If you can think of a better way to spend a Thursday night than huffing the dirty t-shirts of complete strangers and watching softcore porn, then you’re kind of messed up. Cinefamily in Los Angeles is throwing a Pheromone Party tonight, where you bring a t-shirt you’ve worn for three days, and then you get to see who’s attracted to you based on your pit stains. The logic is based on studies that say we’re attracted to humans with immune systems that drastically differ to that of our own. It’s evolution at its finest: The more opposite the immune systems, the greater the chance of producing bionic children who can withstand those ultra-contagious mutant viruses that are supposedly going to force us all into biohazard containment camps in 2016.
We talked to Judith Prays, who invented this whole thing and has thrown a few of these parties in NYC, and Mya Stark, who’s co-organizing this one in LA.
VICE: After being paired, does physical attraction follow animal instinct?
Judith Prays:These parties are good for romance and adventure. I don't think they are good for relationships. Those take commitment and effort, which pheromones don't measure. After all, pheromones measure fecundity--how healthy your offspring will be. It doesn't measure, say, if you actually want offspring, etc.
Are there successful hookups?
While I do think a lot of people will hook up tonight, I can't guarantee that it will last.
Do there tend to be more popular/amorous t-shirts versus others that are just plain gross?
Yes! My best friend’s boyfriend got like five hits! I should ask her if she felt jealous or proud. And there are definitely gross ones, too. You know how you hate the smell of your brother’s room (or whatever)--I'm sure as much as smell tells you who to like, it also tells you who not to like.
Do gays show up? What about bisexuals? That seems like it could get spicy!
Mya Stark: Gays do show up. Here's how it works for gays:
1) All shirts are numbered and labeled in pink for girls and blue for boys. Smell the gender of your choice.
2) You get your picture taken holding up the number of the shirt you are attracted to.
3) Your picture is projected, and the number-person sees it and decides whether to approach you depending on their gender preference.
I'm hoping some curious folks might see a same-gender person holding their number and decide to say hi. Or take a chance on sniffing some same-sex shirts, just to see. We have free absinthe so this is MORE than likely as the night goes on.
Ooh, exciting! I really like that no one has to "categorize" themselves.
Dude, this is about to getting to the underlying TRUTH below the conscious mind. The nose knows.
Well yes! Except it's complicated…Do you know about the studies that show how taking birth control affects a woman's sense of smell to the point where she's selecting inappropriate mates? Like, I was dating men while I was on birth control and as soon as I stopped I was like, "Oh yeah! I'm gay!" OK, it’s a bit more involved than I’m making it sound, but those studies, when released, certainly gave me pause based on my own experience.
WOW. That is INCREDIBLY amazing. I am off birth control, I better smell some girl shirts.
Definitely sniff those pink labels. What about those of us who're taken? Do we get to have fun too?
Taken people--it's between you guys. Another interesting thing that could happen… you might find out you're attracted to a platonic FRIEND.
Why is the ungraspable, the unnamable, so sexy?
Judith Prays:Scent is not about understanding, it’s about feeling. Sex, Love, relationships--all are definitely about getting out of your head. In my opinion, the ungraspable gives us hope that there’s something more in life, connects us with something bigger than what we can know and understand. Logic is awesome, but it can only take us so far.
Cinefamily, 611 N. Fairfax, Los Angeles
Thursday, April 5, 8 PM; $15-$30
with Dublab's DJ Frosty, followed by a screening of The Naked Ape.