A lot has been said about the idea of falling in love, or love for that matter, and what attracts us as mammals to the opposite sex. Religion says it’s a spiritual thing, science claims its all chemicals and Hollywood states it’s all about sex, letters in bottles and rose petals on the wooden floors of loft apartments to entice newly divorced neighbours.
But what makes us fall in love?
Cosmo just recently published another completely construed, sensation-seeking piece of defecation entitled “What makes men fall in love“. In this pile of horse manure the world’s leading cause of heartbreak and dysfunctional relationships claimed to have found the four reasons that make a man fall in love with a woman. Being a man I developed Tourettes syndrome while reading through this crap and decided to set the record straight. Because let’s face it, it’s always the guy that cheats, its always the guy that’s not romantic or well mannered enough, or not well dressed enough and its most always the guy’s fault that the relationship didn’t work. Really? So you don’t think that maybe he also gets a little fed up with your crap as much as you do with his? Maybe he doesn’t think that Hollywood’s version of romance is actually romantic at all.
Why do guys and girls fall in love? Nobody knows, least of all me. Especially not me in fact – but what we do know is that being in love is fantastic. But why don’t we stay in love if it’s so amazing?
Sometimes we do, and sometimes those moments are the ones we hold onto.
Cupid, the Scientologist
So Cupid’s quite a clever little bow-toting angel winged assassin. Another “recent study” has found that a lot of the times this little dude really is blind. And that it actually a good thing.
Time clipping Cupid’s wings. By Pierre Mignard back in 1630.
At least it has to be if nature is to ensure that a species continues to procreate. So a number of tests were run and a number of people interviewed etc etc and what they found was that basically there are three stages of falling in love namely Lust, Attraction and Attachment. (And in the process they debunked the whole Cupid idea which I foresee will be the cause of many a Valentine’s Day break up.)
Each of these stages are driven by different sets of complex hormones and other really clever sounding chemical reactions – all of which have allegedly been studied to the nth degree by really clever dudes in white coats somewhere in the States. Isn’t it funny how “they” are always scientists from somewhere in the States?
Be that as it may, these guys asked some of their shrink buddies for input on the matter. These Psychologists showed that it only takes between 90 seconds and four minutes to decide if you like someone. Their research stated that this has little to do with what is said when you first meet, but that it kinda works in percentages as follows: 55% is through body language, 38% is the tone and speed of their voice and only 7% is through what they actually said to you. So it’s mostly very superficial.
The first stage – Lust
As it states, its all about getting it on. It’s that simple apparently and it’s because of the sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen in both guys and girls. So would all the girls please stop with the “guys are so pathetic, all they wanna do is have sex” nonsense. It goes both ways, or according to science at least.
The second stage – Attraction
So here it would seem we have the three musketeers of all those butterflies in your tummy moments. Apparently attraction is all because of Adrenaline, Dopamine and Serotonin. Roughly translated it means that the same stuff that helps you scale a six foot wall when that Rottweiler is coming at you from across the road, is the stuff that causes you to like someone. Which is probably why its so scary. Not the Rottweiler, the really hot girl in the bikini applying sunscreen at the pool or the six pack wielding hunk of man meat washing his Kawasaki in the drive way. The initial stages of “falling” for someone activates your stress response, increasing your blood levels of adrenalin and cortisol. This has the charming effect that when you unexpectedly bump into your new “love”, you start to sweat, your heart races and your mouth goes dry. Nice!
The third stage – Attachment
And finally we have the evil sorcerer, the big bad wolf, the ogre in the woods. Oxytocin. Even the name sounds a little “dark side of the force-ish”. This is a powerful hormone released by men and women – you guessed it – during orgasm. Pay attention dudes, an orgasm is that thing you didn’t know girls also liked. Scientists have agreed that it probably deepens the feelings of attachment and makes couples feel much closer to one another after they have had sex. The theory goes that the more sex a couple has, the deeper their bond becomes.
So now what?
Well I don’t know. Do I care? Nah.
What I do know is that “falling” implies that the process is in some way uncontrollable and risky – as in the phrases “to fall ill” or “to fall into a trap”. The famous biologist, Jeremy Griffith, suggested that people fall in love in order to abandon themselves to the dream of an ideal state (being one free of the human condition).
I for one believe that it’s the physical consequence of a spiritual awakening. I like the fall. It is exhilarating and if it were likened to skydiving I would never open my chute. Hitting the ground at terminal velocity would be a welcome reprieve from the notion that pulling the chord and playing it safe could forever take you from me.
And if I were forced to look at this through the Petr dish in some lab, I would still see you there under the microscope of things. Because maybe it’s all just chemicals and maybe it all boils down to stages and hormones and natural progression. Maybe they’re right and maybe all their scientific research has finally proven it…