London-based experimental food and architecture company Bompas & Parr are holding a speed-dating event this week for singles where guests are given "sweat-inducing" cocktails and asked to sniff each others underarms.
Tickets to the event, called 'Romancing the Armpit' were sold out in just two days.
Bompas & Parr are known for pushing the envelope when it comes to food, body, and art. (Hello anti-aging gin!) But their latest endeavour thoroughly 'bursts' said envelope, with all its contents spilling well into the sphere of crazydom.
"This is the next generation of pheromone dating, with added awkwardness," a Bompas & Parr spokesperson tells SBS.
This latest experiment/event aims to "revolt against a highly deodorised world and online-dating", by using natural pheromones, hormones taken in by smell, as a way to get to know a potential partner.
"We know that pheromones – the airborne compounds secreted in our sweat – play a role in sexual attraction," says the spokesperson.
"Our body odour is largely influenced by Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) molecules, which are genetically determined and linked to the immune system. Experiments have shown that opposites attract; we tend to judge potential sexual partners as more attractive if their MHC composition is different from our own. Further, MHC is also linked to sexual preference, so differences in body odour are detected and responded to on the basis of an individual’s gender and sexual orientation," they claim.
On the night, guests are numbered, given a paper bag as a head disguise, a paper cup for sniffing, and a scorecard.
After drinking their sweat-inducing cocktails, the first round of sniffing commences where "everyone sniffs everyone".
"Then everyone de-bags for the second round of full-frontal sniffing," they say, describing how guests, who are still masked, take off their tops to get a closer sniff at potential partners.
The results are recorded and handed in for assessment, before the most compatible pairs are announced.
The event also offers "sharing sausages" (an extra-long sausage that two people eat from either end until they meet in the middle), "horny horns" (a shared cocktail drunk from a horn fortified with aphrodisiacs), and "candid armpit portraits art directed by [their] in-house armpit model".
"There are no rules on cleanliness and coiffure. The assessment of body odour may reek of negative connotations, but in the confines of Alcoholic Architecture no-one critiques," reads the event description.
Ultimately what an architecture and experimental food company has to do with armpit sniffing is beyond us. But Bompas & Parr assure us 'Romancing the Armpit' couldn't be a better fit for them:
"Bompas & Parr are into the controlled use of bodily fluids, intense interactions, surprising moments, embracing awkwardness, the body, sensuality, adventure, where base activity collides with decadent experience. This rather wonderfully captures the lot."