[Written by Mary]
A new dating website matches people by their body odor. They take a saliva-swab to test your DNA, and then match you up with your ideal partner. According to their website, when you share chemistry with someone, you love their body odor and they smell "sexier" to you.
My first thought was that this might be a good dating website for people who were adopted -- at least this way you'd be sure you weren't dating your long-lost brother Fred. Apparently, though, this process doesn't work if you weren't raised by your biological parents until you were about a year old. According to the website, studies performed on mice showed that "When they were free to select partners to mate with, the mice based their mating preferences for different immune systems not on their own immune system genes, but on those of the parents who raised them —- even if they were adopted." It seems that we do try to choose a mate based on the criterion that they are different from Mom & Dad. (Presumably because this will annoy the parents the most?)
Does it make sense to match people by a particular sense? Montaigne wrote that "A good marriage would be between a blind wife and a deaf husband," but actually deaf people tend to congregate together, probably helped by the fact that they speak their own language. (I make that sweeping generalization based on my non-scientific observations of two people. My brother and his wife are always speaking to each other -- with their mouths full -- across the dinner table. In sign language.)
There is some evidence that people you are attracted to smell better to you than people you're not attracted to. At least, Vanilla wrote a post about how his sweat always smelled attractive to those around him. And he quoted from a scientific study that sounded impressive, so there you go.
Now if only they could segregate people on the subway by body odor, then I'd be a happy camper. Certainly it's possible to be repelled by someone based on their body odor.
What about you? Are you attracted to someone because of how they smell?