I co-own two community centers which bring together single and single-ish folks of all size, stripe and color, and we provide them a comfortable, semi-safe environment in which to socialize. They’re called bars.
And for the privilege of getting the chance to meet people in dim, flattering light, with loud music blaring and alcohol flowing, we charge you five times what we ourselves pay for, say, a Red Headed Slut, a Sex on the Beach, or a Tweakin’ Puerto Rican.
But now – now my livelihood is being threatened by folks who are cutting right to the chase with something called pheromone parties.
At other community centers – art galleries, warehouses, living rooms – people show up and sniff dirty old T-shirts that have been worn for three days and stuck in zip loc bags.
Because we’re grubby little animals, that’s why, and our driving purpose on this planet is to reproduce genetically superior versions of ourselves. Research has shown that humans can use scent to sort out genetic combinations that lead to stronger immune systems. It’s all meant to keep us from inbreeding and to preserve genetic adaptations that work.
At a recent party in an L.A. art gallery, partygoers huddled around several tables covered with plastic freezer bags stuffed with shirts and an index card bearing a number. Once they found one they liked, a photographer snapped a picture of them holding the bag and projected it onto a wall so the shirt’s rightful owner could step forward and meet his or her odor’s admirer.
This whole scheme was invented by Judith Prays, a web developer who was tired of trying to find good matches online. She noticed that of all her recent relationships, there was one particular thing which stood out about the one that lasted the longest: “Even when he smelled objectively bad, I thought he smelled really good,” the 25 year old said. “And I thought, okay, maybe I should be dating based on smell.”
Folks, never mind whether you’re tidy or a slob, whether you want no kids or four of them, whether you prefer McDonald’s to veggie smoothies, whether you do the dishes right after dinner or the next day – all that is just details.
Do you like the stank or don’t you? That’s the question. We are back to lizard brain stuff here.
At her first party, held in New York, Prays invited 40 friends. Half a dozen couples hooked up and one pair formed a relationship.
“Animals have babies and they move on,” says Prays, “and that’s what the pheromone party is.”
Christ! 12 people hooking up out of 40 total? A 30% success rate!? Plus one real relationship?! That’s like saying that one out of three people you hit on in my bar will go home with you. Shit. I know we’re good, but I don’t think we’re that good.
Time for me to switch rackets.