Most punters agree that the one thing all bar boys have in common is that they appreciate a customer who smells good. Or to put it in another way, the hottie of your dreams will be a nottie if you don’t have the common decency to bathe regularly. In Thailand, that means three or four showers a day, depending how active your sex life is. Not that a personal crusade against body odor is just a Thai thing. We all – or most of us – try to smell our best when attempting to attract a partner. In the U.S. alone, over $24 billion is spent on personal scents each year. Add in the French and that’s . . . well, okay, so it’s still only $24 billion.
Nonetheless, gay guys shell out big bucks to smell like David Beckham in the hopes that that’ll help them look like David Beckham. Not that that is any more productive than wearing H&M underwear. And while I personally appreciate an aging sexpat taking a modicum of care in dressing decently when preparing for a night out at the bars, those you view as a conquest are more appreciative if your efforts are to not stink to high hell. Acting your age is one thing, smelling it another. With his eyes on your wallet, a bar boy may ignore the dangers his olfactory senses have equated with Terrorism Level Red, but that just goes to show you that the Roman emperor Vespasian had it right when he said, “Pecunia non olet.”
Then again, maybe it does and that’s the benchmark you should be aiming for with your personal grooming habits. Proving that boys will be boys anywhere in the world, a recent U.K. survey on behalf of a scent design company showed that the ideal of a “fresh scent’ has a universal appeal. And though some may consider that to be the smell of freshly baked bread while others think of clean sheets or fresh flowers, all positive smells produce a calming effect. While that is all good and well, the twist in the results was not that the smell of freshly brewed coffee beat out the scent of freshly washed laundry, but that in the 18-24 year age group one in five men (19%) favored the scent of money over the smell of their own partner fresh from the shower (17%) or a man with fresh breath (16%). But then few young men in the U.K have ever had the pleasure of whiffing the passing scent of an aged, grossly overweight farang whose response to the BO he’s worked up in Bangkok’s 110 degree heat and 90% humidity is a liberal dousing of Chanel for Men rather than going mano y mano with the shower head in his hotel room.
Confused that their choice in footwear is what really matters to Thailand’s sex workers, too many sex tourists and their live-in counterparts think they can get away with skimping on a daily shower or two. Equally confused, they think that often heard bar boy refrain of ‘You tink too much’ has something to do with their thought process rather than the bathing regime it is really directed toward. Bar boy or fellow sex tourist, it’s difficult to position yourself upwind in a gogo bar. That so many bars still allow smokers to indulge has less to do with the Thai practice of ignoring laws and rules as it does with masking the stench that would otherwise permeate the premises.
Be that as it may, and putting the smelly shoe on the other foot, the boys whose hearts are set on your bank account tend to be well groomed, freshly showered, and smelling as fresh as a daisy. Maybe that’s in hopes of setting an example for their customers to follow, but it probably has more to do with the 15 minutes they just spent naked on stage dripping hot candle wax on their private parts. And that’s a shame (not the naked part. Or the candle waxed body parts part). Sweat flowing at a rate that would make the Niagara Falls jealous might not be sexy, but the scent of a man can be. Thai guys not only smile a lot, but they smell good too. Naturally. The great unwashed may be more than your senses can handle, but a light dusting of man’s aroma in the air can be delightful. Attention to personal hygiene is a good thing, but can BO actually be a good thing too?
Yup, smells like science to me.
Wait . . . let me sniff that armpit just one more time to be sure.
Many gogo bar patrons profess that they only want to off gay guys. Short of extremely effeminate manners or that wistful look when the ladyboy act takes the stage, ferreting out which in the bar’s stable of young hunks is gay and which are only gay for pay is not always an easy chore. But that’s because you are relying on your sense of sight when you should be prescribing to that old adage, The Nose Knows. While we may swoon over self-professed “types” (muscles, twinks, or muscles), mate selection relies heavily on a series of conscious and unconscious calculations made deep within our brains. And it turns out your brain says that BO might actually help you find your best-fit sex partners.
A study by scientists at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia showed that gay men and lesbian women had different body odor preferences than straight men and women; gay men were drawn to the odors of other gay men (and heterosexual women for some unfathomable reason), while odors from gay men were the least preferred by heterosexual men. According to the study not only do we smell different than breeders, but we prefer the stink of fellow rainbow warriors too. It turns out gaydar might not owe its miraculous abilities to the sense of sight, but to the sense of smell instead.
Participants in the research used only odorless soaps and shampoo, not shaving their armpits, and abstaining from garlic, curry and cumin for nine days. They then wore cotton pads wedged into their armpits for several days while going about their typical activities. Shortly thereafter, another set of volunteers – of both sexes and sexual orientations – smelled and rated the odors on intensity and pleasantness on scales of 1 to 10. Neuroscientist Charles Wysocki, who led the study, said the strongest finding was that gay men prefer the smell of other gay men, and can smell the scent of another gay man like a bloodhound tracking a wounded tweaker wearing a sweaty wife-beater (okay, so I’ve been watching too much of COPS lately).
“Our findings support the contention that gender preference has a biological component that is reflected in both the production of different body odors and in the perception of and response to body odors,” he said, which in more simple terms means gay guys smell good and like other gay guys who smell good too. Next time you are trying to decide which bar boy to off for the night, you may do well to take a quick sniff of his package rather than rely on the sense of sight or touch alone.
This theory was expanded upon by the work done by the Stockholm Brain Institute, where a brain scanning technique called Positron Emission Tomography was used to find that a potent chemical lurking in male sweat glands causes a rush of electrical activity directly to the sexual regions of the brain in gay men. In straight men, not so much.
In their research, both breeders and the gays responded similarly to ordinary odors such as lavender and cedar; their brains reacted only in the olfactory region that handles smells. But when confronted by a chemical derived from testosterone, portions of the brain that control sexual activity were activated in gay men. As in off the charts.
At fault is Androstadienone, a testosterone derivative chemical, which is 10 times more abundant in male than female sweat and is suspected of acting as a potent male pheromone (molecules emitted by one individual that evoke some behavior in another of the same species). Pheromones trigger basic responses, such as sexual attraction, in many animals. But scientists have long debated if humans respond to pheromones. The Swedish study suggests that pheromones indeed play a part in making humans sexually attractive to one another. Especially within the same gender when your sexual urges are already predisposed to lean that way. Maybe Lady GaGa got it right. We really are born that way. And our noses prove it.
Not that it’s all good news on the good nose front. Especially for Pattaya’s sexpats. Just when you find out your sense of smell is the best way to lead you to the happiest of happy endings, The Journal of Urology reports the assist you get from the little blue pill may impair your olfactory capabilities. Dr. Thomas Hummel and his colleagues at the University of Dresden Medical School conducted a study on men using a 100mg dose of Viagra against a control group who needed no help in achieving blast off. They found that little blue tablet of wonder is responsible for a decrease in nasal airflow. Those using the drug in their study had a significant loss in odor detection threshold, odor discrimination, and odor identification ability. So it might be a good idea for you to sniff out your sexual partner for the night before swallowing your little friend. Take a good whiff and you might not even need that pill.
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