Friday, January 30, 2009

Love as Dangerous Chemical Imbalance

Would you rather have a love potion that made you more likely to become attached to someone else, or a love vaccine that stopped you from falling in love with the wrong person?” - John Tierney, New York Times, blogging hilariously about the possibility of a love vaccine

A neuroscientist at Emory University’s Yerkes National Primate Research Centers published a study in the January issue of Nature. He posits that pair-bonding in humans (as in voles, one of the few other monogamous mammals) can be enhanced or suppressed by tinkering with brain hormones like oxytocin and vasopressin.

Tierney interviews Dr. Larry Young and reports:

When a female prairie vole’s brain is artificially infused with oxytocin, a hormone that produces some of the same neural rewards as nicotine and cocaine, she’ll quickly become attached to the nearest male. A related hormone, vasopressin, creates urges for bonding and nesting when it is injected in male voles (or naturally activated by sex). After Dr. Young found that male voles with a genetically limited vasopressin response were less likely to find mates, Swedish researchers reported that men with a similar genetic tendency were less likely to get married.
Young is looking for drugs to improve the social skills of people with autism and schizophrenia, but can imagine applications of drugs in conjunction with marital therapy.

I agree with Tierney that, “Love is indeed a many-splendored thing, but sometimes we all need to tie ourselves to the mast.” That’s why, for example, I don’t date writers anymore.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

No Such Thing as The One

I have a raging egomaniac I try to keep caged up in myself. If I’m not vigilant, she shoots out of me like the alien in the thriller preview of that alien movie that I never ever wanted to see. So I can understand how romantic it would be to believe in The One, the only perfect other half in this world for me, my destiny. The reality, though, is profoundly more beautiful than the fantasy of God as my personal matchmaker.

If there were, for the sake of argument, just ONE particular person that God/the universe/stars-uncrossing created for me to find and love, the possibility follows that I might miss this person, not recognize this person at a crucial moment, or lose this person somehow. Then, I should be devastated. In fact, people believing this premise to be true, do feel devastated when any of those events seem to come to pass.

But time goes on, and we learn to love again, maybe even feel this sensation of finding our destiny and being the center of the universe again. This is possible, because The One is a myth - not because you were wrong about the last One! Remember applying for college and stressing out about making the right choice? It turned out that there was no right or wrong choice. Each college would have set your life in a new direction, and they all would have been great. An education is an education.

Love is love no matter who you love. Love isn’t a chest that can only be unlocked by a heaven-sent, custom-fitted key. Love is a part of you, of all humanity, and it makes us worth perpetuating in spite of the bad things we do. I think mankind comes out better as a whole in this worldview, and as individuals, we don’t have to stress out so much about nitpicking on someone’s faults or passing some random number birthday alone.

(Shoutout to Rodolfo at MIT procrastinating his PhD by talking out blog ideas with me! Te extraño aca.)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Telugu Bollywood on Generation Gap: LOVE MAKES LIFE BEAUTIFUL

Still sick, but been listening to this song in bed from the awesome Telugu movie Bommarillu. Gotta love when the mom drops the beat at 3:02. When I'm stressed out about how introducing my boyfriend to my parents will go, this song lets me know I'm not the first one to stress out about the parents and I definitely won't be the last. :) Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Love of Country's Not So Different from Loving Each Other, eh?

I'm sick as a dog and coughing up phlegm and cliche, but another blogger's already written a better analysis than I could have anyway.  Check it out and love.
"We have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Does It Count?

Even though I realize that it’s ridiculous for the same society to teach women to be chaste that nudges men to pursue sex like a sport, I’m not immune to the pressure. If my middle school math teacher was right, though, when she taught me that an average is the total sum divided by the number of items, in this case people answering the question, “How many people have you slept with?”- it’s impossible – IMPOSSIBLE- for women to have a lower average number of partners than the average number for men. (For a more detailed explanation, see “The Myth, The Math, The Sex”.)

As a result of this incongruence between reality and propriety, most women, including myself, have questioned whether bad sex should count in her official number. Considering that there’s scientific evidence that quality is much more important for women than quantity –which means that a woman in a dry spell is left even more frustrated by bad sex than if she had continued to have none at all- there might even be a case for bad partners counting as a negative number, thereby reducing your count for suffering through it politely.

