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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.
Smell.dating is supposedly the first mail-odor dating service; Tinder but for fumeheads like me, who find the concept of your smell more interesting than an incredibly pre-planned profile. There’s not artful selection of profile photos that show you’re hot, but also chill, that you have hot friends (but nobody way hotter than you because this is your profile not theirs) and love to travel — but totally anything at all that you can control. They even say so on the site: "Smell dating delivers you from prejudicial cultural images that interfere with the ancient cues of attraction.
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?
The first thing she would say was, “My main concern is getting you laid.”That, as it happens, was also the main concern of another well-meaning single mom at another PTA fundraiser (who knew the PTA was a gold mine of dating advice? She had been single 11 months, she told me, until she met someone on Tinder. Earlier that year, I had, in fact, tried Bumble, but after it netted a single three-hour, no-escape dinner date, I instantly deleted it from my phone. There were the cliché shirtless and headless bathroom shots, guys surfing on remarkably tiny waves, and, of course, lots of men posing while holding dead fish.
Within seconds, though, I got plenty of matches myself.
Alas, it’s easy to hook up on Tinder, as easy as ordering from Amazon Prime. My problem was that, though my exterior showed a galaxy far, far away, my own heart and soul still clung to my Jane Austen–loving romantic self.
I was looking to find that someone who—and again this is Sisterhood-speak—was not just the “palate cleanser” or the one who would “pop the divorce cherry.” I wanted to find someone I would actually want to have a relationship with.
“Trust me,” my date said, in the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Whenever I matched on Tinder, suddenly it was always, “I love , including men who are cool who also happen to like normal things like hiking and sports, and who are men you would actually want to sleep with.
Besides, I pointed out, this T-shirt will give you more of a dating advantage than any hired consultant could supply.
In what can only be described as the most selfless of acts, I offered to lend them the shirt and take their profile photos—one friend took me up on this.
It was clear from his profile that he had a sense of humor, wasn’t a droid, and had just the right amount of subversive nerd qualities I find sexy. (We’ll call him Cute Banker.) By Cute Banker’s third text, he asked me out for drinks. There was a match of wits and chemistry and a perhaps inappropriate but incredibly fun impromptu make-out session.
Twenty-five minutes after I first logged on, a message came up: “You used to live across the hall from me freshman year at NYU.” And so my first date was set up.