Can your sense of smell lead you to your true love?
Q. I’ve been reading about pheromone singles parties in California in which people sniff stinky clothing to select who they’ll get matched with. Have I been going about my dating routine all wrong?
A. Humans produce and respond to pheromones — aromatic hormones secreted by the body that stimulate certain behaviors. Men’s sweat smell raises women’s cortisol levels, interesting because that’s a “fight or flight” hormone. And human sexual behavior and fertility seem influenced by particular scents.
But do aromas make for the sweet smell of romantic success? Sticking your nose in a plastic bag containing a T-shirt that a potential date slept in for three nights (that’s the gimmick at these get-togethers) may let you know if he or she is a smoker or wears cologne you hate. But that’s a long way from finding a soul mate.
An enduring relationship is one of the building blocks of lifelong better health: Paired-up people live longer (cohabitation motivates good choices!) and have more frequent sex. They survive serious illnesses better, and they’re less stressed, which has cardiovascular and psychological benefits.
Find activities you enjoy (from cycling to reading), and join groups of like-minded people. And if you want to check out this latest dating game, you might find other people there who are as curious-minded as you — and have a good sense of humor.
Q. My 10-year-old son has dyslexia and ADHD and takes several medications to help him concentrate and read better. I think he’s getting bullied at school. What can I do?
A . The first step is to make your child feel safe enough to talk about what’s going on. That comes from his knowing it’s not his fault (kids so often blame themselves) and knowing that you — and his teachers — will stick up for him. So talk to your child about what’s going on and find ways for him to tell you and his teachers when it happens. Maybe talk about it casually as you go for a walk.
Try to get the school involved in an anti-bullying campaign. There’s a successful initiative in Alberta, Canada — the Teasing and Bullying Unacceptable Behaviour (TAB) program — that gets results with fourth- through sixth-graders who don’t understand about kids with differences. After going through TAB, potential bullies showed the biggest attitude change. Once they learned that differences are involuntary and how bullying really hurt their schoolmate, friend or even sibling, the bullying became socially unacceptable.