‘Je reviens en trois jours; ne te laves pas!’ This is what Napoleon famously wrote to Josephine. For these whose French is fundamental (ie, moi), this roughly interprets as ‘Back in three days; don’t wash’.
The emperor preferred his girls to odor au naturel (aka smelly). But, whereas Mr Bonaparte’s request isn’t one thing I might ponder, I do suppose odor is a vital a part of attraction in relationships.
I really like the odor of my boyfriend. In his presence, I’m just like the Bisto child, solely as an alternative of following the waft of gravy, it’s the waft of Creed aftershave.
It’s not nearly aftershave, although. Someone’s odor is an alchemic mixture of washing powder, deodorant, moisturiser and cleaning soap, which mix to create a perfume distinctive to them. A pal as soon as instructed me that after sleeping along with her now husband for the primary time she didn’t bathe for 3 days, so eager was she to maintain his scent on her.
Side observe: have you ever ever seen how another person’s washing powder all the time smells higher than yours, that you simply develop a sort of olfactory resistance to your personal meaning it ceases to register? It’s the identical with perfume. While I flirted with others, for many years my ride-or-die fragrance was Chanel No 19. However, after some time I couldn’t odor it any extra, so I might layer on increasingly till these round me have been in all probability keeling over from intoxication.
I’m wondering if this phenomenon is a metaphor for relationships? Sometimes you stop to give you the option to respect the great thing about one thing (whether or not that be a scent or an individual) due to its omnipresence. As human beings we’re hardwired to suppose new is extra interesting, extra engaging.
But past fragrances – what about somebody’s pure odor? There’s quite a lot of discuss how the pheromones all of us emit can probably sign our particular person mixture of immunity genes to a potential mate. The concept is that you’re genetically programmed to sniff out somebody whose profile may be very totally different from your personal – thus providing the most effective likelihood of wholesome offspring.
Spurred on by this concept of odour compatibility, relationship websites have sprung up that match you not on seems to be, pursuits or location however on your odor. The mechanics? You are instructed to put on a T-shirt for 3 days straight (echoes of Josephine…) and that is then reduce up into small bits of material and distributed to would-be mates to sniff.
I’m sceptical of the success charge of this technique, however I do stand by my view that perfume is interwoven and intrinsic to our love journey. It’s so evocative, so transportive, so highly effective. One whiff of Kouros takes me again to snogging in school discos (the place I had to ever-so-slightly crouch on account of being taller than all of the boys). A sure suntan cream will take me again to the seashore the place I first fell in lust. And now if I borrow a sweater from my boyfriend I get an immediate hit of serotonin from the comforting odor of him.
But if I’ve learnt something, it’s to not relaxation on my laurels. I hear the phrases of my pal Dom, who says, ‘Everyone smells of roses within the honeymoon stage.’ He as soon as had an unlucky expertise with a private coach who turned out to be a soap-dodger.
So I’ll maintain switching up my perfume and won’t skimp on the hair washing (nonetheless tempting). Because it seems getting in a lather is horny.
Read extra of Rosie Green’s columns right here