He then picked out three shirts from the table, one of which was his, and invited me to smell all three and tell him which one I liked the best. But I was intrigued by the idea that we can reduce our desires to their basest level.If I really did find him attractive, I would easily pick his shirt out of the lineup. “Ugh, this one is rank,” I said, sniffing the third bag. Many of us have heard of the experiment where women are asked to smell a lineup of white cotton shirts, and then it turns out that the shirts they found the most pleasing belonged to the men they found the most handsome, with the most symmetrical faces.Here's how it works: Participants imprint their odor on cotton T-shirts and then bring them to the party.Upon registering and shelling out , they place their shirts in plastic bags with numbered Post-its – pink for women, blue for men.But it was certainly validating to look at the slide show and see those guys holding up my T-shirt in a bag and smiling. Maybe I'd find that my animal instincts really wanted a broomstick-thin MGMT fan with a pedo mustache. The aromas ranged from pungent to sweet, sweaty to metallic to chemical, spicy to yeasty.Maybe all this time my heart's been searching for a Norwegian, a massive wall of a man, instead of the compact, kind-eyed Jewish boys I always But as I jostled through the pack of absinthe-soaked singles and made my way, time and again, to the shirt-sniffing table, it became hard to disentangle the physical from the mental and emotional. But none of my judgments on which bags smelled pleasant were based on smell alone.Of course, no rule said you could flirt only with those who posed with your shirt-sniffed armpits, before running off into the biological determinist sunset to raise strapping caveman babies and hunt mastodon.
We born with brains primed to learn and adapt to social patterns with lightning speed.The idea is that if a T-shirt's odor arouses you, you'll be sexually (and maybe emotionally? But attractive based on looks -- and come find you.And maybe when you meet them, you'll find you were horribly mistaken; their shirt smelled heavenly, but in person they remind you of Strong Bad's alter ego.Or should I put it down because it didn't work out?And was I actually getting excited about specific pheromones here, or only the generic and intoxicating odor of organic cotton mingling with male sweat, which I'd been physically primed and socially conditioned to feel thrilled by ever since girlhood?The bags are placed on a table in the party area in the courtyard out back, where guests can leisurely (or voraciously, as was sometimes the case) sniff shirts in between trips to the bar for an absinthe cocktail.When you find a shirt you like, you stand in line to get your picture taken with the prized numbered shirt.It erases all sorts of sexual orientations, fetishes, non-normalized gender identities, disabilities, races, and histories both personal and cultural.Aside from the fact that most of what we've been taught about “how we were in caveman times” is based on racialized and gendered mythology, the fact is, we are not just cellphone-toting incarnations of our ape ancestors.This, even in a party whose gender balance tipped copiously, wonderfully, toward male. When I asked the women what they found attractive about their desired shirts, they seemed frustrated that all of them just smelled like laundry. Could I clear away all the flotsam in my heart – the fetishes for big noses and curly hair that I've had since high school, or my habit of falling for cocky artists and writers?The law of numbers says I should have had better luck with all those dudes milling around. The black-haired woman noted, “But you can tell which guys cook. What if I could reset and recalibrate my attraction patterns and strip them down to pure physical science? Without being preconditioned for brand recognition, I'd be able to go only on what my senses were telling me.