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.A truly interesting perfume teaches you the invisible textures of the world, forces you to think in multitudes.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.
I tried to coordinate my schedule for the day into one of sensory pleasures that would rub off on the shirt.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.I wanted to walk through every bodega flower market and lean into every jasmine and gardenia, no matter how drunken and shriveled they were from sidewalk neglect.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.