Science says guys lacking in senses of smell, hearing

Burt's Eye View

She crossed her arms and wrinkled her nose. “Can you not smell THAT?”

I reached for the remote and pushed mute. “What?”

“That T-shirt you’re wearing.”

“Old faithful? What about it?”

She narrowed her eyes and coughed. “You heard me.”

I shook my head. “You talk too softly.”

She waved at the TV. “The game’s too loud.”

At least that’s what I think she said. I wasn’t sure. Too bad remote controls don’t have a volume button for wives. Terry goes about whispering all the time and expects me to hear her.

Once, someone asked me, “Do you two ever fight?”

I shrugged. “I think Terry yelled at me once, but I couldn’t hear what she said.”

Now, from what I gathered squinting through my bifocals, Terry was yelling. I didn’t have the foggiest idea about what. Something about my favorite T-shirt, odors and two weeks overdue for the laundry.

“Honestly,” Terry said, “if you took your five senses and rolled them all into one, you’d still be two whiffs short of normal.”

That’s not true. According to science, my senses of smell, hearing, sight, taste and touch function exactly as expected — for a guy who qualifies for senior discounts.

According to researchers at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, women’s olfactory centers are jammed with 43 percent more cells and almost 50 percent more neurons than male brains cart around. So the typical male response of “What smell?” is perfectly legit. Science says so.

Also, men are 5 1/2 times more likely to lose their hearing than women, according to a Johns Hopkins University study. So yes, I do have to crank up the volume to hear Alex Trebek.

A City University of New York study says women are better able to distinguish between subtle shades of primary colors. This is why when I say I want to paint my office blue and Terry hands me 5 zillion paint swatches supposedly in different shades of blue, I clutch my head like in those swirling scream paintings and, well, scream, “They all look the same! Let’s just paint!”

But, the study reports, men are better at seeing sudden movements. So when I knock over the paint can, I will know seconds sooner than she will that our carpet will also be some shade or other of blue.

Rounding out the senses, women possess more taste buds than men do, and the smaller the fingers, the more sensitive they are to touch.

Basically, science confirms that men are clods. We can’t help it. It’s how we were engineered.

But we’re not hopeless. Once, I came home late from a very important baseball game that had gone into extra innings and detected a scent. I traced the aroma to a roast cooling in the refrigerator. Seconds later, I discovered that my taste buds worked just as fine as my nose did.

Suddenly, I heard a whisper. “Oh, sure, you can sniff out a roast wrapped in foil inside inch-thick vacuum-sealed refrigerator walls, but you couldn’t detect the fresh laundry in the dryer that needs to be folded.” Terry reached into the dryer. “Here’s your favorite T-shirt.”

I hugged the freshly laundered shirt to my nose — and gagged. “Phew! Is it me or does this thing smell funny?”

— Test your senses at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com or on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.

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