Photos: Gordon Cieplak for The Pheromone Party
Birds do it. Bees do it. Lions and tigers and bears do it. Why shouldn’t we do it? That was the thinking behind the creation of The Pheromone Party, a gathering of singles who spend the evening smelling 3-day-worn t-shirts, and let their noses, rather than their eyes or hearts, guide them to the perfect mate.
In nature, pheromones are the switch for turning on sexual attraction. The Pheromone Party creator, Judith Prays, figured they’d also be the optimum way to find the ideal partner, taking looks and witty small talk out of the equation.
Here’s how it works: To get on the invite list, singles had to send in a photo not of their face or body, but of their armpit. (Sexy so far, right?) Then they had to wear a t-shirt to bed for three nights straight, without using deodorants or perfumes. On party night, the shirts were placed in a plastic bag, numbered, and color coded blue for men and pink for women.
Guests were then invited to sniff the shirts over the course of the evening. According to one partygoer, 32-year-old Scott Thrift, the aromas “ranged from the unpleasant hint of onion to the downright strange scent of play-doh.” (Come on, kindergarten art teachers need love too.)
Number 24 is a lucky, lucky man...
If they were drawn to a particularly odoriferous shirt, they’d pick it up and a photographer would snap a pic. Photos were then projected on a wall. If you saw someone holding your shirt, you could consider that an invitation to go over and introduce yourself. The ones that did not get picked were simply told, “Smell ya later.” (Not true, I made that last part up.)
If the results are any indication, online dating services—and their out of date photos and exaggerated profiles—should be shaking in their virtual boots. According to Prays, of the 40 people invited to her first event, 12 of them “hooked up,” and half of those resulted in long term relationships. Apparently the nose knows.