Is Spring Your Season For Romance?

Sure, this season means buds on the trees… but love could be blooming for you, too.

By Sally Schultheiss

e’ve all seen those nature shows on TV: When the frost melts and hibernation ends, the bears — and the birds and the bees — are ready for some action. And, the truth is, human beings aren’t all that different.

That stuff about a young man’s fancy turning to love in the spring? So true! Here are a few reasons why romance is shifting into high season right about now — and how to harness its energy to find yourself
A surge of hormones occurs as a result of the increasing sunlight.
someone special:

Love is in the air… and the blood.
Along with the seasonal proliferation of outdoor festivals, patio dining and sandals comes an invisible tidal wave of testosterone, coursing through the veins of men everywhere. “A surge of hormones occurs as a result of the increasing sunlight that begins after the winter solstice and builds until June 21, the longest day of the year,” says Galdino Pranzarone, a professor of psychology at Roanoke University in Virginia.

The ramped-up levels of light also makes an impact on women, observes L.A.-based psychologist Robert Butterworth: “Spring’s increasing sunlight triggers a chain of events that lead to a reduction in the secretion of melatonin,” he says. When melatonin production slows, women feel more energetic and get a natural libido boost, too.

Goodbye, turtlenecks… hello, bare skin.
The annual debut of shorts and tank tops can titillate even the most disinterested bystander. And nowhere is the shedding of layers more pronounced than along the East Coast and in the Midwest, where bodies have been kept under cover all winter. “That’s one thing I miss about New York,” says Ben Weigel, 35, a former Manhattanite who now lives in Los Angeles. “After months of cold and snow, all the women come out in their skimpy clothing. They’re psyched to wear less, and everyone else is psyched to look at them. It just puts you in the mood.” So go ahead: Women, trade your coats for cardigans and bare those lovely legs; guys, swap sweaters and wool trousers for a classic white tee and jeans.

The urge to exercise arrives — and boosts esteem.
At the first hint of swimsuit weather, people hit the treadmill, the bike path, the yoga mat — and get in shape any way they can before the first pool party of the season. And getting in shape means feeling better about your body,
Those extra hours of light every day means that much more time to party hop.
yourself and your dating potential. Dana Mendez, the general manager of the Boulevard Health Club in West Hollywood, always notices a sharp rise in the number of members working out come spring. “They’re motivated and excited to get into their bikinis and board shorts,” Mendez says. If the gym isn’t your thing, why not try a co-ed dance class to get toned up and psyched up for the season ahead?

We’re going to the chapel… again and again.
June is the most popular month for weddings, according to the National Association of Wedding Ministers, which means that love is not only on the calendar, but on the brain. It’s easy to be optimistic about the prospect of love when you watch two people walking down the aisle. What’s more, the seasonal swirl of engagement parties and nuptials can help some single folk meet new partners, too. There’s more time to socialize. Those extra hours of light every day means that much more time to party hop, wander the sun-dappled streets, or flirt at a barbecue. And you’ll find new organized opportunities available for meeting people. Health club manager Mendez has started a “running club” in which anyone — members or not — can join in a run on Wednesdays, then cool off later with drinks together. She’s hoping to attract mostly singles (who are often in search of a good time as much as a good workout). For the non-athletic types, there are always outdoor concerts, parades, street fairs and Shakespeare in the Park.

Summer lovin’ has no rules.
That old “school’s out, let’s hit the beach” mentality still applies for adults, too. When the good weather kicks in, we’re primed for fun… and that often means a relaxed attitude toward romance. There’s a “let’s have fun” vibe when the sun is shining and you’ve got a mojito in your hand: “There isn’t the pressure to be in a serious relationship during the summer,” says Katherine Levine, 34, of Silverlake, CA. “Almost by nature of it being summer, it’s a fling. So why not get out there, flirt and have some fun?” Good words to live by as the weather gets warmer.

Sally Schultheiss is an L.A.-based writer who often covers health and relationships. She thinks the essence of springtime is walking in the park, holding hands with someone sexy. She is also a contributing editor at Cookie magazine and a contributing writer for Real Simple.
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