I'll admit it: I've pressed my face into Kate's pillow and taken a deep breath when she's been away. Something about her scent is just comforting. I always thought this was a little embarassing but it turns out I'm not a nut job but just following my natuarl instincts.
I just came across an article linking the smell of a person and your attraction to them. Turns out, it comes from an evolutionary imperative - reproducing healthy kids. (This was also covered in the recent Time issue concerning relationships. More on those articles later.)
Here's how it works: A gene called the major histocompatability complex (MHC) helps us stave off infections but also changes odors in ways that we humans can detect. To figure this out, researchers lined up a bunch of three day old tshirts and had subjects take a sniff and rate the attractiveness of the wearer. They then compared the MHC genes of the testers and the owner of their most "attractive" tshirt.
The result? Women preferred T-shirts from men whose MHC was most different from their own. The researchers believe this makes sense. The more diverse you are from your mate's MHC, the better the immune system your off-spring should enjoy. (This attraction is also the same for gay and lesbian couples.)
Now, Kate has always posited that modern deodorants mask our natural scent, hurting our ability to chose the right mate with our sniffers. (One of her fabulous college roommates wrote a paper entitled, "Phermones: The Scent More Powerful Than Chanel." So, this has been on her mind. I know, I know - the things we talk about....)
I'm happy to report Kate looks to be wrong on this one. The evidence shows women with similar MHCs favoured the use of similar commercial perfumes. In otherwords, they are picking the perfumes that augment their natural scent. I would guess that men do the same with deodorants.
If you want to figure out if you smelled the right person, you can use ScientificMatch.com, a company started on these principles. It ONLY costs $1995 per person. Or, if you want a cheaper method, just take a whiff.