Cover Your Eyes!”

Because olfaction is one of the oldest it often goes unnoticed by most people until there’s a really good smell or a really bad smell wafting towards us. Does the smell of freshly baked bread or frying garlic or apple pie cooling or pot roast cooking or bao steaming make your stomach growl? Or maybe just the thought of those things?

Congratulations, you’ve just noticed one evolutionary purpose of our sense of smell — to find good things to eat.

Likewise does the smell of a ripe horse or cow field cause a hasty retreat? Excellent, that’s another of it’s evolutionary purposes — to keep us out of nasty environments and situations.

And both of these grew out of our sense of smell’s original purpose — finding us someone to love.

That’s where the wisewoman’s questions come in. Did we want everybody to fall in love with us or just one person (and if personal genome sequencing kits ever come to WalMart®, be careful)? Was this someone from our village or another village? When would we see them?

The last question deals with dispersal method. Do we ingest it so that we disperse that magical scent through our pores (it takes a while) or apply it topically so that our body heat activates it (fairly rapid)?

The second question deals with those things we smelled as babies and growing up and have long forgotten. Just as there are comfort foods so there are comfort smells. Knowing where someone is from answers this.

The first question tells us the type of scent required; animal, vegetable or mineral.

The wisewoman’s questions are the same one perfumers deal with today. Much more scientifically, of course.

And usually with far worse results.

So the next time you’re considering which $150 bottle of perfume or cologne to purchase for that special occasion, consider whom you’re wanting to entice. If you know enough about them you might be just as well off with some bread, wine, cheese and a flower for your hair.