This article first appeared in the July 5, 2002 issue of Jewish News of Greater Phoenix.

Who can worry about being single at a time like this?

With wildfires threatening to devour entire towns, weekly suicide bombings in Israel and domestic terrorist threats, there’s no time to worry about being single.

In fact, it seems pointless to worry about it at all.

Some people try for years to meet someone – joining Internet dating sites, answering classified ads, participating in singles activities. Others, like a friend of mine, casually accept a blind date with a co-worker’s brother and, within a week, a full-fledged romance blossoms.

It’s impossible to determine where that magic comes from.

My grandparents met on a Friday, saw a movie on Saturday and got married on Sunday. Three consecutive days led to more than 65 years of marriage. Not that I’m recommending that, but today, some people date for years, eventually marry, then divorce in fewer years than they dated.

Relationship dynamics have always intrigued me – the mystery of what draws people to each other. Obviously, I haven’t yet found the answer so I decided to do a little Internet research.

One thing I learned about was human pheromones, defined as a chemical secreted by humans that influences the behavior or development of others of the same species, often functioning as an attractant of the opposite sex.

Pheromone, derived from Greek, means “I carry excitement.”

Apparently, this “excitement” can be bottled and sold.

One company, Natural Attraction, combines human pheromones with fragrances.

According to its Web site, humans have a small sense organ in their nose that is different from the sense of smell. The sensory structure is called the vomeronsasal organ, or VNO. It detects human pheromones, but not those from other animals. So any of the other animal scents, such as musk, wouldn’t have the same effect as these human pheromones. (Whew, I’d hate to think of the consequences of that…)

For those wanting to try this spray-on excitement: The men’s fragrance is a “blend of sheer woods, rich ambers and florals combined with synthesized human pheromones.”

The “rich but subtly masculine scent is designed to be the key to opening up your sixth sense and awakening your entire being.”

For women, it’s “crisp, clean notes of citrus and specially selected florals combined with synthesized human pheromones in a light, pleasing scent, designed to delight the wearer and that special man anytime, day or night.”

Another company, Pheromone Oil, offers a money-back guarantee that use of its products will attract members of the opposite sex.

According to its Web site, they have to add scent to the pheromones because by themselves, their strong scent is similar to body odor. In order for the pheromones to work effectively, they must be mixed with something to help them smell pleasant or negate the smell. The site explains that the primary pheromone humans secrete is androstenone, which is secreted only when they sweat. Those with good hygiene habits shower each day, and therefore wash off their own natural pheromones. Thus, the need for pheromone oil.

A third Web site I found was for a company called Tropical Tanning, which offers aloe vera-based lotion that maximizes a tan “while creating allure with the power of pheromones.”

Well, I do need to maximize my tan, but what will they think of next?

For those who suspect their spouse is cheating, maybe a spritz of pheromones with a scent to repel members of the opposite sex before their mate leaves the house?

Or for Jewish parents, a scent to spray on their children that will only attract Jewish potential mates?

All in all, I found it interesting research and I did consider ordering a bottle to see if it would affect my social life at all.

But I have enough things to worry about…