Mmm, body odor…

As you spend days on the trail with little access to showers you start to notice your own scent for a bit, and then it kind of goes away. I’m sure the scent remains but you kind of stop noticing. It makes me wonder why we consider our natural individual scent so perverse that we go out of the way to cover it every chance we get with deodorant, shampoos, perfume, body spray, soaps and whatever else we can rub on our body.

The natural oils and scents perform a valuable function in protection and attraction but we crinkle our nose at the smell of another person. Is this aversion the product of evolution, socialization, or both? I would guess both but mostly socialization. I have no evidence for this, just brainstorming.

There is an argument that we evolved with a natural aversion to scents that correlated with disease. It’s possible but I think that is not enough to explain our classification of human scents as bad. I think we have been told for so long that sweating is dirty and going without deodorant is bad that we have rewired to believe it.

I haven’t worn deodorant for about two months and my social calendar has been fine. Washing with water seems to be enough and my pheromones aren’t masked by perfumes. Maybe my scent is having a negative effect on my friends but they haven’t mentioned it. Hopefully they would (or will from now on).

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