10 Unusual Things You Didn’t Know About Love

Ever wondered how to make an instant connection with your date or long it takes to make someone fall in love? Read on for 10 fascinating, bizarre things you probably didn’t about love, dating and relationships!

By Bob Strauss

here’s a great Monty Python sketch in which a seemingly normal gentleman plops himself down on the other side of an occupied park bench and says, apropos of nothing: “Did you know the whale is not really a fish? It’s an insect.” Well, whether or not you agree with this statement, here are 10
I suggest popping Tic-Tacs instead for love luck.
statements about love, dating and relationships culled from the Internet — complete with an illuminating exegesis for each one from yours truly, along with some popular myths we debunked by asking the experts themselves.

1. The Mexican chief Montezuma considered chocolate a “love drug” and drank 50 cups a day before visiting his harem of 600 women. Before you rush out to Costco and stock up on Nestlé Quik, bear in mind that Montezuma’s brand of hot chocolate didn’t contain any sugar (and was, according to the accounts of Spanish conquistadors, incredibly bitter). Nowadays, sadly, there isn’t really a beverage you can drink 50 cups a day of and impress a single blind date… much less an entire harem. I suggest popping Tic-Tacs instead for love luck.

2. If you want to make an instant connection with your date, say his or her name at least twice in the course of the conversation. This one should be a no-brainer, but hey, I’m here to provide that aforementioned illuminating exegesis, not browbeat you about your interpersonal skills. If this sounds awkward to do, here’s a realistic, smooth way to do it at the outset (substitute your date’s name and your own for these examples): “Hello, Pamela, I’m Bob. Excuse me, waiter, could you bring my lovely date Pamela a glass of water and a basket of bread for our table?”

3. If a man meets a woman while in a dangerous situation, such as on a trembling bridge, he’s more likely to fall in love with her than if they meet in a more mundane setting, such as an office. I’m going to bite my lip on this one and let professional anthropologist (and relationship expert) Dr. Helen Fisher take a crack at it: “This is true, because any kind of novelty, particularly something dangerous or exciting, drives up dopamine levels in the brain. Brain-scanning studies of both men and women show that feelings of intense romantic love are linked with elevated dopamine activity. That’s why vacations can be so romantic; novelty triggers the dopamine system and partners feel some of that early glow of intense romance.”

4. One Manhattan matchmaker’s price begins at $20,000, and if a marriage results, a bonus payment is expected. To put this fact into perspective, people in Manhattan have been known to pay $500,000 for a 300-square-foot studio apartment. Sure, if you’re extra-desperate to get yourself hitched you can lay out this kind of money, but it might be a more reasonable option to spend, say, $50 a month on a professionally written dating profile with a reputable online service.

5. Men know they’re falling in love after just three dates, but women don’t fall in love until date #14. Sometimes, you have to take a long, hard look at the numbers. When I first dredged up this particular nugget of wisdom, that “14 dates” assertion stared up at me like the glazed-over eyeball of a bludgeoned trout — and yet, it had research backing it up. Canadian site Canoe’s readers asserted this finding to be truth, while Paul Davis, author of Breakthrough for a Broken Heart, says the average is closer to six for both genders.

6. When you look at a new love, the neural circuits associated with social judgment are suppressed. Here’s Dr. Helen Fisher again, biological anthropologist and chief scientific advisor for “Yes, neuroscientists have found that some of the thinking and decision-making regions in the prefrontal cortex, the massive brain region behind your forehead, can deactivate when you’re in love. And with less blood rushing to this region, social judgment can be suppressed. This is why Chaucer immortalized the phrase, ‘love is blynd.’ (Apparently, the word processing programs of Chaucer’s day didn’t include spell-check; maybe his orthography was so wacky because he was smitten with his apprentice.)

7. Remembering bits of information about a person and working them into conversation not only is highly flattering, but also shows real interest. When you’re on the first few dates with someone, it’s
I’m ashamed to admit that I only thought about sex every 27 seconds or so.
easy to rush through questions and blurt out too much information about yourself; it’s harder to slow down and really listen to what your date’s saying, much less retain it. If you have real interest in this person, put aside a factoid or two and save them for date #3 and beyond. Just don’t wait too long to let this guy or gal know you’re paying attention before working these goodies into the conversation, lest you get left with a list of useless notes instead of a calendar full of dates.

8. On average, adult men think about sex a lot less frequently than the rumored “once every seven seconds” popular statistic would have you believe. I remember reading this back when I was much younger and wondering when my obsession with the opposite sex would kick in. When I hit puberty, I’m ashamed to admit that I only thought about sex every 27 seconds or so — a number that oscillated in the 30- to 40-second range well into my 30s. However, a quick review of The Kinsey Institute’s 1994 research reveals that this number is, in reality, much less mind-blowing: 54 percent of men report thinking about sex every day or several times a day, 43 percent think about sex a few times per week or per month and 4 percent think about it less than once a month. Nineteen percent of women think about sex every day or several times per day, while 67 percent think about it a few times per week or month — and 14 percent think about it less than once a month. So, if you’re not constantly preoccupied with sex, relax… you’re normal.

9. Before a man even speaks a word, his posture counts for over 80 percent of a woman’s first impression of him. Now, here’s a supposed “fact” that Dr. Helen Fisher takes issue with — says our resident anthropologist, “I do know that 90 percent of communication is non-verbal, that body posture, gestures and tone of voice are all signals that others pick up naturally and rapidly. But I would doubt that the way a man stands ‘counts for over 80 percent of a woman’s first impression.’ Women also take careful note of a man’s height, weight, clothing, hair, skin color, age and other factors that far outweigh his stance.” So, take this “fact” with a grain of salt.

10. Common chimpanzees kiss with open mouths, but not with their tongues. Bonobos, the most intelligent of primates, do kiss with their tongues. Let’s take a step back from this statement for a moment and consider the broader implications. Are there really legions of white-suited lab technicians out there, gripping their clipboards with tense, white knuckles as they stare intently at smooching chimps and bonobos in scientifically controlled environments? Yes, according to William Cane’s 1995 book, The Art of Kissing. And thus, to quote the immortal words of Dilbert creator Scott Adams, “another journalism major enters the work force.”

Bob Strauss is a freelance writer and children’s book author who lives in New York City. He’s also written the Dinosaur guide on, the online information network owned by the New York Times.

Interested in taking Dr. Helen Fisher’s personality test? Visit today!

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