If you are beside a person who stinks, you cleared as much space in between in fear of acquiring the displeasing odor. If you are the foul one, you exchanged stares at those who grunt discomfort while they cover their noses, like you’re proud of it. You know that offensive pungence; you’ve had it, you’ve smelled it.
There was a time when body odor is acceptable. They don’t even care it exists! Historically, this concentrated flavor is a celebration. Young men in certain parts of Austrian Tyrol will dance with a handkerchief under their armpits and “wave it under the nose of a woman in whom they were interested”.
Now, it’s something we should be ashamed about. Everybody’s anxious to control it. You can’t even leave the house without pasting a deodorant on both armpits.
In the 1910s and 1920s, advertising agencies invented problems. They wanted humans to be dissatisfied and self-conscious with their current life. One of them is body odor. And to eradicate it, people have to buy their product. Wise.
In 1919, a deodorant for women called Odo-Ro-No used B.O. for the first time. They promised a sweet smell which will lead to social success.
The creation-of-problem approach also worked for mouthwash company, Listerine. Their pitch? “Unpleasant breath”. It peaked their sales from $100,000 in 1921 to $4 million in 1927.
The human stink is underrated. For instance, it can be used for identification. Newborns find comfort in the smell of their mothers. Parents can precisely identify their children by sniffing their clothes. Scientists call this an ‘odorprint’, and everyone has its own distinct scent like a fingerprint.
Sniffing other people’s odor is an opportunity to find a mate. Men are more attracted to women with good fertility; and women are more attracted to men with high testosterone. This information is acquired through the smell.
Odor can be a predictor of personality. Polish researchers in the University of Wroclaw conducted a study where a group of people were tasked to sleep in the same shirt for three days, and another group of people will smell it (poor participants..). To a certain degree, people can guess personality types based on their odor. And predicting personality has the same accuracy as watching a video clip of the person!
My odor smells like a vinegar from the time of pharaohs packed with punches but has the addicting aroma of a gasoline.
How would you describe your body odor?