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Recently at the gym, fresh out of the locker room shower came a gentleman who might be described as a man from the old country – and I mean no disrespect by this. He grumbled a heavy accent. When he groomed himself before the mirror, he hefted a large glass flask out of his bag. Now he did not swig this kind of alcohol. Instead, it was the kind called Old Spice. And, wear it, he did by slathering so much over his neck and chest the locker room quickly became thick with the smell. I nearly crawled out the door gasping, “Air… I need air!” What’s worse, I smelled like Old Spice the rest of the day!

I’ll be the first to admit that, like our sexual preferences and tastes, what attracts us through our nasal passages is highly subjective. Some people like the fragrance of Gaultier on their person of desire with ne’er a hint of body odor. Many are allergic to artificial odors with congestion and headaches as a result. Still others prefer the bouquet of a natural person — the stronger the better.

When it comes to body, sex, and aroma, it’s all about attraction. These nearly imperceptible olfactory magnets are called pheromones. Throughout history chemists (legitimate and otherwise) have concocted love potions that were sure to enslave one’s true love. And still today it seems every few years some “new” fragrance will come on the market boasting the use of pheromones in its serum, “scientifically proven” to allure that special someone. Science is still sniffing out just what it is about pheromones that draws us to others, and there doesn’t seem to be a particular magic aroma that automatically ignites everyone.

That’s why it seems that pheromones are best used as enhancers – just one potent factor out of many that adds and highlights what is already uniquely attractive about an individual. For me, being aroused by a man and then to draw close to him, breathing him full into my lungs can be positively intoxicating.

So I have to ask, “Why all the cover up?” How is it that the fragrance industry rakes in billions? In some circles, a person can be so quickly judged because his authentic body odor is evident, “Oh, he must be from Europia.” But whose being duped? Whose shelling out the cash, not to show off what makes them unique, but to fall in line, to conform, and to stink like everyone else? I have no doubt that your unique aroma is the special fragrance that will attract the ideal person to you. But what if Prince Charming never catches “your drift” because you spritzed a half bottle of CK Obsession up your pits?

Despite my exaggerating for humor’s sake, consider going easy on the ol’ “smelling sauce.” A little goes a lot farther than you might imagine. That guy, covering his body with the stuff and forcing everyone in the locker room to share his “Old Spice moment” is as intrusive as someone blasting their boom box and enslaving everyone to a specific brand of music. Either way, he could very well drive more people away than attract them to him, the lil’ stinker!

Originally published May 7, 2011

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