Men have incentive in the opposite direction, to inflate their numbers, and so even tripping into a stuffed animal or a haphazardly placed angel cake might count. Seriously, an informal survey of my guy friends revealed that even one…uh…ingress, um, dive?...ok, fine – stroke - counts. At women’s brunch tables everywhere, however, this debate is alive with no consensus in sight. I have no answer, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has added an interesting dimension to the conversation.

If you watched this far, you've just been Rickrolled by the most powerful woman in Congress. The Rickroll, an internet meme that started a few years ago, is basically a prank in which unsuspecting viewers are tricked into listening to Rick Astley's 1987 hit "Never Gonna Give You Up". The classic Rickroll is when someone is tricked into clicking on a link that takes them to a video of the song.” – January 15, 2009

Consider: if I click on the link to a video like the one above, but close the page before Rick Astley’s music video starts, did I really get rickrolled? I’m not saying; I’m asking. I’m dying to know your thoughts.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hope for Future Family, from Mom

Sometimes, coming from a divorced family, I wonder whether knowing what NOT to do will be enough to build a strong, loving family of my own, or if I'm doomed to repeat history. Recently, my mom heard one of my brothers weeping in his sleep and woke him up. He said he was dreaming about this one Christmas when we were all together and happy with our toys by the tree.

My mom told him, "No need to be sad about the family you don't have anymore. Even the happiest families' children grow up and leave the nest. Change is natural. But you'll have your own family one day, and you can make your traditions just how you like them, and you can fill your house with love just like in your dream."

Here's a pic of that family we miss. (Click it to enlarge.)
But y'know, I love the family I have, and here's looking forward to the family I'll start someday.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Instead of Crying

Anyone who says you should just cheer up and get out there and get over it doesn’t know jack about breaking up (or any kind of mourning, for that matter). That said, I had to slap a friend over Yahoo Messenger yesterday after her ex’s Facebook flirting with someone new came up in the news feed. (She’s straight, but this totally applies to all romantic relationships.) Here’s the complete convo, abridged:
My Friend: it’s like it cheapens the entire relationship. it’s like it meant everything to me and barely anything to him
My Friend: i need someone to be a Charlotte for me and yell at him
Me: this city is your oyster but you'd rather think about what your ex doesn't know about life? really?
Me: [SLAP!] Snap out of it, woman! you're missing your whole life here and it's one a lot of girls would give a lot to have
My Friend: thanks for slapping me back out of insanity
Me: np i thought someone hacked your account! You were talking CRAZY.

There is no deadline for being “over it,” whatever the hell that means. (Don’t all our experiences become a part of us?) Still, know that time spent rehashing your ex’s past would be better spent planning your future. No one can stop you from dwelling on your ex’s faults and the things you feel you lost in the morass. Meanwhile, though, everything you do have will wither away, but then you can miss those things later, too...if you want to. (Just givin' y’all options.)

Your future and present are plenty to have on your mental plate. You've got your finances to think about, your new year's resolutions and goals, and your social life might have been a casualty of an unhealthy relationship. You’ll need time to work on that. Then, there’s your job, and learning stuff on your own time so you can school everybody that might try to compete with you for that promotion, and your health - to say nothing of laundry and trash and bills. Seriously, if you aren’t too busy to be hung up on an ex, you should be a time management counselor. Actually, you should be my time management counselor.

I’ll let Ne-Yo, the songwriter, sum it up in his lyrics to "So You Can Cry:"

Monday, January 12, 2009

Friends Believe in Each Other

Saturday night, some friends threw a party to celebrate my first poem being accepted for publication. Writers throw book parties or have post-reading get-togethers, but I have never ever heard of a party for a poem. I was skeptical and mildly embarrassed. I mean, after all this fuss over my first published poem, what if it proves to be my last? What will I say when all the gracious well-wishers find me sleeping in a box under the freeway using my first and last published poem as a blanket? "Thanks for that congratulatory beer back in '09. ...How 'bout buying a pity brew for old times' sake?"

