Monday, July 9, 2012

Do you like the way I smell?

“Do you like the way I smell?” I asked my husband. We were sitting there on the couch, me reading a magazine, him watching TV.

Apparently he’s used to my off-the-wall comments and questions because he didn’t bat an eyelash. “Of course,” he replied. (Clearly the right answer).

I asked him that because I was reading my June issue of Marie Claire and there was an article by E.J. Balloch (Scent of a Marriage). She talked about the breakdown of her ten year marriage to a man who was seemingly perfect - smart, a great father, a good friend. There were a number of things that took a toll on their relationship but one thing she mentions on top of fighting and resentment, was the fact that they couldn’t stand the smell of each other.

I thought that was very interesting.

She claimed neither of them had body odor problems. In fact, she thought he smelled too clean, like detergent and cologne. In turn, he disliked her smell, even wrinkling his nose at it.

Given that sex is a pretty important part of a marriage, and getting naked and up close with someone you don't like the smell of might not be appealing, this could definitely be a big problem in a marriage.
Now, I like the smell of my husband. In the morning, fresh out of the shower, I like the smell of his antiperspirant and body wash. But even later in the day when that’s faded somewhat, when I hug him I still like to press my nose against the side of his neck and…well…smell him. And I wonder…what if he had bad breath and stinky feet and I really didn’t like the smell of him…how would that change my feelings about him? Would we have ever ended up together?

Researchers have been studying the aromas given off by humans for many years. From Wikipedia: “A pheromone is a secreted or excreted chemical factor that triggers a social response in members of the same species. There are alarm pheromones, food trail pheromones, sex pheromones, and many others that affect behavior or physiology.”

Then I came across an article in the newspaper about pheromone parties!

Instead of speed dating or getting to know someone on-line, at these pheromone parties you get to know someone first by their smell. Everyone who wants to participate sleeps in a T-shirt for three nights, puts it in a plastic bag and freezes it. Then they bring their shirt to the party. They’re coded blue for men and pink for women, and numbered. Then everyone smells the shirts and picks out ones they like. Apparently this is quite successful at determining a good match.

E. J. Balloch, who wrote that first article I read, is now married to another man, a man whose scent she loves. Even when he hasn't showered for days. Although this is important, she does say this doesn't mean you should marry anyone whose scent attracts you; there has to be more to base a relationship on than that. Wikipedia also says: “Even with all of this evidence, nothing is conclusive on whether or not humans have functional pheromones. Even if there are experiments that suggest that certain pheromones have a positive effect on human, there are just as many that state the opposite or that they have no effect what so ever.”

So what do you think? Real or pseudoscience? Do you like your partner’s smell? Do you even notice your partner’s smell?
Ever been with someone who's smell you didn't like?


PG Forte said...

Yes! Smell is hugely important. I love the way my husband smells. It's always been a big turn on for me. I've liked the way most of my boyfriends smelled, although there were a couple whose smell didn't do anything for me either way. But there was one guy--and I'm sure he was very nice--fun, charming, good-looking, and it certainly wasn't a hygiene issue, but I had to stop seeing him because I couldn't stand his smell. And it's not like he smelled horrible, he just smelled Wrong.

Kelly Jamieson said...

See! That's exactly what that article was about! I've been with my husband for so long I don't even remember what my other boyfriends smelled like LOL but maybe the ones who didn't last, it was because I was subconsciously not liking their smell!

Kinsey Holley said...

I love the smell of the Hub's head - can't say hair, because he keeps his head nearly shaven - I know he uses shampoo, but that's not the smell I'm referring to. It's uniquely his.

Of course, he's a mechanic - even tho he owns the shop, he spends most of his day in the bays working on cars and sweating a lot. So at night, I'm like - um...wash the funk, sweetie. But even so, I can't really say he stinks. I just know when he's been dirty or sweaty and I'm a clean freak.

From the day we started dating he was telling me I smelled good. My sister remarked, early on, "That's a really good sign. Guys have to love the way you smell."

Kim B said...

I don't know if I love the way my husband smells or not. I guess I do because I do occasionally catch myself sniffing his arm or shoulder...

But there was this man at church who was hot. And I always seemed to sit behind him. My husband would just shake his head and laugh because I would find myself leaning forward to smell him.

Kelly Jamieson said...

Kinsey, there you go!

And Kim, LOL! I'm not sure if sniffing hot guys should be allowed!