Continued from yesterday…
Chapter eight from my book Don’t Use My Sweater Like a Towel.
Love potions, dating back to the ancients also contained human sweat. The more outgoing cousin of the pheromone, your own essence can be the most attractive (or unattractive thing) about you. There are many examples throughout history of lovers saturating handkerchiefs, articles of clothing, even fruit, with their own sweat to intoxicate lovers. Dr. Helen Fisher, in her book The Anatomy of Love, maintains this practice continues today: “A contemporary recipe concocted by some Caribbean immigrants to the United States reads, ‘Prepare a hamburger patty. Steep it in your own sweat. Cook. Serve to the person desired.’” I wonder if that comes with a large side of fries and a Big Gulp. Delicious!
As humans, we are all driven by our basic, primitive needs: survival, mating and the to desire to find love, companionship and positive human connections. Our senses of smell, sight, taste, sound and touch are how we know whom and what attracts us, regardless of the hustle and bustle of modern life. No matter how many pairs of shoes, designer shirts you own, or what kind of car you drive, attraction is as instinctual as the need for food, water and shelter, and the role of one’s sense of smell is hard-wired into the brain. Helen Keller writes, “Human odors are as varied and capable of recognition as hands and faces. The dear odors of those I love are so definite, so unmistakable, that nothing can quite obliterate them.”
Whether we are aware of it or not, we are attracted to people whose smell we like. And this carries over from the connection to family and friends into passion and romance. In my experiences, smell has definitely been a deal breaker.
“Between your eyes, within your skull, at the base of your brain, some five million olfactory neurons hang from the roof of each nasal cavity, swaying in the air currants you inhale. These nerve cells transmit messages to the part of the brain that controls your sense of smell. But they also link up with the limbic system, a group of primitive structures in the middle of your brain that govern fear, rage, hate, ecstasy, and lust. Because of this brain wiring, smells have the potential to create intense erotic feelings.”
To be continued on Thursday…