Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Look of Love, Nope Its in the Smell

The Look of Love, Nope Its In The Smell
From the article
This Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Also available in the book
A Crazy Little Thing Called Love

Since beginning of time, man has tried to express himself in song and verse to how he feels about love. Unfortunately, there isn't a class called "Love 101" in neither school nor college that can teach us how to understand this powerful emotion, especially when we are caught in its grasp?Medical science has proven with the use of MRI that our brain activity is more active when in a pleasure state. Blood pressure goes up, our cheeks flush. Yes being in love is magical. Endorphins don't just come along when love is in the air, they are also present during battle, stress, or running a marathon. The heart may play the role songs and sonnets but it's really the brain that is enjoying all this activity.Increase blood flow to the brain, the brain is one happy camper.So in reality -- love is a drug for the brain. Unfortunately like any drug, there are diminishing returns. Pheromones hold the key. A quick whiff can carry our euphoria from eighteen months to three years. At this time our passions are the highest. This love drug is called PEA or phenyl ethylamine. Its effects are similar to speed. When youfreefall, PEA is heightened. By comparing freefalling tolove, suddenly I am seeing the risk of ogling over Prince Charming. Both can be deadly. In a nasty trick of nature along come those pesky little endorphins. They, like morphine tends to calm the pain, dampen the feeling we experience from our love bite. Things are not looking up. Research has shown that at about four years, love starts to wane and that this is a critical time for divorce rates. How can we describe pheromones? Anyone who has a male dog will know that he urinates over his territory to mark his scent and discourage other dogs from his "territory". Well even if you have a nurtured dog, the principle still carries on. It's in the genes.These little scent marks actually contain pheromones. Androstenol are pheromones that can be found on the mouth of a pig. When the male pig puts his mouth on the snoot of a female pig, she become receptive to sex. I guess this is equivalent to a kiss as we know it. Fortunately for human women, it takes a little longer for some of us to prop ourselves into the mating position! And speaking of pigs or eating like pigs, researchers have found that when mice are given the MCH hormone, they have an increase in appetite. Human participants in a program given MCH became hungry for a pizza when they were not hungry before that point.

Yes, there is a connection in falling in love and feeling hungry. Just when things are looking up about love, now we have to think about eating like pigs. Going back to Relationships 101, since 50% of all marriages end in divorce and perhaps 80% of live-ins don't last, why wouldn't we want to get educated to correct these statistics? What red-flags do we need to know before entering into a relationship, love bug or no love bug? Do we want our hearts broken if we know the love affair will not work? What is too much too soon?In the day and age of the internet and personals, the words "I love you" can happen before you even meet the person you are emailing. How do we recognize control freaks, power trippers, gold diggers? How do we seek the truth about the person we want to love? Of course if you have Relationships 101 you might need a follow-up class called Breakups 101.I, like most people, want perfect endings. In the reality of life, happy" beginnings" do not always mean happy endings and that life sometimes isn't fair nor is it a fairy tale. Most of us have a fear of giving our heart completely. It leaves us venerable to the pain and disappointment down the line. We feel like a thief in the night has taken something inside us when we get disappointed in love. Let's face it, love can physically hurt. So what is love anyway? Definitions of love basically say it's a deep feeling of affection toward a person, place or thing. "Thing" might include your pet cat, bird, or even your goldfish.

Love, or what we might call love can also be a feeling of desire and attraction toward a person. Perhaps we should call this lust, not love. Freud saw romantic love negatively. He commented that falling in love was a "craziness, an illusion, a blindness" to what the loved person is really like. On a cheery note, he also saw the positive side of love, at least that of non-erotic love. There is evidence that human pheromones exist, babies show a clear preference for pieces of clothing that has been worn by their mothers. Research suggests that men and women chose their mates in partby sniffing out compatible immune systems.

The bad news is that science has found we are losing our ability to excrete pheromones by the evolutionary process. Are we doomed? No, research is working on substitutes. The problem is that pheromones are characteristic to individual people. Pheromone based perfome has been touted as a miracle, however the reality is that perfumes and scents only cover up the natural process, it doesn't help create the natural excretion.

The delusion of love at first sight may have to be adjusted to love at first whiff. It has nothing to do with the 12 billion dollars that Americans and Europeans spend each year in the perfume industry. It has nothing to do with cosmetics or after shave we buy to attract a mate. The emotions of the heart are really the sensations of the brain and the nose.
Not very romantic I must agree, but it is the reality of science. Personally I think that being in love brings calmness to our world. Make love not war? It is amazing when we are in love, our aggression subsides. We are happy. If we are all in a continual state of love, would it change the world? Perhaps.


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