Use This Trick to Figure Out If You Smell

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Sometimes, you kind of have to wonder how people with chronic B.O. get to that point. After all, you reason, if you smelled, you’d do something about it — you’d take more showers, or switch to a more hard-core deodorant, or to whatever you needed to do to avoid being That Person.

But the problem with this line of thinking, as Patrick Allan recently explained in Lifehacker, is that outside of extreme olfactory circumstances — like, I don’t know, spending the day shoveling manure — most people can’t actually smell themselves. “The receptors in your nose that would normally respond to your own particular brand of smells practically shut down after being bombarded with the same scents for so long,” Allan wrote. “Basically, your nose goes numb to your own stank so you don’t go mad.” It’s the same reason why you can’t smell your own home: Your sense of smell is quick to adapt and slow to reset.

So. Not to freak you out or anything, but maybe you do smell — maybe all the time, or maybe on particularly sweaty days. Either way, Allen notes, there’s a simple trick you can use to fool your nose into detecting your own body odor a little better. All you need to do is take a whiff of a cup of coffee:

Coffee … is a strong, single-scent component that gives the receptors in your nose a quick break from what it’s been smelling all day (you). That’s why department stores keep coffee beans handy in the perfume section. You can smell a perfume, reset with some coffee, then smell a different perfume. Coffee is also easy to access for most people. It’s in the break room of almost every type of workplace, and it’s easy to snag a little before stealing away to smell yourself.

Plus, if the news turns out to be less than optimal, at least you’ve got a nice beverage to soften the blow.

Use This Trick to Figure Out Whether You Smell