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Insert Your Favorite Love Song Here

2004-02-13 - 3:57 p.m.

Sorry I haven't written since Monday. Sad thing is, this sporadic updating is only going to get worse, which is particularly unfortunate seeing as people whom I don't know in my day to day life are starting to leave comments. on that note, may I shamelessly plug:

I've been stressed but also giddy at work, as I have also been admitted to Duke with a fellowship, and am a semi-finalist for the Mellon Fellowship, which, were I to go to Berkeley and get the Berkeley fellowship, would mean I'd have six friggin' years of study funded, which rocks my world many times over. Also, Berkeley and Duke peeps have been calling me and telling me how excited they are to have La Notoriouse on their list of grad students. As of now, my head is one phone call away from not being able to fit through the door. The best part is that this means I can go part-time at work in April, giving me more time to write! Woo-hoo!

Today, of course, is the day before Valentine's Day, so I felt the need to write about this most loathed of holidays.

No one I know likes Valentine's Day. No one expects their significant others to buy them anything special, or even take them out anywhere. Most of them have seen enough sitcoms and read enough Cathy cartoons (I would like to take a moment to shout out to the much-maligned comic strip diva--Cathy, all those bitches like Sarah Jessica Parker are just jealous because they can't bring themselves to eat carbs, baby!) to know that loved ones tend not to come through on Valentine's Day. Either their gift is entirely underwhleming, or acutely embarrassing, as in the case of a co-worker of mine who responded to the dozen roses she received today, in front of the entire office, with the phrase, "I'm going to fucking kill him."

Let's not speak of the potential Hell that is Valentine's Day if you're single and don't want to be.

The good news is that this was not me this year, nor, I think, was it any of my friends. I was at the store today, gazing at the heart-shaped balloons and chocolate assortments, and was surprised that I was neither wistfully hoping that I'd run into a handsome stranger and accidentally spill tempeh puttanesca all over his Tori Amos t-shirt and his dog-eared copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude or Sexing the Cherry, which would result in me taking him to BookPeople to buy him a new copy, and a coffee or chai tea, during the consumption of which he'd jokingly insist on getting my number so he could "make me pay for dry cleaning," which is the exact sort of nauseating fantasy I would have had when I was 19, nor was I launching into a diatribe against the greeting card industry and the candy industry, decrying their gross manipulation of the self-esteem and relationship dynamics of the public for profits, with a sprinkling of theories on how the weight loss industry probably subsidizes M&M/Mars around this time of year, secretly hoping that the cute guy in the other line would hear me and like what I had to say enough to ask me to attend his "Fuck Valentine's Day!" party, like I would have done at 22. Instead, I just glanced at the rosy decorations without longing or anger, simply regarding the rosy decorations as just another gimmick on just another day.

People have lately been trying to reclaim Valentine's Day, or the days around it. Today, for example, is apparently a national "Day of Purity" when teenagers all over the country are supposed to wear white to advocate abstinence before marriage. Those people had better be glad they didn't try to pull that shit when I was in high school. I would have shown up to school in a black and red t-shirt, and would have kept dating my high-school boyfriend an extra two months just so I could tell people that I had worn it the night before when we were fucking. I would probably have tried to argue that some of the black parts were actually stains of a very personal nature as well.

Abstinence: Because if you tell teenagers not to have sex, then they won't. The same goes for smoking, drinking, doing drugs, skipping class, not doing their homework, lying, and driving above the speed limit.

On the more liberal side of the specturm, there's V-Day, which turns the 14th into a day to celebrate the V that has a lot more to do with love than Valentine: the vagina. The Vagina Monologues are read every year, in an effort to raise awareness of that rather unfortunate V, violence, particularly against women and families. If you've never seen The Vagina Monologues, well, first of all, were have you been? Second, they are funny, touching, sexy, haunting, and, in short, not to be missed. Chances are that there will be a production within 50 miles of you on Valentine's Day. It's worth it to find one.

