Continued from Wednesday…
Chapter Eight from my book Don’t Use My Sweater Like a Towel.
If your smell is offensive to others, or you just do not have a basic chemical fit with other people, they may not respond to you. That in mind, it seems that good hygiene ranks high on the priority scale—that includes washing your body and caring for your choppers. Drenching yourself in manufactured fragrance may act as a band-aid, but ultimately nature will prevail. Even if you are beautiful, a great communicator and are flexible with others, at some point you still have to shower, brush and floss!
Plainly and simply, attraction comes down to having a good chemical fit with another human being. In The Natural History of the Senses,“ Diane Ackerman states, “Among far-flung tribes in a number of countries – Borneo, on the Gambia River in West Africa, in Burma, in Siberia, in India – the word “kiss” means “smell”; a kiss is really a prolonged smelling of one’s beloved, relative or friend.” As easily as it can repel, scent can bring people together.
Armed with this new knowledge and a sense of empowerment in my special olfactory capabilities, I began to discover that others reacted as strongly to smell as I do. A waitress at a restaurant I frequent told me that she has a hard time handling all the smells she encounters, especially at work. From the people to the food, she is often overwhelmed.
On a plane, I was seated next to a man who shared my sensitivity to perfume. We both turned our overhead air vents toward an overly scented woman in front of us to divert the smell. The flight attendant told us we couldn’t point them at other passengers. We both told her that “the woman’s perfume smell is making us sick,” She left us to our devices after that.
Even psychology professionals agree that smell is a crucial part of interpersonal relationships. “Marriage counselors say that a (top) complaint from women who want to end a relationship is, ‘I can’t stand his smell.'”
With this survey, I have done my best to represent a broad spectrum of people with ages ranging from 19 to 62 years old; an equal balance of men and women; and varied socio-economic status. My goal was to open a wider dialogue about a subject that is under-discussed; and I wanted to know just how many people shared similar smell sensitivity.
I was amazed at how little people think about the connection between their senses and all that goes on around us: the connection we have with the elements and each other. But when pointed out to them, all of my respondents were enthusiastic about sharing with me their olfactory thoughts and impressions (though three young men in business suits thought it was the best pick up line they’d ever heard).
To be continued…