Courtship Chemistry Blog

Courtship Chemistry

CR4's only blog that examines social science. This includes anthropology, public health, history, linguistics and psychology. The principles that govern daily human life and interactions are often overlooked, but are as important as any technology.

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As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

Posted February 09, 2012 1:01 AM by HUSH

A ritual seemingly for uncreative male lovers (I consider giving chocolate a relationship death stroke), a heart-shaped assortment really gets across that message of "I love that you love chocolate and I remembered."

"It is the east, and Juliet is the sun." via Wikimedia

So where did this tradition come from? And, are there any truths to the rumors of chocolate as an aphrodisiac? We'll answer this and more in the inaugural post of Courtship Chemistry!

Simply, love is a feeling of affection and attachment towards another human. The Ancient Greeks had four different words for love, each representing a different type of affection and attachment. Today we're relegated to one word, but it seems to work just fine.

Biologically, love is explained by three stages according to anthropologist Helen Fisher: lust, attraction and attachment. Lust is the desire to mate and propagate a species, a primal need. Attraction is the systematic determination of what people desire in a partner, often focusing on traits to complement their own. Attachment is the sharing and caring with a partner over a period of time.

Psychologically, love falls into Maslow's hierarchy of needs, where physiological needs and a sense of safety are treasured before the sense of belonging offered by love. By achieving this third step in the hierarchy, the two proceeding steps should become easier to sustain since another individual is considerate of mutual needs. Interestingly, the need for love and belonging can supersede the previous steps in the hierarchy once it is achieved, as evidenced by when people remain with abusive partners.

via Wikimedia

What is Valentine's Day? Where did it come from?

While it is colloquially Valentine's Day, it is more accurately Saint Valentine's Day, which celebrates the lives of two Christian martyrs: Valentine of Roma and Valentine of Terni. Both of these individuals were killed in Third Century Rome and were persecuted for their religious beliefs.

Here is where history becomes a bit more muddled however, as broken records keep the two Valentines indistinct. Roman Emperor Claudius II passed a law prohibiting marriage for young men, thereby eliminating a main distraction for his soldiers. One of these Valentines continued to perform marriages despite this new edict. This Valentine was jailed and scheduled to be executed. Whilst awaiting the sentence, Valentine met a young blind woman that he returned sight to with his affection. His last correspondence with his beloved was a note signed "From your Valentine." February 14 was the day of his interment, which coincided with a traditional Roman festival of fertility. Rome later became a Christian empire and it was then safe to celebrate Valentine's death and commitment to love.

I should note this is hearsay, and excluding two Valentines and a Roman festival of fertility, these rumors are impossible to verify.

Cupid's work goes unrewarded... via MWLN

Why is it customary to give chocolate on Valentine's Day?

While cacao was used by indigenous South Americans as early as 1400 BC, it was primarily drunk and fermented into alcohol. The Mayan and Aztec civilizations incorporated chocolate into their diets regularly and the Aztecs even sacrificed chocolate to their goddess of fertility, Xochiquetzal. (Are you beginning to see a connection here?)

Thanks, but no thanks. via Bailey's Chocolate Bar

When Spain began to colonize the Americas, they imported cacao by the ship-full. It remained a decadent, valuable and luscious commodity, so it made sense to gift it to women of romantic interest.

That standardized, glossy heart-shaped box was first produced by the Ganong Company in New Brunswick in 1932, though it was originally released as a Christmas gift. When consumers began requesting the product during Valentine's Day, Gonong changed their production schedule. The chocolate gift sets became especially popular after World War II during the 'baby boomer' years.

The tradition [in my opinion, regrettably] continues today.

So, probably the real reason my reader that you've stuck around this long...

Is chocolate an aphrodisiac?

There seems to be a lot of debate in the scientific field as to how much of an arousing effect chocolate can have. There is no debate however, of pleasure inducing chemicals being found within chocolate.

Phenyl ethylamine (PEA) is an occurring chemical in chocolate and is also found in methamphetamine. PEA is made naturally in the brain and is released when people fall in love or have an orgasm. Furthermore, tryptophan (yes, that sleepy chemical) is also organically present in chocolate. Tryptophan is an essential building block for serotonin, another chemical directly linked to sexual arousal. Finally, anandamide binds with cannabinoid receptors, creating euphoria and a sense of well-being.

