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Smelling dirty t-shirts is the way to find love – apparently

Smelly tshirt

Dive in nose first with the latest offering in matchmaking: mail odour dating.

A New York matchmaking service, Smell Dating, is promising to help single people find their perfect match – by sniffing them out. The idea is the brainchild of Tega Brain and Sam Lavigne who describe it as a not-for-profit art project.

The first 100 clients to sign up received a t-shirt to wear for three days in a row (without washing), after which they were required to send the t-shirt back to Smell Dating. “Embrace the musky possibilities,” the website says.

In the New York ‘Sweat Shop’, these t-shirts were then cut into swatches to be sent out in batches to clients to sniff this week. If the scent appreciation is mutual, contact details are passed on.

Believe it or not, there is science behind the pair’s plan; pheromones are chemical signals sent out to attract partners. Smell Dating’s website says: “When it comes to long-term romantic partnership it may actually be riskier to ignore the powerful signal of scent than to rely on it.”

“Most normal dating services, you rely on profile pictures, assumptions that come from visual information,” Brain told Reuters. “You either really like the smell of someone or you don't. It's much more innate.”

The idea is that would-be daters are confronted with just the smell, rather than bios, photographs and cheesy one liners. “We wanted to see if people would be interested in meeting other people just based on this one bit of information rather than this avalanche of information that you usually get,” said Lavigne.

For this unique service, clients pay a one-time fee of $25. Although the first round is now closed for registration, you can sign up to be notified when the next set of t-shirts are ready to be dispatched, worn until smelly and redistributed.

How it works, according to Smell Dating:

  1. We send you a t-shirt.
  2. You wear the shirt for three days and three nights without deodorant.
  3. You return the shirt to us in a prepaid envelope.
  4. We send you swatches of t-shirts worn by a selection of other individuals.
  5. You smell the samples and tell us who you like.
  6. If someone whose smell you like likes the smell of you too, we'll facilitate an exchange of contact information.
  7. The rest is up to you.

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