Spread the word:

Valentine's Day remains a day for romance, however, but somehow it just ain't reaching me, today. It's possible that I have kicked the love habit.

For, you see, as I learned from St. Caroline of the Nickel Slots ( this week, the latest scientific research shows that not only is love entirely chemical, but that lust, romantic love, and long-term love all effect different parts of the brain (or, possibly, different parts of the brain effect lust, romantic love, and long-term love). Furthermore, the brain activity of those passionately in love is not similar to those who are passionately driven to succeed, or angry, or joyful, even.

No, the brain activity of the infatuated, the enamored, and even the twitterpated most resembles the brain of those addicted to drugs.

The article that talked about this ( rather cleverly prefaced this with the classic Cole Porter line: "I Get a Kick Out of You." This had me singing Ella Fitzgerald's version of that song all. Fucking. Day. Long.

According to the article, there are two little hormones called oxytocin and vasopressin that are released into our brains when we fall in love, that cause us to attach to people and crave them like Whitney Houston craves crack. I mean Bobby Borwn. No, sorry, cocaine. Is that right, Ms. Houston? Don't hurt me!

The implications, of course, are huge. Could philanderers and commitment-phobes simply be lacking enough oxytocin? Can they get more, or improve their uptake of those chemicals. Can dying love be reborn with a simple injection, or can a cocktail of pills slipped into a cosmopolitan at a cocktail party act as the world's first working, scientifically proven love potion. Could it be possible to figure out what cues the release of these chemicals in our brain, and if its possible to change them. Could this lead to a day when we are able to fall into and out of love at will, with partners of our choosing?

God, I fucking hope not.

A few minutes ago, I got a call from the guy who I danced with a few weeks ago, the one that I wanted to lick all over, to be perfectly frank. It was a business call, as he is a lighting person and I need lighting help with my theatre project, but . . . well, there's nothing definite, and precious little that's promising, particularly since I don't even know if he likes guys or not, but after I hung up the phone I had a big grin on my face, and couldn't wip it off for the life of me.

And you ain't gettin' any more info unless you call me!

I recognized the rush I got when I hear him say his name. If I had to describe the blend of oxytocin and vasopressin as a drug, I would say that it's like a combination of speed and X, but that whereas those drugs get your muscles going and make your skin feel electric, these drugs go deeper. You feel the sparks, but they stay a lot further inside. You become fixated, and you fiend, and you feel high all the time even when you're low.

There are so many songs about this feeling, and I love a lot of them.

Am I falling in love? Hell no. But I'm getting high, and I'm liking it.

I also know that it will result in a let down when I find out he's straight, or that he's gay/bi/queer but doesn't like me. or that he's an idiot, or an asshole, or whatever, but that's part of the fun. I've always enjoyed coming down from a drug as much as I've enjoyed being high on it. Also, that's when so much of the creative juices get flowing. If it weren't for heartbreak, none of my favorite singers would have careers. For that matter, all the arts would suffer greatly. I think I'd rather not know that it's simply a collection of chemicals and nothing more that give meaning to my favorite stories and song lyrics. "Every time I think of you I feel I'm shot right through with a bolt of blue" sounds a lot cooler than, "When i think about your love, oxytocin and vaporessin get released in my blood." Bonus points to anyone who can identify where the original song lyric came from.

Anyway, I still want nothing to do with hearts and flowers (chocolate is a different story) tomorrow. I've got too much to do. But I think that I'll find my Ella Fitzgerald CD tonight, and fantasize a little. Seeing as taking drugs by yourself is the sure sign of an addict, I might need to go out and force other people to talk about this guy with me.

Until then, I'll leave you with the Cole Porter:

"I get no kick from cocaine.

I think that if I took even one sniff

It would bore me terrifically too.

But I get a kick out of you."

Happy Fucking Vaentine's, everyone.

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