17 February 2008


Over the years, I have observed an odd and I think rather primitive phenomenon in the field of human interaction - namely sniffing. It is mainly, though not wholly connected with men. Let me illustrate. You're in a supermarket with a trolley and a guy with his own trolley passes you near the frozen vegetables section. As he passes, he inhales deeply through his nostrils making a familiar sniffing sound. Or you're on the bus and you look at a guy as he gets on at the next stop. As he passes you, he sniffs noticably. It happens everywhere there are strangers. My theory is that it harks back to territorial and mating claims of pre-history. Every other male is a challenge to your dominance and the sharp sniff is a way of saying - I'm the boss in this situation - my sniff subjugates you.

I think I am liberated enough to be beyond this instinctive game of oneupmanship so whenever I hear a sniff, I immediately sniff back. It has got me some very funny looks. I have never seen any academic writing about this habit but I swear it does exist. To all you men out there, I urge you to listen out to the sniffers - though it is very possible that you yourself have been signalling your status through sniffing for years without ever noticing you were doing it!


  1. Hate to say it, YP but have you ever considered the possibility that they just don't like your aftershave?

  2. ok, intersting thought, you sniff - l - sniff - teenagers sniff glue - celebs sniff coke - dogs sniff ******

  3. Personally my "sniffing" days were all in the past, and they were NEVER about oneupmanship.... just a way of getting off my noggin!!

    Any sniffing I do now is merely to reinstall any part of the lining of the chimneys that might be falling out!!

    I WILL however listen out for it in future!!


  4. I suppose it isn't as bad as the propensity to make Donald Duck noises.

  5. Sniffing is very useful.

  6. BAAAH! You're all mocking me! I am deadly serious about these subconscious/territorial signals of aggression or dominance. Mainly it is only men who will encounter them - and not from all men. To all of you doubters I say SNNNNNNNIFFFFF!

  7. Do you think its universal or do you think its entirely a British thing? Over here in the colonies, the size of the cigar or the bigger the tires on your 4 wheel drive pick up truck is an indicator of male dominance.

    In Texas as well if your belt buckle is the size of a hub cap, you are definitely a MaN!

    But sniffing. I don't know.. OH I know its like how far can you spit after chewing tobacco?!!


Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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