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London - Sliding into my train seat, I discreetly whipped out the bottle and applied a few judicious squirts. The man sitting opposite looked up. “Mmm, that’s nice,” he said as the fragrance wafted under his nose.

Was it my imagination or was that a cheeky twinkle in his eye?

As a single mom, one week shy of my 40th birthday, I had invested heavily in the new Escentric range of pheromone-based products in a bid to succeed where dating sites had resolutely failed.

The magic ingredient in their Molecules body wash (£25, Harvey Nichols) and Molecule 01 perfume (from £39.50 Harvey Nichols) is ISO E Super, an aroma-chemical which, despite sounding like an engine oil, is said to mimic human pheromones - the chemicals which make us attractive to the opposite sex.

In his new book, The Compatability Gene, Professor Daniel Davis explains how smell is genetically paramount in how attractive we judge a prospective partner.

Buoyed up by the science, I swapped my usual £1 (about R15) lemon shower cream for the £25 Escentric body wash. It has a woody, almost masculine aroma.

On the way to my first meeting I caught the attention of a portly man in his late 50s with slip-on shoes and a garish shirt - precisely the type of man I would usually swerve to avoid in a bar. He wandered over and engaged me for 15 minutes in lively chit-chat.

When we parted he gave a little nod and wink but, although proof the pheromones were doing their job, he wasn’t exactly the kind of mate I was hoping to attract.

My meeting was with a male colleague to discuss a project. Although he is married with three children - a total no-go area - it seemed a waste not to preface our platonic lunch with a squirt of the perfume. It had little effect but when I got up to leave, he kissed my cheek politely and said: “Oooh, you smell lovely. Really good.”

I spritzed on some more before the school run in the hope of luring the attention of single dads collecting their children. But aside from one fellow mom wrinkling her nose, the scattering of dads didn’t even give me a second glance, or sniff.

Later, I unleashed some more pheromones before my evening date.

I arrived at the bar and went for the direct approach. “Do you like my perfume?” I asked, as we sat down and our legs brushed.

He pressed his nose against the bare skin on my neck and nodded. My heart fluttered. At last, a man reduced to a rubble of desire as advertised. “Nice,” he said. “Just like an old Routemaster bus.”

Online dating, here I come again. - Daily Mail