How is it possible that someone can go through life and not know they smell? Do some people lack the basics of self smelling? Is in fact, a person’s ability to understand and process their own smell like colour blindness or more like bad behaviour?
This is something I was curious about so I started to search the web.
There is a group who argues that someone’s lack of ability to smell their own body odour is in fact like colour blindness, a genetic disorder. They argue that the person was born with the lack of self smell and therefore cannot be held accountable for their personal body odour due to the fact that they have no way to process this information (Whether due to a olfactory deficiency or neural). These people argue that we need to support the smell impaired, in the same way that you would not stare at someone with a deformity, work hard to integrate the them into daily society without calling attention to their genetic deficiency.
They argue that the apparatus to the right is very rude. You should be shot for your making the olfactory impaired (ASIDE: They find ‘smelly person’, ‘stinky’ and ‘get away from me before I vomit’ naming conventions offensive) feel self conscious. This group is pushing aggressively for olfactory impaired zones and government funding for devices that would alert the user of their body odour levels.
I hear the first test on this lead to some significant arguments. The first group of scientists wanted to label the output as 1 through 5 (5 being the most nasty alert level for the user of the device). The second group felt that the olfactory impaired might also suffer from a lower IQ and therefore require clearer labelling. They were pushing for 5 levels also. These levels were: Smells Like a Rose, Socks Worn for a Morning, Makes Crowds Eye’s Water, Dead Skunk and You Have No Friends. A fist fight ensued, they all started sweating and 2 scientists died from the fumes. Not a good start.
The other camp in this scientific battle labelled “smellationism” (Clearly a rip off of the argument on creationism and a testament to the lower IQ of the smelly scientists) suggests that the cause is environmental. Maybe the parents smell? Maybe they cooked with particularly pungent spices causing nasty excretions? Maybe their culture does not agree with deodorant because sweat lets the ‘good spirits’ out? Any one of these factors could be attributed to why someone becomes olfactory desensitized.
To prove the point, the scientists took 10 men who smelled perfectly acceptable from a local bank. All men were in the age range of 35 to 55, and were mildly obese. They asked the men to remain in their suits and put them into a clean room with 10 treadmills. They then asked the men to tread on the mills for 2 hours, while turning up the heat in the room to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. After 30 minutes, all men had discarded all clothes except their under garments. At which point two of the scientists staged a protest, leaving the experiment on moral and ethical grounds. Later interviewed, one of the scientists stated “I have better things to do than watch 10 over weight guys sweat on a treadmill. Of course they will stink. My goodness, I have a PHD!”
After 45 minutes, all 10 men collapsed and medical teams were called in to rescucitate 2 and crane the other 8 to medical facilities for rehydration. Therefore, the experiment was a bust and remained inconclusive. Further attempts to redo the experiment were cancelled when the group “PETBM” (People for the Ethical Treatment of Big Men) protested.
So the war rages on about “smellationism”. Genetics? Factor of a person’s environment?
We may never know. But I do know that I was ready to throttle the guy in the row next to me as he stunk up the entire back of the plane last week while he smiled at us all, clearly unaware of the fact that I was trying to shoot lasers at him with my eyes (Oh, to have laser shooting eyes, if only for 2 minutes). The worst part of it? He had his 9ish year old son with him.
Genetics or environment, that kid is doomed to smell.