Single Men Smell Different

And other reasons to listen to your nose for matters of the heart.

Stark Raving
3 min readJul 10, 2021


Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

As Covid-19 wanes, we can enthusiastically return to what we call ‘normal life’, which involves such totally normal things as ‘Pheromone parties.” Before attending one of these events, guests must wear the same t-shirt to bed every night for a week, and then put it in a plastic bag and bring it with them to the party. Attendees smell all the t-shirts, without knowing to whom they belong, and select the odours that they are most attracted to. The idea is to remove the distractions of appearance and personality and simply listen to your nose to find the perfect person.

Now I shouldn’t really make fun of this method of finding love, as my rational choices have not shown themselves to be that effective, but pheromone parties did always strike me as slightly gross. Still, gross or not, the science behind it does stand — our noses tell us a lot more than we consciously register.

The Importance of Smell

We often overlook the importance of smell, seen as a sense of less importance than sight or hearing, for instance. As many people lost their sense of smell during corona, however, we started to realise how important it is. Scientists suggest that losing your sense of smell can be as bad as going blind or deaf. People who can’t smell often get depressed as life quite literally begins to lack flavour.

When I had corona, I was lucky enough not to experience this symptom too badly. I lost my sense of smell for about a day — while some people don’t get their’s back for months. Still, in that day I burnt all the food I cooked because I wasn’t reminded by the smell to take it out of the oven, and as I obsessively sniffed a bottle of essential oil to see if I could still smell, I got peppermint oil all over my nose and burned my skin quite badly.

Point is: smell matters. Our noses can tell us a lot about a person: what they eat, whether they have certain diseases (cholera has a sweet smell, diabetes smalls of rotten apples), even how neurotic they are.

Follow your nose to find your best match



Stark Raving

Intersectional feminism and environmental issues. Let’s make the world a kinder, more sustainable place. Support my work!