Sunday, December 31, 2006
The Physical Side of Falling in Love
"Why Do My Insides Go All Funny?" Falling in love is both a mental and a physical process. Some of the first techniques you will learn ignite your Quarry's physical response to you before his or her brain catches up. We will put love through the brain-scanner and under the x-ray machine to examine what physically happens to your Quarry when he or she starts to feel that incredible sensation called love. "Does Somebody Have to Be Pea-Brained to Fall in Love with Me?" As a matter of fact, yes. Scientists tell us only PEA -brained people fall in love. At the core of infatuation, they speculate, is a chemical called phenylethylamine, or PEA . It is a chemical cousin of amphetamines and gives a similar "kick." PEA comes from secretions through the nervous system and bloodstream that create an emotional response equivalent to a high on drugs. This is the chemical which makes your heart palpitate, your hands sweat, and your insides go all funny. (It is rumored that PEA can also make you want to rip your Quarry's clothes off at the first available opportunity.) Phenylethylamine, scientists say, along with dopamine and norepinephrine, is manufactured in the body when we first feel the physical sensations of romantic love. It is as close to a natural high as the body can get. (Cole Porter obviously knew what he was singing about when he wrote "I get a kick out of you.") The bad news is that the kick doesn't last forever, or even for very long. This adds to the quickly mounting scientific evidence that romantic love is relatively short-lived. That's why some people become "love junkies." The good news is that it does last long enough to kick-start great love affairs. Its average one-and-a-half to three-year duration is plenty of time to have a fantastic fling, get him or her to say "I do," and/or propagate the species. Now, since you can't go around armed with a syringe filled with phenylethylamine, spot your Quarry, and inject the PEA -filled tube into his or her bloodstream, you do the next best thing. You develop techniques to trigger PEA -brained responses in people and give them the sensation that they are falling in love. "Why Do We Fall in Love with One Person and Not Another?" People don't just mysteriously wake up one morning with an overdose of PEA in their brains and then develop a crush on the next person they set eyes on. No, PEA and its sister chemicals are precipitated by emotional and visceral reactions to a specific stimulus. Like what? It can be a whiff of her perfume, the boyish way he says hello, or the adorable way she wrinkles her nose when she laughs. It could even be an innocuous article of clothing you're wearing that drives your Quarry bonkers. For example, in 1924 Conrad Hilton, the founder of the Hilton hotel chain, flipped over a red hat that he spotted sitting five pews in front of him in church. After the services, he followed the red hat down the street and eventually married the lady walking under it. "How Can These Little Things Start Love?" Why do these seemingly meaningless stimuli kick-start love? Where do they come from? Are they in our genes? No, genes have nothing to do with falling in love. The origin lies deeply buried in our psyche. The ammunition that gets fired off when we see (hear, smell, feel) something we like is lying dormant in our subconscious. It springs from that apparently bottomless well from which most of our personality rises—our childhood experiences or, most significantly, what happens to us between the tender ages of five and eight. When we are very young, a type of subconscious imprinting takes place, similar to the phenomenon that occurs in certain species of the animal kingdom. During the 1930s, an eminent Austrian ethologist, Dr. Konrad Lorenz, induced a flock of baby ducks to become hopelessly attached to him. Observing how baby ducklings, shortly after hatching, begin to waddle along in single file behind their mother—and continue to do so into maturity—Dr. Lorenz decided to imprint the ducklings with himself. Lorenz hatched a clutch of duck eggs in an incubator. At first sight of their little beaks breaking through eggshells, he squatted low as if he were a mother duck and waddled past the eggs. They promptly broke free and followed him across the laboratory. Thereafter, despite the presence of real female ducks, these imprinted little ducklings continued to waddle after Dr. Lorenz on every possible occasion. Researchers have shown that the phenomenon of imprinting is not limited to birds. Various forms of it exist among fish, guinea pigs, sheep, deer, buffalo, and other mammalian species. Are humans immune to imprinting? Well, unlike the duped ducklings queued up behind Dr. Lorenz, we don't continue to crawl after the doctor who delivered us until we reach adulthood. But there is strong evidence that we fall prey to another kind of imprinting—an early sexual imprinting. Universally respected sexologist Dr. John Money coined the term Lovemap to describe this imprinting. Our Lovemaps are carvings of pain or pleasure axed in our brains in early responses to our family members, our childhood friends, and our chance encounters. The cuts are so deep that they fester forever in some nook or cranny of the human psyche, just waiting to bleed again when the proper stimulus strikes. Dr. Money said, ''Lovemaps. They're as common as faces, bodies, and brains. Each of us has one. Without it there would be no falling in love, no mating, and no breeding of the species." 7 Your Quarry has a Lovemap. You have a Lovemap. We all have Lovemaps. They are indelibly etched into our egos, our ids, our psyches, our subconscious. They can be positive imprintings. For example, perhaps your mother wore a certain perfume, your beloved father had a boyish grin, or your favorite teacher scrunched up her nose when she laughed. Perhaps a beautiful lady in a red hat was kind to little Connie Hilton when he was growing up in San Antonio, New Mexico. Lovemaps can be negative, too. Women, maybe you were molested as a child, so now you can never love a man with a leering smile. Men, maybe your cruel wicked aunt wore Joy perfume, so now any woman who gives you a whiff of Joy makes you want to flee like a bug blasted with insect repellent. Lovemaps sometimes contain very convoluted paths. Early negative experiences can give them a strange twist. Women, maybe your father ran off with another woman, leaving you and your mother alone, so now, if your date so much as glances at a passing lady, you freak out. Gentlemen, perhaps your beautiful baby-sitter spanked you when you were five, but it stimulated your little genitals and felt good. So now, as an adult, you cannot fall in love with a woman unless she will give you love spankings. Forgotten experiences, both positive and negative, are remembered by your sexual subconscious. If the timing is rightand someone triggers one, BLAM!A shot of PEA shoots through your veins. It blasts your brain, blinding you to reason, and you begin to fall in love. It's the necessary spark to kick-start love. That's just for starters. The starter gets your car going, and then the battery takes over. Similarly, after your brain recuperates from its first shot of PEA , a little reason (hopefully) starts to make its way through the grey matter. As you and your PLP get to know each other better, you begin exploring your similarities and your differences (we cover this in Part Two), and you both start asking yourselves, "What can I get from this relationship?" (Part Three). We listen to our ego and see how much reinforcement it's getting (Part Four). Early love is very delicate, and often we inadvertently turn our Quarry off in the first few dates (Part Five). If we get beyond that, what goes on—or doesn't go on—between the sheets plays a gigantic role (Part Six). Throughout How to Make Anyone Fall in Love with You, we will explore all these factors from a scientific point of view. Let us now go back to the beginning. Where do you find a Potential Love Partner? How do you get that first shot of PEA shooting through his/her veins over you?