On the subway this weekend, it was pretty crowded, a man gets on who is clearly homeless and very smelly. People began to freak out and announce how awful he smelled, how they were going to be sick, and they fled in the same manner as if they were being attacked with chemical weapons to the adjacent cars.
I was trying to explain what ferrets smell like when they haven't been bathed or cared for properly and when I hit that smell I told my friends it was a great example.
They decided a ferret was not for them.
The moment was a nice one to see how easily we have convinced ourselves that the natural smells of the human body are unnatural.
of course it's debatable whether or not the homeless man has a "natural" smell, but that's just the point.
The natural and unnatural are always in play. What is natural about bathing daily with scented soaps? Cologne and perfume? Deodorant? (Which contains known carcinogens by the way such as aluminum methyl sulfate and such).
Pheromones are also suppressed by bathing frequently and using these products. Could it be connected to our misogynistic culture that we repress the "natural' odors of courtship and mating? Could it be "unnatural" to allow these odors into our daily lives more frequently?