Mar 17, 2012

What makes us fall in love

And what is love? How do we fall in love? What makes us fall in love? These are only some of the questions that have been asked about love. Sages and poets and experts have all tried to answer the question; yet one is not satisfied with the answer or the right answer has not yet been revealed. Is it catching a whiff of perfume? Is it a glimpse of a woman with haunting eyes in a black billowing raincoat standing in the wind? Is it a primitive need to protect?

The business of love

Some say it’s a cocktail of chemicals to the brain, others say it’s a template buried deep in the subconscious for the ideal partner and when we come close to it we respond. I could go with both these answers as dopamine is a euphoric hit to the brain, and the ideal template makes a lot of sense; remnants of the past, that kind of thing. Yet, it does not reveal all that love is or what makes us love and want love. Love is probably one of man’s most important needs. For example, a mother can still the cries of a baby just by putting her arms around her. As an adult a woman goes out into the world looking for something or someone. She cannot articulate what it is, but it’s a need that stills the senses and makes her feel safe.

The Bachelor Pad

Last night on the Bachelor Pad I watched a beautiful couple vying with other couples – all single – to compete for a prize of a quarter million rand. The first time we see this couple, they have just paired up in the game. The next time we see them a few days later they have spent the night together and were getting up. The woman asked the man straight out if he loved her. He did not answer. She then said she loved him. He still did not respond. As I watched I felt a little sad that these women put their desperation on display. They had all just met recently. They believed they would find their man by coming on the show. There were some recycled contestants – those who had either been the prize or those who were there for their second or third time. They all looked like little Kardashians with blond hair hoping to make it big and find the right man. They were in a fairy tale setting but wanted real-world commitment answers.

Marriage not a fairy tale

As I watched the couples I was nevertheless fascinated. Beautiful and stunning as this girl who had asked the big no question was, she was insecure. She needed to be validated. She needed to lean on the arm of a man and be seen. She needed to show that she had succeeded in finding a man. Am I surprised? No. We are all looking for that one particular person with the ready made template. In cavemen days men hunted, and women gathered firewood and berries. We have ingrained inside all of us the notion of family; a momma bear, a poppa bear, and the little cubs. We feel out of sorts if we do not have that experience. The prize was a quarter million rand. The price was pain and humiliation.

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