The Bad Breath Test:
Lick the top of your hand. Let it dry. Smell it.
If it smells bad, you’ve got Bad Breath.
Everyone has favorite aromas and conversely odors that make them gag. Believe it or not, there is actually a Sense of Smell Institute that catalogues and analyzes thousands of smells.
NOTE: Do NOT fart at this facility or you may be held liable.
The sense of smell is fascinating–even if you’re not a researcher at SSI. Everyone has their favorite smells, and if your friend or lover’s breath smells like one of your favorites—say, rotting fish– you’re probably in Aroma Heaven. You might think choosing rotting fish is odd, but Nanook the Eskimo thinks your breath smells like bison wiener.
The Times of London did a study of Britain’s top 10 Favorite smells and came up with these:
Fresh Bread, frying bacon, coffee, ironing, cut grass, babies, the sea, Christmas tree, perfume and fish and chips. I was going to launch a breath mint called “Fish and Chips” here in America, but the investors shot me down. The point is, culture does make a difference. I mean, think about all that stinky cheese the French are eating right now as they look down their noses at you, you worthless American-piece-of-Monterey Jack.
Smells are subjective and can be attached to emotional memories. If you loved your Mom or Dad and she/he smoked, you might like that smell on the breath of your lover. But often when someone has what you consider bad breath, you simply want to vomit (which consequently makes your breath bad, ergo, Puking is the Great Equalizer). Because of this adverse gag reflex, Bad Breath can make a social situation go downhill fast, even if the breather is extremely attractive.
Here are two true scenarios to illustrate my point:
I have a friend who looks like a movie star.
He’s a high-level executive, makes a ton of money and has been married and divorced a few times. He has no problem getting women. Here’s how our conversation went at the bar as he leaned in to tell me about his latest love interest:
Him: I met this incredible woman at work. Her name is Hanna. You just have to, I mean, HAVE to meet her.
Me: Is this before or after I cut open your belly and exorcise the dead alien baby marinating in the juices of Satan’s anus?
I wanted to run into the bathroom and vomit, then scream into his face “Hanna, Hanna, Hanna!” just to square up the Odor Karma. But alas, I just leaned back and drank my beer. He is a good friend and I should have been able to tell him, but I just don’t have the necessary skills to navigate this touchy subject. I felt that I should try another, more subtle form of communication, so I collected some of my dog’s feces, put it in a jar with a note that said “Your Breath” and left it at his front door.
NOTE: I also drew a little heart on the note and made a smiley face inside the “O”.
I was playing with my band at a nightclub and a friend of mine “Mick”, who happens to be a pole vaulter, was approached by a very attractive and curvaceous lady. She had on jeans and a skin tight white top which she filled out incredibly. I watched as she approached him, her body language telling me that she was definitely interested in him. His head is shaved bald and he’s in fantastic shape. I was happy to see them talk, and hoped that later they would make out in the parking lot so I could post pictures on Facebook. I could then tell everyone it was Bruce Willis, who loves our band and might jam some of his fantastic harmonica.
More people would come see the band next time—that is, unless someone had Bad Breath.
When I looked up at them again, I noticed Mick glaring at me. After the set, Mick pulled me aside. Here’s our conversation:
Me: Hey, Mick. That woman is hot. She looked like she wanted you. You should see if she wants to make out in the parking lot, preferably where I can’t actually see the features of your face, but under a streetlight if possible.
Mick: Her breath smelled like someone put dog feces in a jar.
Me: In some cultures, that’s considered sexy.
Mick: Yeah? What culture would that be?
Here’s where I pulled out my Smartphone to ask it what cultures like the smell of dog poop, but Mick was off to get another beer or maybe just to pole-vault home. At any rate, Bad Breath ruined our evening.
On a lighter, less depressing note, I was speaking with my daughter yesterday about aromas, and we were discussing that a fart is the only odor that is funny—I mean, the only aroma we could think of that’s processed through the olfactory nerve centers that makes people laugh.
Formulas for next week’s Pop Quiz:
Bad Breath=Disgusting and sometimes gaggish, but not funny
Farts=Disgusting and sometimes gaggish, but funny.
Don’t worry about Bad Breath. You can always fart and everyone will just start smiling.