You look like you're gonna swing in on a chandelier!" At a restaurant with his parents, George accidentally bumps into a woman, who turns out to a modeling agent.I plotted to eat nothing too pungent or messy so whoever got my shirt wouldn’t get hot sauce stains and judge me as a slob.I scheduled yoga instead of cycling, so I wouldn’t get the shirt super grossly pungent from the fear-sweat and rage-crying. Also, none of those aromatic activities actually ended up happening, because I was too busy doing unavoidable errands such as talking to my therapist and answering work emails. I realized I couldn’t fake my way out of it into becoming a naturally beautifully smelling human being — I just didn’t have the time!And, more seriously: that isn’t the kind of person I’m attracted to anyway.My first crush smelled unfortunately of mildew but I couldn’t keep my hands off him, so who am I to put reason over attraction?I fantasized about hanging around my favorite bakery when they were making fresh bread and cannolis, I planned to stand outside a laundromat for two minutes to try to absorb the smell of fresh laundry.
When I sent it back to be matched, I sighed because it didn’t smell like anything in particular to me, because I am so used to those smells in the room. And so, freshly showered and away from the smells of my kitchen, my cat, or my wardrobe, I stuffed my face in the smell of strangers shirts, and took notes on each one. I smothered my face in it and imagined where all that life came from. Did they attend the same soul cycle class or something? The other three smelled variously of comforting cotton, grass…. I wasn’t as fascinated with them as the other, but I didn’t dislike them, so I was open to learning more.Given that I have a spectacularly depressing success rate of matches vs actual communication on Tinder, I figured nothing could really be worse than what is already uneventful. For smell.dating, they require of you a few things: I sent in the money and promptly forgot about it until I got the shirt in the mail. At the same time, a growing body of research suggests that a person's genetic compatibility, gender, age, and predisposition to illness are reflected in their "smell signature." Even in blinded experiments, subjects' smell preferences align broadly with their sexual desires." So my questions then inevitably became: how do I hack this shirt to make sure everyone who smells me falls in love with me?Before I started, I thought having my control over scent taken away from me would be fun, but now I realized that it was actually terrifying and vulnerable in ways I hadn’t bargained for. What if this experiment just proved my deepest fear: that I am utterly unremarkable?I’ve long thought of perfume as my favorite psychological weapon in the art of seduction: invisible, and fraught with potential to push you into lust or horror with such a grace that you can’t see coming.Perfume is like language in the way that it can wound and seduce at the exact same time. When my system is so shocked by the opener of a perfume, I’m forced to stop to examine it like a sensory car crash — watch it unfold in glorious detail, to examine the remains and smoke and ruin.