When I was barely fourteen, my first weird encounter with a boy convinced me that men were from another planet. You see, I didn’t even know the guy. But in the midst of playing Battleship with the other kids, he walked up behind me. He whispered that he liked me.
And then he sniffed me.
Okay. Maybe that isn’t the weirdest thing to happen in the whole of human history. But when you’ve just turned fourteen and your head is still full of pop songs and boy bands, the last thing you’d expect is to be sniffed by an absolute stranger. And this, I blame it all on Nikki.
“Who is Nikki?” You might ask.
Well, she was my neighbour and she was leaving Singapore after two years.
“My dad’s business contract has ended so I’m going home this week,” she said. “You’ve got a family in Los Angeles. Maybe you can come visit me whenever you go back to the states.”
So for eight long months after Nikki left, all I could think about was her open invitation to stay with her and her family at their two-storey bungalow in West Palmetto, Florida.
Least to say, it was not an easy feat convincing my Mom to ship her pubescent daughter halfway across the world, on her own. But after weeks of lip pouting and incessant whining, my Mom finally caved and she allowed me to spend the summer with Nikki’s family.
And on the afternoon of my welcome party, that was when it all began, starting with Nikki asking what perfume I was wearing because I smelled nice. So the boy standing behind me decided he would take a whiff off my head….
Now, for all my chemist experts, you should be familiar with the term Osmosis, which in simple terms mean the spontaneous movements of particles (like air). Well, Osmology is the science of smell research. And over the pass few years, it has determined that men and women are attracted to each other via chemical messengers called pheromones.
Have you ever wondered why so many romantic poses look like this?
Pheromones are arousal-stimulating chemicals that stimulate sexual desire, sexual readiness, hormone levels and fertility […] pheromones can work like magic to attract members of the opposite sex.
Here’s a little history lesson: the term ‘pheromone’ is derived from Greek origins—pherein, meaning to bring or transfer, and hormon, meaning to excite.
…Or why pictures that evoke emotion always involve some sort of sniffing?
Well, it is because the release of pheromones actually plays a crucial aspect in our lives; this influences our physical, mental and emotional judgements, affecting the way we select our mates and nurture our young (breastfeeding 1).
And trust me. Even with that runny nose you’ve got going on during the harsh winter…our sense of smell is still incredibly sensitive.
Take this for example: a dog has 125 to 300 million scent glands…that is six times the number an average human possesses. However, it almost ludicrous to imagine that even though we only have a fraction of a dog’s smelling power, we are able to detect the natural scent of our mates on an unconscious level. So much so, that in an experimental research, men who smelled the t-shirts of ovulating women were tested to have higher testosterone levels than those who did not.
Now that’s talent.
But it is no wonder our sense of smell is so important to us. Because apart from stimulating sexual attraction, our sense of smell is also closely linked to memory and is highly emotive.
In an online article written by Eric Bland, his research concludes that a woman’s natural scent is more seductive than perfume. This is because as humans, we seek things that are associated with our own body—we seek the recognizable. And that is why a familiar scent is is often more comforting than a foreign mask. Remember the time when you walked into a soap store and you almost gagged at the overwhelming cloud of artificial scents? Well, that is exactly the reason why humans prefer the natural smell of the skin, even if that means a little odor and sweat.
But seriously, who would have ever thought that our human anatomy could be so awesome? To a point that since we are able to naturally produce highly attractive scents, the perfume industry is beginning to build around this connection; they are developing fragrances that seek to convey a vast array of emotions and feelings.
Pretty amazing, isn’t it?
So if you can’t afford those expensive Prada shoes or that Salvatore Ferragamo leather handbag…don’t worry. You body has got you covered! You don’t have to spend a ton of money just so others are attracted by the clothes you adorn. Instead, double up with a great body wash and be proud to flaunt your natural scent!