The way something smells is just as important to its viability as a product people don't hate as any other factor you can name. Generally, just looking at something will give you a pretty good idea of what it smells like. If it looks like a hobo, it probably smells like a hobo.
That's not always the case, though. Here are four things that smell nothing like you'd expect them to.
#4. Bearcat Ass Smells Like Buttered Popcorn
A bearcat looks like an alley cat that's outlived its pretty stage, and those looks are unfortunately one of its more attractive features. Bearcats can be mean-tempered, and when frightened they will release a "fine spray of liquid which has an acrid smell and which actually almost burns when inhaled."
Cameron Spencer / Getty
And yet he looks so cute.
Moreover, they are real bastards. If a person angers a bearcat, it may "slyly attempt to urinate or defecate on that person from above."
However, when a bearcat wants to mark its scent, it starts to smell like a movie theater lobby. Bearcats, much like the cats we all know and love, rub up against trees, bushes, and people in order to make you smell like them.
"Mmm, smells like the movies!"
But unlike regular cats, the bearcat smells like buttered popcorn. So, at least those last few peaceful moments before it shits on you are going to be kind of enjoyable.
#3. Truffles Smell Like Pure Manhood
At a wallet-blasting $1,200 a pound, you probably won't taste a truffle anytime soon. However, if you've eaten a mushroom before, you probably think you have some idea of what a truffle would smell like, and you would be ridiculously wrong.
Wait, that isn't a blood clot?
See, truffles contain androstenol, a close relative of testosterone and the scent responsible for making you smell like a man's man. And boy is it potent. Three psychologists sprayed androstenol on half the cubicles in a bathroom and let male and female trial subjects choose their stall. Men overwhelmingly avoided the andro stalls, while the ladies found them to be, and we quote, "congenial, even if not irresistible."
Nothing goes with a nice summer wine like the smell of unwashed testicles.
If you've ever wondered why truffles are so expensive, there's your answer.
#2. Space Smells Like Burning Metal
What does outer space smell like? There's a question you've probably never pondered until right now. It seems like it should smell like nothing. After all, there are no Burger Kings or factories to taint the air, so what could possibly be up there other than clean, fresh outer space?
And the lingering odor of cosmonaut farts.
It turns out that space smells awful. Many astronauts note that, upon coming in from a spacewalk, they smell something like "welding fumes," "seared steak," or "sulfurous." These smells are of great interest to NASA, because they want to replicate the space experience to the greatest degree possible. They've hired a "smell artist," whose previous work was to recreate the smell of the Russian space station Mir (we're assuming it smelled like vodka), to recreate the smell of space.
Alternately, if you'd like to recreate the smell at home, go make yourself useful and weld something.
"This is Aldrin as fuck."
#1. Starvation Smells Like Fruit and Alcohol
Once you stop taking in food, your body becomes the scene of one of those lifeboat stories where someone's about to get eaten. First it metabolizes the carbohydrates. Once those are gone, the body will start breaking down the fats, and eventually the proteins. That's known as starvation, and it's less funny than a Jeff Dunham comedy album. So it's more than a little ironic that starvation, in fact, smells wonderful.
"Well, at least one part of this had to not suck."
The smell happens when those aforementioned fats are broken down into molecules called ketones, which are also common in fruits like raspberries. And just like that, you smell like dessert when you're dying.
"I feel a strong craving for fruit cocktail."
On the bright side, beach season is coming. Tight abs and a natural aroma of raspberries isn't the worst way to kick it off.
Chris Zeigler writes about superheroes and ethics at Subculture for the Cultured.