What Jim has learned today

I learned … I stink; therefore I am … a hunka, hunka of burning love. Studies show that a woman’s sense of smell is superior to that of a man. Conversely, a man is superior to a woman at producing odor. I learned the convergence of these two facts plays a large role in the initial aligning of the moon and the stars that mark the beginning of romance, or for many, the tragedy of rejection. For us men, as anyone who has ever had to handle the gym clothes of a teenage son can attest, our almost supernatural ability to produce odor begins at puberty when the apocrine glands in our armpits awaken. These glands begin to produce molecules that react with the bacteria in our armpits releasing other compounds containing pheromones that can flip switches in the female brain. This stink conveys a great deal of information about ourselves to a woman, informing her choices well before we can say, “Can I buy you a drink?” I learned a woman’s nose performs a sort of checklist as a man approaches. Firstly, she is most likely to be attracted to the man who smells the least like herself. Scientist believe this is a mechanism facilitating the avoidance of accidental attraction to those genetically related to herself. Next on her nose’s list is the state of the man’s health. Disease has a tendency to change the optimum balance of the bacteria living in the garden of a man’s armpits and, for a woman, the resulting smell renders something of a subliminal diagnosis. No. 3 on a woman’s nose’s checklist is perhaps the most unnerving thing about a woman’s sense of smell … unconsciously she knows what we did yesterday … if we ate in a healthy fashion, if we consumed alcohol, if we have been happy and content as opposed to being stressed. Perhaps this is why the single largest market for deodorant is young, single men in their 20s. Once married, there just isn’t any use in the cover-up. I learned that when I ask my wife what she thinks of my odor, she will very compassionately say, “Sweetheart, don’t ask me this.” This is all I have learned today.


James Wares is retired and resides in Marshalltown. He can be reached at whatjimhaslearnedtoday@yahoo.com