Thelonious Cornpepper
3 min readJun 8, 2021


For a few moments, consider your philtrum.

“My what?”

Your philtrum.

Assuming no disfiguration due to accident or disease, you most definitely have a philtrum, and you probably see it every day, although you may take it for granted and overlook it, even though it’s as plain as the nose on your face. It’s also quite close to your nose.

“So what is it?”

Your philtrum is that little depression between your nose and your upper lip. You’ve had it since you were born, and you will have it until the day you die. Actually, you’ll have it for a few days after you die before it disappears, but there’s no need to get into such morbid details at this point.

“What is it good for?”

Nothing. Absolutely nothing, at least in humans. Except perhaps to write articles about.

Now, in other mammals it’s a different story. The philtrum is very useful to animals because helps to carry odors to the mouth. Animals have odor receptors in their mouths and smell to some degree with their mouths. Their philtrums tend to be quite narrow and they assist in getting odors into the mouth. That slit between your dog’s nostrils at the tip of her snout is her philtrum.

The same is true of cats. My cat always stays indoors, but one day she was stalking a bird, even though she could never catch it because of the window screen. She was in stalking mode, tail twitching, hunkered down, and her mouth opened. Maybe she was anticipating a birdie meal, but she may have also been utilizing her mouth for smell. (She doesn’t speak English, so she can’t tell me one way or the other.) Her philtrum helps to in utilizing the odor receptors in her mouth.

“Okay, that’s great, but what am I supposed to do now that I know about my useless philtrum?”

There are several things you can do. First of all, understand that the English word philtrum is from the ancient Greek word philtron, which means love charm. That’s rather charming in and of itself. Before giving your love a kiss, tap their philtrum and tell them it’s their love charm. At that point they will either melt in your arms or look at you blankly. Either one is okay, and at that point you may proceed with your kiss.

Secondly, take a moment to appreciate your philtrum when you look in the mirror. One of the secrets to mental health is an attitude of gratitude, and if you were blessed with a normal philtrum at birth that is certainly…