You are chatting animatedly with someone on a dating website, but the moment you catch a whiff of his odour, you decide he is not the one for you, never mind his good looks or similar tastes.
Dating websites like Basisnote, a start-up company, will soon permit you to match your odour profile with that of your prospective partner and will help you decide whether you find the smell pleasant or not.
"If everything fits, you have the same interests, lots to talk about, but you can't stand their smell, then a love affair doesn't stand a chance," explained biologist August Hämmerli, who founded the company.
If the flirt partner has also entered their smell profile, you can find out within seconds whether you would like their smell.
All of this works by taking a saliva test, which can be carried out easily at home. It works with a chromatographic process, similar to a pregnancy test. The result: a simple digital code, which can be entered into an online profile.
It takes no longer than 20 seconds. Hämmerli continues: "Obviously, smell is by no means the only factor in choosing a partner. However, our test makes it a measurable component."
The company is developing the test together with Mathias Wegner, head assistant at the Paul Schmidt-Hempel chair at the Institute for Integrative Biology, Switzerland. The test will appear on the market this year in cooperation with an online dating provider.
According to an explanatory model by evolutionary biologists, there is a valid explanation for why our nose is so important when it comes to choosing our partner.
It has been known that mice check their potential mating partners by smelling them. The fact that humans do the same on a subconscious level was first proven in the nineties by biologist Claus Wedekind at the University of Bern.
It is not without reason that we have to literally be able to "stand the smell" of our partner, if we are to find them likeable or even more.
Our nose has sensitive receptors. They probe whether the other party has as few similar genes to us as possible. The more varied the gene pools are, the higher the chance for healthy, strong offspring.
Wedekind let female students smell T-shirts that had been worn by male test persons. The women had to indicate the smell that they found the most pleasant.
It was shown that they consistently chose the men whose immune system was most different from their own, said a release of Basisnote.