Whereas the “disgust” activity was purely sight, the t-shirt activity gave important insight into how crucial the other senses can be in terms of attraction. Upon starting the activity, when taking the survey, I did not expect to ascertain any noticeable difference in attraction to certain smells. I mean, all boys have generally the same body odor, right? NOPE. Some of those boys need to take showers a bit more regularly, or figure out how to sweat less…maybe turn on a fan before going to sleep. There were several shirts that had definite negative smells, several with definite positive, and several with no smell at all, for me. While the positive smells smelled good, I found myself more drawn to the shirts that did not have much smell at all. I don’t know whether this is indicative of my “type” or what, but I think those shirts acted as a neutralizer after smelling strong body odors either positively or negatively. I also wonder if my nose became desensitized after smelling several of the shirts, and if I would rate the same shirts differently if I did them a second time. I would bet yes. I am interested to see how birth control weighs in to the results. Would it really alter sense of smell that much? Or does it have to do with libido levels over all? I do remember not being attracted to anything quite as much when I was on birth control.
In the film “The Science of Sex Appeal,” there was a segment discussion how throughout the women’s minstrel cycle her preference for different smells changes. The hormones in the women’s body make her prefer one smell to another. In our class, we had all the males take a white t-shirt and then wear it for a certain amount of time. After they returned the t-shirt they placed the shirts in bags. Once they incubated for an allotted amount of time the women in the class came and smelled all the shirts. The women rated the shirts by giving it a positive, negative, or no effect and then the data will be processed. Since I do not have the results yet, I cannot tell you how this activity turned out. I am excited to see what the results say, and this is one of my favorite activities of the semester.
When I participated in this experiment, I had a predisposition to being disgusted. I think this happened because we heard the instructions given to the men (sleep with this t-shirt wearing no deodorant), and all I could think was: “Oh God, they are going to make us smell them”. And it is strange because we know the source of those t-shirts and have an idea of how attractive men in our class are, so I think it would have been better if we did not know these things.