Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tip #54: The Scent of a Goth

Now, while it is true that dogs and cats have a far superior sense of olfaction over us humans, the sense of smell, when comes to romance and/or sexual attraction, is an important factor and does play a major role...even without anyone realizing it!

First on the plate: pheromones. You've heard of these, right? For those who don't, let me give you a quick biology lesson. Technically, a pheromone (ˈferəˌmōn) is a "secreted or excreted chemical factor that triggers a social response in members of the same species" (source: Wikipedia). Pheromones can be used for all sorts of reasons, especially in the insect realm -- for example ants lay a scent trail toward a food source to create a direct path for others to follow. In humans, however, pheromones play an integral part in attracting members of the opposite (or same) sex. This is how it works: When one mammal finds itself attracted to another of the same species, said mammal will automatically secrete a specific chemical that might seem odorless, but is aimed at the recipient's keen sense of smell. These chemicals will trigger nerves in the nose that will then, in turn, fire messages to the brain to solidify, or nullify, attraction beyond visual stimulation. Did I lose you? In essence, when building rapport with someone, you must be pleased (and pleasing) on every sensory level; and, whether you know it or not, your nose is to be pleased thirdly, after your eyes and ears!

But pheromones are not the main topic of this Romancing the Goth tip...smell is...and more importantly, one's scent!

Whereas pheromones are subtle, scent and odor is more striking...and especially since it can be crafted and controlled for maximum effect. I am talking, of course, of fragrances: perfumes, cologne, scented oils, Eau de toilettes, scented candles, and the like.

First and foremost, I'd like to "concentrate" on the different types of scents one can apply to one's body (as opposed to their living space) . Let me breakdown the specific classes of stinky water one may wish to spritz upon one's self. These are determined and based on the amount of oils or "juice" the liquid holds. More oils = more scent.
  • Perfume can hold 15% to 40% perfume concentrates, and is considered the purest form of scented products...hence the expensive price tag. Also, perfumes, compared to the rest of the list to follow, has a tendency to linger in the room well after the wearer has left, thus having what is known to be a lingering effect...
  • Eau de Parfume is about 7% to 15% perfume concentrates and is generally the most popular and common form of perfume for women.
  • Eau de Toilette (yes...toilet water...there, I said it!) registers in at about 1% to 6% perfume concentrates. Also known as Eau de Cologne, this is a light enough scent and doesn't linger in the air, making it preferable for men.
  • Lastly, After Shave contains the least amount of perfume concentration and little to no alcohol to eliminate any burning sensation after a freshly shaved...well...a freshly shaved anything, really!

The last category brings up the notion of alcohol being a main ingredient in body scents. So, why have alcohol? Simply because the alcohol helps the oils evaporate from the body for others to smell. If it weren't for the alcohol, only the wearer would be aware of the scent. Also, interestingly enough, the amount of time a fragrance will hold on a person determines on two factors: Skin type and Ph levels. Dry skin tends to have a harder time holding onto fragrances as opposed to people with oilier skin, since oily skin helps keep the scent moisturized. The Ph level, or acidity of one's skin also plays as a strong factor in the fragrance's chemical reaction according to each individual's Ph level...that is why it is very important to test out fragrances on the inside of a wrist or the back of the hand when at a store like Sephora (they are really good about letting you testing out all of there fragrances). What may smell wonderful on you might smell completely different on someone else!

Any fragrance shouldn't be too overbearing, but at the same time should be memorable...for scents do, in fact, trigger memories! It's true!!! Scents have a very funny way of tapping into our brain's memory cortex, and believe it or not, this is due to our natural survival instinct! You see, odors, scents, fragrances, stenches, or stinks, on the whole, are neither good nor bad. It is our brains, hard-wired with eons of evolutionary progress, that deciphers whether a particular odor will trigger a positive response of pleasantries, or a negative response of disgust.

A foul odor, such as a rotten egg, fecal matter, or even a rotting corpse, naturally smell bad to us humans as a means of protection from danger, infection, illness, and desease. After years of trial and error, we humans have come to realize and identify certain bad odors as a clear sign of danger to our health. In this respect, burying a corpse six feet under ground insured that no one would smell the rotting flesh or suffer from any contaminants; that no one would dare eat a putrid and rotten egg and suffer a horrific infection; that no one would roll around in a pile of their own excrement to risk all sorts of maladies. However, for example, on the flip side, shit (pardon my Russian) smells delicious to the common housefly's brain...it's all a matter of perspective!

Now, onto fragrances for your dwellings. These can come in all sorts of varieties: incense, scented candles, oils, essences, sprays, Glade Plug-ins, etc. The choice is really up to you...it is as personal to your living space as body fragrances are to your person. A quick tip if you explore the whole fragrant essences that come in tiny bottles, is that if you are planning a romantic evening with a certain love interest, swab a couple of drops of this on a bare incandescent light bulb (never on a napkin over a bulb, that's an instant fire hazard. And not on one of those energy-saver fluorescent thingies). The point behind this is that the heat from the (ol' fashioned) light bulb will evaporate the essence and dissipate it throughout the room. It is quite effective, and depending on the fragrance type, will really set the mood!

The rule, again, here is to never have a scent that is too over-the-top and distracting. It should be subtle, even hinted at, and most importantly...memorable. In this regard the particular scents that surround your daily life will come to define you in others' minds, and when they run across that particular scent somewhere else, they can't help but think of you...maybe a good thing...maybe a bad thing...that is up to you.


  1. Great article. I am a scent obsessive and will test out various fabric softeners, plug-ins, etc, looking for the most appealing scents.

    Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has all your dark fragrance needs covered. A few drops of say, Snake Oil used as you recommend with the lightbulb sets a sensuous atmosphere. For perfumes, I love the Tokyo Milk Dark line. The bottle looks really great on your bathroom counter, too.


  2. If you are looking for the most appealing scents, use human pheromones for looking for a way to add fire in your attractiveness.

    Pheromones are also known to exude an aroma which is said to affect the behavior of the opposite sex.