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The Luv Doc

Your Public Scent

Your Public Scent
Dear Luv Doc,
Yesterday, I was having an intense argument with a co-worker of mine about body odor. My opinion is that colognes and perfumes are fine – even encouraged – with the right application. His opinion is that people’s natural pheromones should do all the work. What’s your opinion? Where does the Luv Doc stand?
- Nosey

I’ll tell you exactly where the Luv Doc stands, Nosey: upwind from any crazy bastard who thinks natural pheromones should do all the work. Yes, natural pheromones can work for you – it’s a scientifically proven fact, but there are a lot of other factors involved in body scent that can completely override pheromones. Try standing next to the armpit of someone who has been sleeping in a steamy, fart-soaked pup tent at Kerrville for a week and see if you feel the urge to bone.

More than likely, your first gut reaction would be to run down to Home Depot and buy a pressure washer. Funk like that doesn’t wash off in the tepid drizzle of a natural rainwater shower. No, you need one of those Silkwood showers, where people in rubber hazmat suits give you a vigorous scrubdown with hard-bristled brushes – the kind you use to clean the mold off your grout. I know that probably sounds a bit hyperbolic, but until you’ve been in a Leftover Salmon mosh pit at 3 in the afternoon, you can’t really say you’ve been in the shit.

That said, artificial fragrances can be every bit of an olfactory assault. If you’ve ever run into a wall of Axe in a junior high stairwell, or passed by what you thought was a litter box in bad need of emptying but was actually a woman in a gauzy floral dress hosed down with Angel by Thierry Mugler, you know that you must be very careful when choosing a personal fragrance. It’s very likely that half the people at Rainbow Gatherings have been emotionally scarred by old women wearing ruby red lipstick and Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds.

In this rare instance, I am going to recommend moderation, restraint, and even timidity. Yes, boldness is admirable, but not when it comes to personal scent, and really, “personal scent” is a bit of a misnomer. Unless you’re a hermit, it’s really your public scent. Keep that in mind. Listen to the people – or at least a trusted friend. If she says you smell like cat pee, musty laundry, and pigeon shit, trust her. She speaks for the people.

Need some advice from the Luv Doc? Send your questions to luvdoc@austinchronicle.com, or check out the Luv Doc Archive.

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