Chemistry For Dummies – (Happy Hour of Love)
I always did pretty well in school. I had to work really hard at it, but I made decent grades. Except when it came to Chemistry. It was always my worse subject and I barely passed the class. Who knew that it would be an issue that followed me around through life?
In the simplest of terms, which is all I can relate to anyway, Chemistry is the changing state of matter. This actually describes my love life perfectly. An ever changing state. And it does matter.
I have recently become curious about the ‘Chemistry of Love’. You hear the phrase all the time about how much ‘chemistry’ two people had or didn’t have. It is a crucial element (get it…..element?) in the love equation. But it is a huge mystery to me. Where does it originate? What causes it? In my experience it seems to bypass all the traits one would associate with a great catch. I have met guys that on paper were fantastic. A full check list of attributes that would make my mother, and probably most mothers, proud. Good Job. Mature. Stable. Manners. Hair (Ok that one is just on my check list). But still. Yet, once they are off the paper and actually face to face…..nothing. No sparks. No Giddy. No ‘Chemistry’. Why is that? Is it subliminal? Am I self-sabotaging? Do I have defective pheromones?
There is a recordable and actual chemical reaction to falling in love. It includes a racing heart, flushed skin, sweaty palms, loss of appetite and focus. (Sounds to me a lot like the flu. Makes me wonder why we try to so hard to get there.) In reality, it is the release of Dopamine; which is the ‘pleasure’ chemical. (Not sure we studied this one in the tenth grade, at least not in class.) And Norepinephrine. Together they form a ‘Love Cocktail’. (The Ultimate Happy Hour) Which when served up is pretty powerful and mimics the same characteristics as elation and adrenaline. But it is not a tangible substance (matter). It is elusive, floating around in the atmosphere like the pretty blue-green Argon gas just waiting for the right two people to ignite it.
So can we set ourselves up to miss it? Or is it beyond our control? What factors do our background, experiences and beliefs play in our own personal chemical energy that surrounds us? Can we re-formulate it? Or is it ‘just who we are’? I truly have no idea.
I understand the theory of it. I have experienced the reality of it! I still do not understand the mechanics of it. Why does it work sometimes, and other times not. I guess that is part of its beauty. If we could break it down and re-create it in a lab, then a generic form of it could be sold at Wal Mart. (Too many comments, not enough time.) Would we want that? Sometimes I think I would. Sometimes I think it would be highly beneficial to me to find the ‘right’ guy, slip us both a Dopamine Mickey into our lemon water and the rest would be history. (I know. It’s too Frankensteinish. Plus I would somehow manage to screw it up and offer the married choking guy in the next booth a sip of my water, and …well…like I said, Chemistry is just not something I should play with.)
There are some who offer advice and hints on how to artificially simulate this feeling to try and trick yourself (or your date) into thinking it is there. Sounds a little underhanded to me. But I am not above trying it. One suggestion is to ride a roller coaster together. (Actually this probably wouldn’t work for me. The sweaty palms and nausea would not be the Dopamine; it would be the need for Dramamine.) Another idea is to take a walk on a high bridge over rushing water. The physiological response to both activities mimics the Love Cocktail and whomever you are with will associate this feeling to you. The problem with this approach is having to move to Six Flags or Niagara Falls to stay in love.
So is it absolutely necessary? The butterflies and fireworks? It wears off anyway, right? Just like that Argon gas, those glow sticks do not ‘glow’ indefinitely. At some point, you still need a good old fashioned reliable flashlight. Can’t we just jump to that stage? I wish I knew the answer to that. I am sure there have been moments in my life that would have gone smoother if my decisions were more logic based and less elation based. If I could just shake off that twinge in the pit of my stomach and go straight for responsible and reasonable. Why do they have to be exclusive? DO they have to be exclusive? I hope not.
Personally I do think that Chemistry is necessary. It is those fireworks that light the way through the dark moments that can tear down a relationship. It is intimacy that forms the unyielding bond that holds it all together. Of course, I want reliable and trust worthy. I just want the steady hand that holds mine to also be sweaty. (Just a little)
The bottom line for me is that I want both. And even though I can’t explain or understand it, I’m holding out for my very own Love Cocktail. I can’t say for sure that is a smart choice or one that will ever take place. This much I do know.