The Nose Knows

A recent discovery of mine is that there is actually a scientific answer for why men are slobs, and women always clean up after them. This may seem like an unfair stereotype (after all, I personally know a few tidy men), but it is scientifically true. The answer is all to do with the sense of smell. Women have significantly stronger senses of smell than men, due to the omnipresent hormone oestrogen. This fluctuates during a woman’s cycle, meaning that women can smell the best when they are ovulating, and worst when they are menstruating. Results such as this suggest that for women, the sense of smell is important in attracting a mate. Some scientists suggest that it may even help a woman to find the most genetically compatible mate, which is important, since the best offspring have diverse genetics (this may also be why nobody is attracted to their siblings or cousins).

As if to prove this point, apparently testosterone makes men emit a chemical called androstenol through their sweat. Supposedly, men have two types of hormones secreted in sweat, the stinky type (androstenone) and androstenol, which doesn’t stink at all, and attracts women, especially ovulating women, who can smell it strongly. This reciprocation probably helped thousands of generations of humans to breed. Upon learning all of this biological stuff, I decided to observe myself, several months ago, to watch out for signs of this. Sure enough, at a certain time of the month, when me and a male friend of mine were hanging out together, I caught myself reveling in an inexplicably pleasurable scent, presumably androstenol. If it was nature’s way of chemical attraction, I must say it did its job rather effectively.

Of course the big downside to women having better senses of smell is that it means that men have crappy senses of smell. Therefore they cannot tell when they stink, at least not as easily as women can. This leads up to the stereotype of men being slobs. They simply cannot tell that they are filthy and smell awful, and due to their single-mindedness when it comes to certain tasks, they probably don’t realize that they are leaving muddy footprints on the carpet and dirty plates on the coffee table. This leaves the woman of the house to clean up after the resident male, since he can’t be bothered to do it himself. This is probably also the reason for the nagging housewife stereotype as well, come to think of it. And since smell is related to taste, it’s probably why men can (and do) eat anything if they’re hungry, even if it’s the nastiest food you can think of.

So the reason men are slobs is because of an evolutionary trait meant to benefit the best possible mating pairs in humans.