Still, having thrown parties with flimsier premises (State of the Union address drinking games, prime number birthdays- the list goes on), I would be a hypocrite to poop this one. If I am called upon to be an excuse for a party, I would be a sorry friend not to report to duty. Several people even drove in from out of town, and we caroused* from 6 p.m. until, um, 2 a.m., I think. The details are blurry, alas, but these truths from the evening are clear:

Friends don't flatter; friends push you, because they know you are capable of more. Friends don't associate themselves with you for their own gain when you succeed; friends say "I told you you'd pull it off" and buy you a drink. Friends are not jealous of your success; friends revel in it as if it were their very own. And I have some effin awesome friends.

Feel free to shout out to the friends who have believed in you here. I just added sharing options in the sidebar, so they can see your adoring comments. Still working on getting the sharing options at the bottom of each individual post.

*Awesome Germanic etymology for my linguist peeps.

Friday, January 9, 2009

How to Make Friends in a New Town

Yep, sure wish I knew, too. I just moved to Athens, Georgia from Atlanta five months ago, and I've made like two and a half real life friends. I could feign expertise, but really, I'm just going to beg you to help me out:

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Twitter Marriage Proposal

While I was wailing for the death of romance, I considered tweeting her to urge "say no!" but her profile lists several blogs where she contributes, and her Twitter homepage background features her wearing a big smile and an "I'm a Mac" t-shirt. My cold, bitter, reluctant heart gave a little way to earnest @grobertson.

The outcome: She wrote to her beloved "@grobertson yes! Yes! Yes!" and later declares this to be one of the best weeks of her life. Imagine that. Her boyfriend knows her better than a heartless stranger like me.

Congratulations, you two!! Good luck @weddingplanning.

How NOT to divorce

While this is morbidly entertaining, demanding his donated kidney back (or $1.5 million; who's life is worth that much in a court of law nowadays?) is petty and groundless. Divorce is complicated and painful, especially if dragged on for four years like this one has. You can't very well send your ex a box of old house and children; they're not like CDs and sweaters. He is understandably deeply hurt by his ex-wife's betrayal, but using this kidney to hurt her back will only make his lawyer feel better. Gifts belong to the recipient and do not need to be returned in a split(except for conditional gifts, such as an engagement ring if a split happens before the wedding).

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Procrastinating cuz I'm a wimp

Avoiding my computer to avoid writing the first original Shut Up and Love blog post hasn’t really been doing me any favors. I dreamt last night that the blogosphere (personified by a lurid, glass-eyed repairman cum child molester in an anonymous white van) was chasing after me, driving through buildings.

I procrastinated even starting this blog, because I dreaded having my failure-of-a-blog searchable on THE Internet - forever. I’ve done these evasive maneuvers before. I avoided any potential partner for damn near a year after a brutal breakup, because I was afraid my next failure-of-a-relationship would run me over. Obviously, I didn’t acknowledge my gun-shyness then. I pouted, “Why isn’t there anyone in the state of Georgia who will sleep with me?” Really, past self? Really, no one in this entire great state will sleep with you?

I was like the INS interviewer from Hell. [Are you emotionally available? Yes? APPLICATION DENIED! (end scene)] I would only allow myself to be attracted to men from out-of-state or married men or men with serious immigration status problems, and there were plenty. Seriously, I might have never run out of excuses not to fall in love again. Ultimately, I was tricked by a strapping foreigner who I thought would surely return to Germany when he finished his PhD – what a convenient exit strategy and how much fun we could have until then! Today, we’ve been together for 15 months, and I went to Frankfurt to meet his parents just this Christmas. I am disgustingly in love, and I’m really sorry for all the freakouts I had when I realized too late that you actually wanted a healthy relationship.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Puppy love's real to the puppy

BBC NEWS | Europe | Child elopers' Africa plan foiled

Two German children - aged five and six - have been stopped by police from eloping to Africa to tie the knot in the sun, reports say. ...The young couple were "very much in love" and had decided to get married in Africa "where it is warm", police spokesman Holger Jureczko told the AFP news agency.

Although any marriage plans have been put on hold for now, police did not altogether rule out the possibility of an African wedding. "They can still put their plan into action at a later date," AFP quoted the spokesman as saying.


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