The Real Reason You Shouldn't Wear Perfume On A Date

It is astounding how a certain scent can spark nostalgia, bringing you back to your high school sweetheart, your first car, or even your mom's kitchen. According to associate professor of psychology at Rutgers University John McGann, smell is the only sense that goes directly to the emotional and memory centers of the brain (via Live Science). This seems to be a likely reason we judge potential partners on how they smell, and why we want to smell attractive to others, but science says there may be more to it. 

Studies have shown animals use their sense of smell to mate with those who can produce healthy offspring, and a small Swiss study suggests the same for humans (per The Atlantic). Rachel Herz, author of The Scent of Desire, tells the Atlantic it's not artificial scents that attract compatible partners, rather, it is a group of genes responsible for protecting the immune system called Human Leukocyte Antigens. While innocently masking your natural scent may induce an attraction, once you share a bed, you cannot cover up genetics. 

Genetics are not the only reason to avoid spritzing on a scent on before your date

Smell is important, especially when trying to impress your date. Bad odor is the last thing you want to radiate. But wearing perfume may be a bad idea as fragrance allergies are on the rise, causing classic symptoms like sneezing and a runny nose and possible contact dermatitis (per WebMD). Besides, there is no solid research that supports perfume alone has aphrodisiac properties, regardless of advertising claims (via How Stuff Works). 

With the strong scent-emotion connection, wearing a cologne that may provoke an emotion, especially a negative one, is a surefire way to turn your date off. Research has found that odors have been shown to evoke emotionally intense memories as well as possibly change a person's thinking and behavior (via Real Men Real Style). Showing up smelling like your date's toxic ex will more than likely spark a negative reaction. Until you know more about your potential partner, stick with a good shower and light deodorant.