Six Romantic Ideas That Are Shot Down by Science
It's the season for cupids, dinner reservations, and teeth-breaking candy hearts. Everywhere I look I see couples holding hands, whispering secrets, and giving each other piggy-back rides. I can't even turn on the TV or radio without being bombarded with sappy commercials.
Now, I'm not bitter, but I think that a few especially nauseating couples could use a good smack upside the head when it comes to romance. And what better way to give a good smack than with science?
1. Stars make meaningful gifts
or buying a star has
become the unique and interesting way to show your feelings for
someone. Basically, you give a company money, and they give you the
coordinates of a star and a pretty certificate with the name you chose printed on it. Oh and they promise they will never let anyone
else name "your" star.
has become so popular that the International Astronomical Union (IAU)
has found it necessary to address the
issue on their official website. The IAU's hilariously cynical statement says that people can waste their money to name
stars whatever the heck they want, but the names will never have any
validity in the scientific community. A star's official name is simply
a catalog number and coordinates, and that's how it's gonna stay.
2. Flower bouquets are thoughtful
Okay so the
gesture of giving someone flowers may be thoughtful, but the fact that
you're also giving them a face-full of chemicals probably isn't. The
flower industry is different
from the food industry in that there aren't strict guidelines about the
amount of pesticides flower growers are allowed to use. Therefore the
growers use large amounts of chemicals to keep the flowers looking
pretty. While a whiff of chemically-dosed roses probably won't hurt you,
the chemicals are not good for the environment where the flowers are
grown or for the workers who tend them.
Also, most of the U.S.'s
cut flowers were grown in warmer climates like South America or Africa.
Then, to meet the demands of ardent lovers, the flowers
must be shipped long distances, which releases tons of carbon dioxide
emissions. While the receivers of the flowers may be pleased, I can't imagine that the atmosphere feels very cherished at all.
is an aphrodisiac
While chocolate is ridiculously delicious,
it probably does not stimulate sexual arousal. It's true that
a couple chemicals, tryptophan and phenylethylamine, that could
feasibly contribute to arousal. However, the amounts in chocolate are so
small that it's very unlikely they have much effect. Research
backs up this hypothesis. In one study, women who ate larger daily doses
of chocolate did not report a greater rate of sexual arousal than the
women who ate smaller amounts.
4. Oysters are an aphrodisiac
probably won't help you with your sex drive either. Oysters contain a
lot of zinc, which is involved with testosterone production, but the effects of zinc, if there are any, would not be immediate. Oysters also
contain dopamine, a neurotransmitter that affects the appropriate area
of the brain. Here again, there's probably not enough to have any realistic effect on arousal.
despair! After surveying hundreds of studies
about edible aphrodisiacs, one research team found that ginseng and
saffron are two that actually work.
While chocolate and oysters
don't have many chemical properties that contribute to arousal, their
texture may be enough to do the trick. The oh-so-velvety feeling of
chocolate and the slippery sensation of oysters in your mouth
may contribute to arousal, giving you the illusion that these
foods are aphrodisiacs.
5. Driving fast
Some people have been smart
enough to figure out that if you give a person a thrill, she is more
likely to fall for you. However, I'm sorry to say that the reason she's
burying her head in your shoulder and clutching your arm isn't because
she likes you--it's because she's legitimately scared.
trick, however, is that she has a hard time telling the difference
between her usual symptoms of attraction (fast heartbeat, sweaty palms,
etc) and the symptoms of fear generated by the scary experience. She
might think that she likes you, but she was really just frightened. This
phenomenon is called misattribution of arousal.
of arousal can work with speedy cars, scary movies, rollercoasters, and
And it definitely doesn't just apply to women. The concept was first discovered by observing whether
men who walked across a stationary bridge or men who braved a swaying bridge were more likely to ask out a
girl waiting at the end.
Guess which group of men fell for the bait.
6. Doves are accurate symbols of romance
are considered symbols of love and romance because they mate for
life and have affectionate courtship behavior. Pigeons, on the other
hand, are symbols of excrement and stupidity because they smear
droppings all over public places and bob their necks when they walk.
guess what: doves are pigeons.
Yep. According to the
American Dove Association,
these terms are synonymous. In fact, the "doves" released at weddings
are usually homing pigeons so
that they can be released outside and find their way home. That's
right: the beautiful white birds you ceremoniously released on your Big
Day are the same little buggers that defile historic monuments. How