An anonymous note left on the desk of Cecilia H. Jenkins, 2006

Come on, give us a break.

Cece,

I don’t mean to be rude, but have you ever thought about wearing less deodorant? It’s not just overly hygienic, it’s also inconsiderate of those of us who sit near you and are unable to determine if you are a compatible mate by the attractiveness of your natural scent.

Please stop and think about others before you load up on Secret tomorrow morning.

-Anonymous

p.s. Your overly modest business suits are also making it hard to tell if I want to have sex with you.

Analysis:

Since there have been letters, people have used them to find and ensnare potential mates. Scientists believe this is a naturally-occurring phenomenon in nearly all social animals (there is a species of Ant native to the Amazon who do not have such letters. Rather, their letters are entirely filled with angry rants about the current administration and how movies aren’t as good as they used to be). Most letters fall into the “love letter” category, wherein a writer lists the things that make the reader so special (i.e. hair, face, sports trivia knowledge, etc.), and follows with any number of things the two may enjoy together in the future (i.e. long walks at sunset, vacations to Europe, cunnilingus, etc.). Indeed, we’ve estimated that perhaps as many as 90%  of all “bang-letters” fall into this category.

However, we are occasionally lucky enough to find an example of other types of mating letters. The above example is a perfect representation of the anti-love letter, in which the writer attempts to appeal to the reader by being kind of a dick. While the request is not in and of itself unreasonable (we’ve all had trouble determining how good a potential mate would be, at least until they wear a “Santorum 2012” shirt to a funeral), the method of communication is designed to trick the reader into believing there’s something wrong with her, thus making her more open to advances from a lesser mate. Researchers believe this is also how Sea Slugs find mates.

Of course, humans like to believe that things like natural scents and pheromones have no effect on our choosing a mate. Instead, we choose our mates based on higher criteria, such as the ability to analyze letters. Yet we are affected by these chemical processes to a greater degree than we care to admit. For example, many people are intensely aroused by the smell of money or expensive breast implants. Of course, deodorant was invented during the middle ages, when the Church realized that if they didn’t do something about the smell, people would no longer want to hang around each other long enough to procreate. And though deodorant has come a long way since those first piles of goat fat (it’s hard for modern readers to determine just how bad people used to smell), we still need to find a balance between smelling good and smelling sexy.

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