By NATALIA HAWK
I am a proud, card-carrying member of Team Love.
I love Love. I loved Love even before I was In Love. My favourite thing is hearing a swept-off-the-feet-in-a-crazy-random-romantic-encounter story. My second favourite thing is really lame sepia-filtered Instagram pictures with romantic captions. Exhibit A:
I love every super-lame romantic cliche known to man. I watched this video about 75 times. I loved The Notebook, I loved Moulin Rouge, I loved Love Actually. I read The Great Gatsby 11 times and saw it three times in the cinemas just because he bought a house across the bay just to be near her and HOW GORGEOUS IS THAT.
In conclusion: I am the sappy romantic to beat all sappy romantics. That’s why I was so sad when I read this article from Nerve.com about science and love.
You see, much like science has fixed polio and smallpox, it’s now trying to fix love. The shitty parts of love. The heartbreak you experience when that person you liked doesn’t like you back. The feeling of falling out of love with someone. The lack of passion when you’ve been with someone for a really long time.
Technically, everything that happens when you fall in love – the undying declarations of I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT YOU, the sparks when you kiss – is caused by science-y things. Genetics and hormones both play a part. That’s why it’s not really all that hard for science to change everything with the help of some drugs and statistics.
Nerve has explained how scientists from the University of Oxford have developed sprays full of the hormone oxytocin to use on couples who are in the middle of an argument. Apparently it “mitigates feelings of anger and boosts those of intimacy”.
Can you IMAGINE having a fight with your significant other and them pulling out a spray bottle and spraying it on your face to calm you down? Like when you spray a dog with water to train them? I just can’t even…
But that’s not all. There are other things happening to fix love. Maybe you’re not feeling into your lover? You’re tired, or you’re stressed out, or you just don’t feel attracted to them anymore?
Not to worry. Nerve points out that there are “already plenty of medications being developed to help simulate feelings of lust, including the Lybrido, the controversial Viagra for women.” We’ve reported on this before here – apparently the nasal spray contains testosterone and will be effective for two to eight hours after it’s taken.
Or maybe it’s not the sex you’re concerned about. Maybe you just can’t even find anyone to have sex with - because you haven’t managed to find anyone that you’re compatible with.
Science looks at compatibility issues and says “pfffft, we can deal with that”. For example, Helen Fisher – a biological anthropologist – has done a whole lot of research into what makes people, well, click. Apparently she’s looked into “the personality traits that people have based on their chemical composition” and found what the right partner for these chemical compositions. That research has then gone to major dating website match.com.
That’s right. There will be no more filling in your interests and getting paired up with someone that also really likes golden retrievers and going out for brunch. It’s all about CHEMICAL COMPOSITION now. If you are into online dating, science has now saved you hours of trawling through the occasionally dark and scary world of random dating profiles.
But does science really have a place in love?
Evidently there are some benefits to science getting involved with everything. Awful heartache and break-ups can be avoided. And – if you don’t have a problem with sprays – you could also avoid arguments with your partner and also want to have sex with them all the time!
But I do have personal reservations. I think that fighting with your partner too much – and a complete lack of sex drive – can often point to deeper underlying issues in your relationship or personal life that shouldn’t be fixed with a simple hormonal band-aid solution.
As for the heartache and the heartbreak?
I personally met my current boyfriend after having my heart shattered by someone else. As in – trod on, burned and then thrown away. I was a shell of myself after that heartbreak. The kind of miserable where you can’t even bring yourself to cry because you’re just so numb.
But without that heartbreak… things could have been very different. I probably would have continued to look straight past my current boyfriend – a friendly boy that was already in my life but that I just didn’t really bother talking to. I wouldn’t have realised how amazing it was that he made me laugh every two minutes. I might not have appreciated how good he made me feel about myself. I might not have recognised how lucky I was to not spend most nights crying myself to sleep.
To quote another really lame Instagram pic…