Love, Addiction, and Valentine’s Day Credit Card Debt.


In A Rush?

  • We’re hardwired to compete on Valentine’s Day – we’re still mammals and it’s fitness.
  • This post, in it’s own way, has PLENTY to do with public health. Give in to the love addiction.
  • The praying mantis makes love, then eats their mate…and that’s why they’re single.

I’m no longer going to make fun of Valentine’s Day. Well, let’s be real, I will probably still bash on it because it’s a day that sees 195 million rose purchases, full tables at overpriced restaurants, and an assortment of circus acts in the name of outdoing one another. But I think I get it.

Why do we go through such trouble? In the words of an old professor of evolutionary biology of mine, we have three roles:

Eat, get laid, AND don’t get eaten while getting laid.

praying mantis valentines day love addiction

Somewhere in hunting for those three pillars, we became hopelessly wired to hone in on and defend love, even if it means going Looney Tunes on Valentine’s Day. Fight it if you want, but we’re an addicted species, just like every other.

pepe-le-pew valentines day love addiction

An addiction!? Like cocaine!?!? Is THAT what we are to you!?

– Typical, impulsive response.

Strip away the obvious drug-infused connotation. I’m referring to love. I’m talking about sweaty palms, dilated pupils, heart palpitations, and gastric butterflies. (Similar feelings as if you were running from Mike Tyson.)

You’re witnessing the a rare moment when I’m down to be sappy. I can almost feel my chest hair retreating…

The first time I really saw this orchestra of hormones in action was via Conor and Elle – two lovebirds that look like they were ripped out of a catalogue. I know them well, from my treasured days at the University of Arizona (Wildcat pride) with Elle, to the time Conor took me under his Jurassic-5-humming wing when I first moved to Seattle.

Yeah, yeah I’m describing every other amazing couple suited for a cliché Nicholas Sparks novel but my real investigation into this pair happened on July 26th, 2014. I had the esteemed honor of officiating their wedding and as anyone that’s tackled this role knows, it’s your role to tell the world why THESE two are different. Well as I mentioned to the couple hundred folks that day, these two, annoyingly perfect, individuals were different because they were truly addicted to one another.

I’m talking March of the Penguins, I’d walk across Antarctica-for-you, addicted.

Conor and Elle valentines day love addiction

P.S. Those are the two hotties themselves.  And then there’s me.

I first mentioned this concept to Conor (aka Lou Diamond Chillips on Twitter) when I was drafting my officiate dialogue and I got a weary grin; a grin that said, if you don’t deliver this perfectly, you’re going to make me sound like Requiem-For-An-Elle.

They’ve known each other since childhood but Conor still had sweaty hands at the altar, Elle’s pupils dilated, their mouths were dry, and they had this wild amount of focus into one another. You’d think years together would dampen that wild “love effect” but they couldn’t help it. They chose each other, and their neurohormonal commitment wasn’t turning back.

It’s science in action children!

Those two were defenseless against the immediate dopamine infusion that gave them euphoria and victims of the adrenaline that shifted blood away from their splanchnic circulation, giving them that queasy feeling, and dilating their pupils. Then to add to their long-term chemical addiction, these two were suffering from lower serotonin levels, leaving them relentlessly focused on one another, and  destined, by oxytocin, leaving them attached to one another long enough to make babies.

Dopamine –> You can get that same feeling from cocaine. Btw, please don’t do cocaine.

Adrenaline –> You fighting Mike Tyson.

Low Serotonin -> A similar finding in individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Oxytocin -> Gives you that warm, feeling of fulfillment when you volunteer (…unless you go post exploitative pictures on Facebook, then you’re in it for the wrong reason, exploiter.)

In a nutshell, Conor and Elle illuminated a huge concept, you can’t fight the neurobiology of love. Those two found ‘fitness’ in one another and the shower of dopamine from their ventral tegmental areas will give them the stamina, energy, focus, and patience to “live happily ever after.” And that’s why I was proud to say,

By the power invested in me by openministry.org, I now pronounce you Husband and Wife.

Overall, this is what we’re ALL searching for and why Americans spend $14 billion annually on Valentine’s Day. If it takes 17 boxes of See’s candy we WILL out-do one another to get to and maintain that “Conor and Elle” state.

It’s the exact same reason why peacocks bat their feathers, why elephant seals whip each other’s asses, and why guys have gone from Reebok pumps to Von Dutch hats to gluten-free dieting. All of our fellow animals in arms are aware of the work it takes to find a solid mate. And when you know, you actually may not, but the neurotransmitters in your brain sure as hell do.

love hippos valentines day love addiction

Speaking of males trying to flex their whey-protein-assisted biceps, I know a lovely girl who sees plenty courtship. She’s really good looking, a physician, witty and she’s living out modern-times’ best anthropologic experiment – online dating.

She’s well aware of evolutions three tasks – food, sex, don’t be someone else’s food. She takes this into account when she peruses Coffee meets Bagel, Hinge, or Match. Lawyers, physicians, and business execs will help her with resources for raising kids, good looks have an obvious role in making them, and confidence finds a prehistoric companion in helping her run from life’s saber tooth tigers.

What I love most about talking with her is her honesty about what she wants. Of course a suitor has to ‘check boxes’ with the prettiest peacock feathers, but above all, he has to give her that feeling.

That neurochemical high you get when you’re with a match.

So keep your chin up and let evolution guide you. Quit fighting your predisposition, act a sap, tell someone you love them, risk getting slapped, go into credit-card debt this Valentine’s Day, and swipe right on Tinder.

peacock valentines day love addiction

What’s my point?

Life is short, don’t let love pass you by. I sound sappy but with all the negativity in the world, maybe we should learn how to be happy from mother nature. Go do something outrageous on Valentine’s Day.