Dating by scent
Love at first whiff is the idea behind Smell Dating, a New York matchmaking service that promises to help single people sniff out their perfect match by breathing in the odors from dirty T-shirts.Artist Tega Brain, who teaches at New York’s School for Poetic Computation, and Sam Lavigne, an editor and researcher at New York University, created Smell Dating, which they describe as an art project.I plotted to eat nothing too pungent or messy so whoever got my shirt wouldn’t get hot sauce stains and judge me as a slob.I scheduled yoga instead of cycling, so I wouldn’t get the shirt super grossly pungent from the fear-sweat and rage-crying. Also, none of those aromatic activities actually ended up happening, because I was too busy doing unavoidable errands such as talking to my therapist and answering work emails. I realized I couldn’t fake my way out of it into becoming a naturally beautifully smelling human being — I just didn’t have the time!In any case — I emailed three or four of the people I matched with.I have some dates set up right now, including a second one (longboarding, if you’re curious, which you are).I matched with 7 people immediately — I don’t remember clicking "yes" to meeting 7, just 3, but I am less upset and more curious about this fluke in the algorithm. I reverse google’d the ones I could and eliminated some from the blandness of their instagrams (I’m shallow).This is a sense of victory Tinder has seldom given me. Looking them up illuminated an entirely new profile around their shirt samples.
Before I started, I thought having my control over scent taken away from me would be fun, but now I realized that it was actually terrifying and vulnerable in ways I hadn’t bargained for. What if this experiment just proved my deepest fear: that I am utterly unremarkable?
Each of its first 100 clients received a T-shirt to wear for three days straight without bathing.
The clients then mailed the T-shirts back to Brain and Lavigne’s “Sweat Shop” at NYU, where they were cut into swatches.
38 smelled comforting but I can't tell if it's because it smells like a shirt or comforting because someone comforting wore it. [I did not match with them.] 9 smelled sexier and a little spicy but also frightened me a little? When I return to them, I can smell a flower, rain water, a back.
But it’s all fleeting and ephemeral, like trying to catch a ghost. I matched with two of the three people I was really curious about and matched with people I revisited.
Search for dating by scent:
In other words, if “Client 55” likes “Client 69” and vice versa, put a heart around it, Brain said.