POP go the pheromones

Two recent cartoons in my feed that play with language: a POP (phrasal overlap portmanteau) in Rhymes With Orange, an outrageous pun in Bizarro (a replay from 2009, first posted here on 2/15/14).



On #1, there’s not a whole lot to say, beyond the fact that Hilary Price is inordinately fond of POPs. And that joining marionette + networking in print (rather than in speech) requires a bit of fudging.

On #2, see discussion in my earlier posting, to which I now add remarks on pheromones.

From my 5/25/11 posting “Scent and masculinity”:

The idea is that some scents are masculine (and some feminine), so that when you’re manipulating scent (by colognes/perfumes, deodorants, soaps and shampoos, and the like) or merely broadcasting scent that can be gendered — the scent of flowers or home cooking (feminine), the scent of wood fires, leather, grilling meat, or piney woods (masculine), etc. — you’re sending gender messages.

… the classic Scent of a Man is, of course, male sweat, as generated by work, exercise, or sexual arousal, and accumulated in men’s clothes and in places like locker rooms…

Preparations that claim to be based on pheromones offer the possibility of capturing this scent — hints of musk and testosterone — as an allure to women or gay men, depending on your inclination, but I don’t know if these work for that purpose, though they might facilitate male bonding.

On this last question, from Wikipedia:

A pheromone (from Ancient Greek φέρω phero “to bear” and hormone, from Ancient Greek ὁρμή “impetus”) is a secreted or excreted chemical factor that triggers a social response in members of the same species. Pheromones are chemicals capable of acting outside the body of the secreting individual to impact the behavior of the receiving individuals. There are alarm pheromones, food trail pheromones, sex pheromones, and many others that affect behavior or physiology. Pheromones are used from basic unicellular prokaryotes to complex multicellular eukaryotes. Their use among insects has been particularly well documented. In addition, some vertebrates, plants and ciliates communicate by using pheromones.

… While humans are highly dependent upon visual cues, when in close proximity smells also play a role in sociosexual behaviors. An inherent difficulty in studying human pheromones is the need for cleanliness and odorlessness in human participants. Experiments have focused on three classes of putative human pheromones: axillary steroids, vaginal aliphatic acids, and stimulators of the vomeronasal organ.

… Axillary [armpit] steroids are produced by the testes, ovaries, apocrine glands, and adrenal glands. These chemicals are not biologically active until puberty when sex steroids influence their activity. The change in activity during puberty suggest that humans may communicate through odors.

… Further evidence of a role for pheromones in sociosexual behavior comes from two double blind, placebo-controlled experiments [investigating pheromones of one sex affecting behavior of people of that sex].

… Although there are disputes about the mechanisms by which pheromones function, there is evidence that pheromones do affect humans. Despite this evidence, it has not been conclusively shown that humans have functional pheromones. Those experiments suggesting that certain pheromones have a positive effect on humans are countered by others indicating they have no effect whatsoever… Some body spray advertisers claim that their products contain human sexual pheromones that act as an aphrodisiac. Despite these claims, no pheromonal substance has ever been demonstrated to directly influence human behavior in a peer reviewed study.

Looks like bad news for the pharoah.

One Response to “POP go the pheromones”

  1. Three remarkably named men’s fragrances | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] dubious view of the whole business, from Wikipedia as quoted in my 7/4/17 posting “POP go the […]

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