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Pheromone Parties: Using Dirty Laundry to Make Love Matches

In Love & Sex by Kim Muraro , on Monday, June 25, 2012, 9:26 AM (PDT)
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The Premise: If You Like the Smell of Someone's Dirty Laundry, It Means You're Attracted to Them

When Don Henley sang about how people love dirty laundry, there's no way he could have had this in mind: the newest trend in the dating world is pheromone parties, where participants bring bags of their own dirty laundry in the hopes that a potential love match will be turned on by their personal scents.

Read: Sex Appeal May Be Tied To Smell

And no, there's no hidden explanation that will somehow make this seem like a less gross idea. The pheromone parties unfold as attendees are told to bring with them a freezer bag full of their unlaundered clothing. The bags are numbered and placed around the room, where guests are asked to sniff them.

When someone finds a bag he or she likes, the person holds the bag up, has a photo snapped and the photo is then displayed on a big screen. The owner of the bag then has to come forward to meet the person who has been wooed by smelly socks and soup-stained shirts.

The parties are being held mostly in New York and Los Angeles so far, and, crazy as the idea sounds, there is some science behind it, sort of.

Read: The Worst Internet Dating Stories Of All Time

"Humans can pick up this incredibly small chemical difference with their noses," Martha McClintock, founder of the Institute for Mind and Biology at the University of Chicago, told the Associated Press. "It is like an initial screen."

McClintock and her co-workers conducted a study, for example, in which people were asked to sniff worn t-shirts, and the results revealed that people do have preferences for certain odors, usually ones that have different genetic lineups than their own, but not too different.

Read: FAIL: Dial Men's Soap Does NOT Work to Attract Women

"I think it's probably a bit more pseudoscience," said 25-year-old neuroscience graduate student Konstantin Bakhurin, who attended one of the parties. "I just kind of came here for kicks to see what would happen."

Said Judith Prays, who has organized pheromone parties for her friends in New York, "Animals have babies and they move on, and that's what the pheromone party is. The most successful thing about it is it opens up conversation."

Watch AOL's video report on the pheromone party trend:

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