7 quirky facts about chemistry
1. Like go-get-’em types? Look for a long fourth finger. Here’s why: If your date’s ring finger is longer than his or her index finger, it’s an indication that he or she was exposed to higher than average amounts of testosterone in the womb, says Dr. John T. Manning of Rutgers University in his book Digit Ratio. This correlates to a personality which tends to be logical, decisive, and ambitious. If these traits tickle your fancy, stick around.
2. Adrenaline is the new oyster. Skip the shellfish, and do something daring to bond with a new honey. Research by Arthur Aron and Donald Dutton shows that adrenaline ups our interest in a potential mate. Male subjects in the study were asked to cross two kinds of bridges (one shaky, one sturdy) to talk to an attractive female “researcher” giving a questionnaire. Upon completing the task, the woman gave each subject her phone number. Those subjects who met the woman on the shaky bridge were more likely to call and more likely to ask her on a date. The reason? The exhilaration of being in a risky situation rubs off on the person you’re with, so if you’re looking for some instant sparks on a date, try something a little scary (roller coasters, scary movie, or white-water rafting, anyone?).
3. Women do want to date their fathers. Or, at least, date someone who smells like him. In one study by geneticist Carole Ober, female subjects were asked to sniff t-shirts of various scents and then state their preferences. Over and over again, subjects chose the odors that closely matched those of their dads. So, guys, if you make it to a “meet the parents” moment, take a peek in their medicine cabinet, and splash on some of Dad’s aftershave to seal the deal.
4. Don’t let your married friends weigh in on your love life. Think your hitched pals can help you detect good chemistry with a date? Um, no… Science has revealed that your married friends are clueless when they try to give you dating advice. In one study, psychologist Frank Bernieri asked 168 subjects to watch video clips of couples and rate how in love they were. Subjects who were in relationships guessed wrong again and again compared to their single peers. So the next time your friend with the rock on her finger waxes poetic on the intricacies of your love life, smile serenely and then get a second opinion.
5. There’s such a thing as “Pill goggles.” Consider these the first cousin to beer goggles—if you’re taking the birth-control pill, ladies, your taste in men may take a turn. That’s because birth control pills affect women’s hormone levels and to whom they are attracted. In one study, researcher Tony Little showed women different images of men and asked them to make their picks. Results show that women on birth control pills tended to choose men with more pronounced masculine features than those who weren’t on the Pill. The downside here? These manly traits are linked to high testosterone levels, aggressive behavior, and even higher divorce rates. So if you’re on the Pill, don’t turn a blind eye to those red flags… your contraception could cloud your judgment and lead you to fall for a less-than-wonderful guy.
6. The longer you’re together, the more simpatico you’ll become. Do you feel the chemistry getting stronger and stronger every day? Are you finishing one another’s sentences? Feeling as if you share one personality? You two may really be merging, says researcher Cameron Anderson, who interviewed 60 couples and roommates. By gauging his subjects’ reactions to a film after they had lived together one year, Anderson found that their personalities tend to converge over time, though the dominant partner changes his or her personality less.
7. Goose those chemicals to keep passion cooking. Those heady feelings of new love do fade over time, but there is an easy way couples in a rut can get ’em back: by trying novel things together, whether that’s traveling to foreign lands or even just breaking out the Zagat guide to try a totally new restaurant rather than your old stand-by. That’s because new experiences trigger the same chemical reaction in the body as love, says researcher Helen Fisher, author of Why We Love. So get out there and have an adventure, lovebirds, to keep boredom at bay.
Laura Schaefer is the author of Man with Farm Seeks Woman with Tractor: The Best and Worst Personal Ads of All Time.