Why do some people find the smell of gasoline pleasant?
What crash and Hildago said. Most people I know who find the smell of chemical fumes pleasant usually associate it with memories of a father or grandfather or other relative. Same as making an old recipe of your mom’s does. My grandfather was a carpenter and a farmer, so I positively adore the smells of cowshit, turpentine, mineral spirits, and sawdust. Open up a can of poly around me and suddenly I’m five years old again and “helping” him in his shop. I still have (and use) the miniature carpenter’s toolbox he made for me when I was six. I like gas too, but only when it’s on my hands mixed with the smell of grass clippings. Then I think of my dad, and I realize that I’m a man now. It is, to me, the smell of honesty. That woodstain-and-poly smell is the smell of art.
My WAG is that, much like taste, different people smell differently. I know that might seem painfully obvious to some, but it is likely the case. To wit: When I was in High School we did a test in biology class. We were all given different strips of colored paper (much like litmus strips) and told to taste them and write down what each color tasted like. The answers were typically sweet, salty, bitter, or nothing. Then the teacher put up a matrix on the board and said “All right, who tasted the sweet on the blue strip?”. I was amazed that I was one of the only few who did. He went through all the colors and there was no consensus on what any one color tasted like. The gist of the experiment was that we can’t all pick up on all chemicals in what we taste. The strips had been treated with two specific chemicals that were mutually exclusive to a particular gene. So, if you had the correct gene you would taste blue as sweet, but if you had a different it would be bitter or taste like nothi
Not sure why. Theory: I think it’s linked to childhood memories. I like the smell of gasoline, and when I smell it I remember going on car trips. On a related note, I don’t huff exhaust fumes or anything, but the smell of certain trucks idling makes me think about going on camping trips in the summer. I also link the smell of chlorine to the swimming pool we had when I was growing up. Another summer memory. These are all horrible smells that don’t bother me.