A couple of posts back, I reported on another bad idea whose time had come—smell dating. NYU researchers had participants wear a single t-shirt for several days then send it to them to cut it into pieces and forward the pieces to prospect lovers, independent of any sexual preference. The Brits, as reported by an Irish woman, have taken this a long step further by smell dating in person. In “Romancing the Armpit: Armpit Speed Dating Launches in London,” Anne Sewell describes “the world’s first armpit-sniffing, speed dating event.”
Romancing the Armpit organizers Sam Bompas and Harry Parr had paper bags with nose holes placed over participants’ heads and covered their noses with paper cups to conduct the blind smell test. One by one, they would evaluate their dates’ aromas and record them on note cards. To make the test more reliable, organizers gave daters cocktails blended specifically to both relax them and to cause them to sweat and release body odors normally masked by deodorants.
Bompas and Parr claimed their soiree would bring about “love, happiness and hormones,” calling their event “a small scale revolt against a highly deodorized world and online dating.” They claim a scientific basis for smell dating, saying, “Our body odor is largely influenced by Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) molecules, which are genetically determined and linked to the immune system. MHC is also linked to sexual preference, so differences in body odor are detected and responded to on the basis of an individual’s gender and sexual orientation.”
One armpit smeller said, “There was a lot of smelly people. Only one person I liked the smell of and I’ve just seen him and I don’t think he’s attractive.”
Previously, Bompas & Parr held an “Anatomical Whisky Tasting,” during which spirits were served in the contours of participants’ bodies.