Feb
02
2009

Men are cheesy and women are oniony. Together we make cheesy onions that make you want to throw up.

Which one are you?: Be honest.
Which one are you?: Be honest.Courtesy prettywar-stl
Ka-BLAM!!! What more needs to be said?

Sometimes I have these moments of doubt, and I have to ask myself, “JGordon, do you know what you’re doing… at all?”

And, you know, usually I just have to answer, “Um… I don’t know. Maybe?”

It’s not an easy way to live, to be honest. Plagued by self-doubt, stammering and stumbling through even the most basic aspects of my job… frowny face.

And then, and then… BAM! I write a Science Buzz headline that is so perfect, so emotionally evocative, so effective in communicating science fact, so cool with words and stuff… Was there ever any reason to doubt myself? It’s hard to imagine at times like these.

I say “times like these” because, of course, this is one of those times. Look at the title of this post again. Men are cheesy: yes, I understand that. Women are oniony: well, naturally, yes—I mean, “oniony” isn’t much of a word, but it all makes perfect sense. Together they make cheesy onions: a logical jump, sure, but it’s clear when written it out like that. These cheesy onions make you want to throw up: well, duh!

Do I even need to get into the rest of the news item? No, I don’t. But, really, I’ve got time to kill here, so why not?

As you know by now, having read the title of the post, scientists in Switzerland have recently determined that men’s B.O. is cheesy smelling, and women’s B.O. is oniony smelling.

Men’s sweat was found to contain lots of an “odorless fatty acid which releases a cheesy smell when exposed to enzymes produced by bacteria in the armpits.” Kind of a mouthful, if you will. (Not like my headline.)

Women, on the other hand, sweat lots of a particular sulfur-containing compound. When armpit bacteria get a hold of this compound, it turns into a “thiol.” Thiols are a type of chemicals known for their oniony smell (or their garlicky smell, according to Wikipedia).

The Swiss scientists took the study a step further, and determined which smell is grosser.

Any guesses?

That’s right. If you guess that the cheesy male smell is grosser, you were wrong. You were wrong because a team of independent testers determined that “the smell from women’s armpits was more unpleasant.” (I’m assuming that the “independent testers” were hermaphrodites that did not self-identify as either male or female.)

Also, despite any predilection you might have for cheese and/or onions, it turns out that when the armpits of men and women are combined, you do not end up with something delicious. This wasn’t part of the study; it’s something that I insist to be fact.

The research might be used to develop deodorants aimed specifically at male or female sweat. However, some scientists have pointed out that plenty of other factors go into determining the character of sweat, beyond gender. Genetics play a significant role, as well as individual diet. So while the new information might apply perfectly to the sweaters of Geneva, it might not be very useful to apply to armpits around the world.

More on the way you smell.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Gene's picture
Gene says:

The Rutles were so far ahead of their time...

posted on Fri, 02/06/2009 - 7:27pm
Candace's picture
Candace says:

that is a verry interesting title.

posted on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 10:58pm

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