Blame It On The Pheromones

Another decade is about to wrap up. Lately I’ve been reminiscing about the oddest things. These memories are usually induced by something completely random. As with the case prior to this post. Tonight I wasn’t in the mood to go out. As I’m scrolling through Facebook, somebody on my feed posts an sex article. It was published on the Vice website. The content was really about why people get attached to someone after sexual relations. Particularly to those not normally considered. I read the entire article. What caught my attention was certain hormones released during mating, male v. female. As the rest of the article went on, I was reminded of an incident during the ’90s.

Around mid-’90’s, I worked six months at some fetish/sex shop. It was located in the West Village. When applying, I was informed that out of all the applicants, I gave the impression of being a sane person. All the others who applied seemed unbalanced. My mental stability got me hired. I took the job because it meant no dress code. I didn’t have to take out my nose ring, continue dying my hair that shade of Manic Panic Vampire Red, etc. Perfect for me! That’s all I cared about. So much for priorities. The pay was shit, off the books, and the hours long. I could, however, play whatever music I liked. My selections ranged from RuPaul to My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult. Got a crash course about fetishes 101. After that gig ended, I had knowledge about dark human sexuality.

One night, a friend dropped by my store. For her, the party never ended. She was always looking for an excuse to hang out at places like Coney Island High. In hindsight, we both may have graduated high school, but we still had that mentality. Eternal teenagers. We might as well been like Dante and Randal from Clerks. Anyway. She came by after she was finished her shift working at some vintage clothing store. Tagging with along was her co-worker. He was a generic ’90s sub-cultural male. The guy quietly observed his surroundings. Fetish wear, BDSM outfits, whips, floggers, bondage items, and trashy lingerie was sold in the front of the store. Sex toys and porn was displayed in the back.

As both the friend and her co-worker walked in, the store was unpacking newly arrived merchandise. I was in the back, nonchalantly arranging the latest products as if they were grocery items. Three months into this job, and comfortably numb. While the boxes were being unpacked, I picked up one of the new items. It was one of those weird pheromone colognes.  The sample bottle was placed on the counter along with assorted vibrators, lubes, and penis pumps. My friend and I look at the cologne bottle. The cologne looked cheap. The owner was hardly around. There were no customers in the store. This being the ’90s, we weren’t constantly video monitored. It was safe for me to loudly mock the product.  My friend makes some kind of sarcastic quip. I think my friend’s co-worker might have also made a snarky comment. As a joke, I sprayed the cologne all over the back room. Whoa – it totally stunk! We started laughing, cause we were that immature. After the initial gagging wore off, it was time to close up for the night. When the shop gate was pulled down, all three of us head over to the East Village to hang. As we usually did.

That night was nothing new. There might have been a party at the Flamingo East. Along the way, my friend and her co-worker started to get chummier. A few hours in, those two, who never had romantic intentions, mysteriously started to make out. I was used to my friend’s romantic shenanigans. Every week there was a new hookup. I was apathetic to her conquests. Just like how I was detached selling butt plugs.

At one point, my friend’s co-worker mentioned that pheromone cologne back at my job. He wondered loudly if the cologne had something to do with the impromptu tongue dance. They went back to smooching. It didn’t get any further than that.

The next day the friend’s coworker had second thoughts. He more or less disappeared. 

In recent years, millennials have given this practice a name. It’s now known as “ghosting.”

My friend also blamed the previous night on that cheap cologne. It’ll get you laid, but it won’t make the person stay.

Taking note, I stayed away from the cologne itself. While the product did sell, it also stunk. The store re-ordered poppers, the Sta-Hard creams and Anal-Ease, but not the cologne.

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Hit the fast forward button to 2019. Curiosity getting the best of me, I decided to look up pheromone colognes. Just to see if they were still on the market. Well hot dang. Pheromone products are more popular than ever. It’s an advertised ingredient in many items. There’s fragrances marketed for men and women. Even Dial got in on the act. They have a men’s pheromone infused body wash. If I was a guy, I would be buying cases of this stuff.

.But then I saw this. For those who are fans of the film Anchorman. Sex Panther cologne. ‘Cause 60% of the time it works. Every time. And it stings the nostrils.

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Where am I going with this post? I don’t even know myself. Memories are dangerous.

One of these days I’ll unwind more tales about my sex shop gig. Out of respect, I won’t reveal the name of the famous Broadway actress who I sold anal beads to. I will tell you of the time a customer raged into the store with a penis pump he brought the night before.  How he managed to burn the inside of the pump from fire engine red to pitch black – and how he demanded a refund. I’ll hold off for another time.

Below is a sketch done just for this blog post. Enjoy.

Human Sex Pheromones – Wikipedia Entry

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Sketch by Michele Witchipoo. Dec. 2019

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