The Problem With Pheromone-Infused Soap

God bless stock imagery.

Dial is making soap infused with synthesized pheromones called Dial for Men Magnetic Attraction Enhancing Body Wash. The soap is supposed to attract women. Apparently Dial does not make a version of this soap for ladies, possibly either because women don't need extra pheromones to get lucky or because they just don't give a crap about us. Anyway, scientists cannot determine whether these fake pheromones actually work. Real pheromones are still a bit of a mystery. But back to the soap: Dial did a test where blindfolded women smelled scent strips rubbed on men who had either just showered with a body wash containing the synthesized pheromones, showered with a pheromone-free body wash, or had just worked up a sweat and not bathed (yum!). The women were asked to decide, based on the scent strips, who they were attracted to. One woman chose a guy who had used Dial's magic soap. “In appearance and personality he was not someone I would otherwise be convinced to go out with,” she told the Times. Well yes, but she didn't get to look at him or talk to him — she just smelled a piece of paper that had been rubbed on him. Let's hear from an expert:

“For humans, though, it’s usually love at first sight, not love at first smell,” said Dr. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist. “There are many factors to sex appeal, and romance and scent is among them. But from studying the brain, I would argue that our brains are largely built for visual stimuli.”

While Dr. Fisher believes pheromones may not initially be an aphrodisiac, someone’s scent can certainly be a turnoff, or a turn-on, once courtship has been established, she said.

So if you're not hot, the pheromone soap won't help you get women. Unless you are pursuing the blind.

Banking on a Chemical Reaction [NYT]