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Cupid's Chemistry

Roses are red, violets are fine.

Show your love with a scum Valentine.

Okay, let's back up a bit. The "high" of falling in love comes from a dandy six-syllable biochemical, nicknamed PEA or the "love molecule." PEA elevates our mood and suppresses fear, which is why we say love is blind.

Not blind for you or me, heh heh. For other people.

Whether we're dating or in a long-term relationship, we normally rev up the love molecule through goo-goo eyes and cuddling. But dang, that's work! Think of the extra conversation, deodorant and depilatory creme.

And for me, the gig will be over when Prince Charming (a) sees my shoveling technique with spaghetti; (b) learns the vacuum tracks on the carpet were made last fall; or (c) discovers that "slipping into something comfortable" means baggy flannel with drawstrings.

Researchers have found that voles injected with oxytocin (the "cuddle chemical") will bond for life. Great. I hope those academic yahoos leave the voles in my yard alone. The rodents do enough tunnel damage without teaming up. I say let them enjoy their one-night stands and move on to another lawn.

So, can we recapture love's glow without mood lighting or nervous small talk? You bet your bifocals! We can boost PEA with blue-green algae, exercise, or …Mmm… chocolate! Snickers, scum, and sweat - my kind of love potion.

I dig the PEA thing because it bumps those smug fairytale couples out of "happily ever after." For crumsakes, the stories end when PEA is at high tide! Don't you wonder what happened after everyone's chemistry settled down?

Take the Little Mermaid. Now, there's a surf 'n turf marriage doomed from the get-go. She traded her tail for legs so she could paint her toenails and strut her stuff in low-rider jeans. Holy mackerel, what a bum deal. Ever see a fish with cellulite or varicose veins? I rest my case.

After the prince's PEA dropped, he took up marine taxidermy, slinking around with fish 'n chips on his breath. And she - sullen and resentful - binged on night crawlers while watching Flipper reruns and scheming to leave whats-his-face for the big time at Sea World.

Sleeping Beauty pricked her finger and fell asleep until the kiss of her true love. Sheesh! What sicko would smooch a chic in a coma? Not a good start.

Still fixated on sharp objects, she later opened a tattoo parlor. Alas, Mr. Coma-Chaser was allergic to ink, and turned off by her nightly treatment for sleep apnea. No longer roused by his kiss, she shuffled out to the kitchen each morning in her ratty bathrobe to suck down coffee and cigarettes.

Guess which odd couple hung in there? Beauty and the Beast! Whodathunkit. They committed to obedience classes. And when he eyed the door, she told him to stay. She put up with his shedding and ignored the slobber on the windows. He installed a hydrant in the bathroom, laundered his disgusting rope toys, and wore a flea collar.

She doused him with tomato juice after skunk incidents, and masked her horror when he humped the knees of dinner guests. For their 25th anniversary, he surprised her by sporting a poodle cut. She gave him a silver ear hair trimmer. Sniff. Brings a tear to my eye.

If misfits like them kept the spark alive, there's hope. So pop in a DVD of Sleepless in Seattle and cuddle up with your sweetheart. Or Sara Lee.

As for me, I whipped up a batch of sludge-fudge from the scum in my aquarium. And every night this month I'm watching my all-time favorite love story - Fatal Attraction.

True, Glenn Close's character took rejection poorly. And yes, I suppose killing Michael Douglas' pet rabbit revealed minor deficits in impulse control. But, golly, she tried so hard to make it work.

Maybe if she'd sent him a chocolate bunny….

Copyright © 2007 Mary Tompsett

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Mary Tompsett

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