I don't know if you've followed this, but chocolate seems like a legitimate drug. However, scientists conclude that there are such insignificant amounts of these chemical in chocolate, that a person is unlikely to feel any physiological effects. These chemicals, especially when combined with the sugar rush, caffeine and theobromine also present in chocolate, typically results in a physiological high, but with no sexual potency.

A May 2006 study by Italian scientists concludes similarly, stating there is no direct correlation between eating chocolate and sexual activity.

NOT an aphrodisiac. via Metro Kids

So guys, there you have it. Save the money on the chocolate and put some real thought into a meaningful Valentine's Day gift. I think that will be a better aphrodisiac.

Resources

NYT - The Claim: Chocolate is an aphrodisiac

eHarmony - Fact or Myth: Chocolate is an Aphrodisiac

Wikipedia - Valentine's Day; Chocolate Holidays

Shippenburg University - Abraham Maslow

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#1

Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/09/2012 1:24 AM

Is chocolate an aphrodisiac? I don't know; why not give some and report back on the results?//whichever.

Or consider chocolate martinis; in the immortal words of Ogden Nash, "Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker!"

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#2

Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/09/2012 8:23 AM

"...and put some real thought into a meaningful Valentine's Day gift."

Whilst courting the object of my lust/attraction/attachment, I tried what was suggested by attempting to create a gastronomical masterpiece: a four course dinner.

Until then, my culinary skills were decent but definitely not exemplary. In the kitchen I'm a one-task-at-a-time kind of guy, so trying to cook three or four items at the same time and have them ready at the same time overwhelmed me.

I managed to boil the lobster tails into rubber, burn the mignon into hockey pucks, render the french onion soup into paste and spill the wine up the wall and back into her plate.

Her mouth formed the perfect Far Side "O" as she sat there just blinking at the carnage I had created.

I had chocolate as a backup.

I eventually proposed and she accepted, with the caveat that I NEVER try pull off something like that again.

We still laugh at my St. Valentine's Day Massacre and the kids ask me to tell the story every Feb 14th.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/09/2012 10:20 AM

Ah! That's sweet!

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#4

Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/09/2012 11:52 AM

There's no point in it, if one party produces candles, heart-shaped strawberry-chocolate pink-foil-wrapped sweeties and rose petals, and the other party responds with two apples and a banana.

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#5
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Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/09/2012 3:40 PM

I'd try tieing a big, red bow on the banana. It's all about presentation. What's the worst that could happen?

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#15
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Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/10/2012 8:23 AM

A picture! X)))

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#16
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Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/10/2012 8:37 AM

Ha!!

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#21
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Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/10/2012 9:18 AM

What if all you have is two cherries and a string bean?

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#24
In reply to #21

Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/10/2012 10:05 AM

I recommend some silver and gold spray paint, along with cellophane wrapping and bows in narrow ribbon. Guaranteed to make anything look bigger classier.

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#26
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Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/10/2012 12:08 PM

And I assume that any 'clothing' worn should include horizontal stripes not vertical.

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#37
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Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/14/2012 5:27 PM

Shaved and flavoured ice makes a good treat also.

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#6

Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/09/2012 9:23 PM

this seems suspiciously like social science

what was that about the rules guidelines applying uniformly?

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#10
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Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/10/2012 4:08 AM

This is an engineering site...so perhaps it's social engineering?

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#7

Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/09/2012 10:56 PM

It is interesting to me that most of what I read is how men must do things differently to satisfy women. It appears to me that a lot of long term male/female attachments consist of men paying for a laundry and cleaning service with a great deal of criticism and rules of constraint on behavior thrown in for no additional charge. Maybe it's time to re-negotiate the social contract terms. Standby for lightning bolts and harpy attacks!

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#8
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Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/10/2012 12:31 AM

Interestingly observing my children, my new wife commented on what utter slatterns this generation of females are, and actually chasing men!

I suggested it was a transition on the road to a more equal balance in the species - or I'm completely off.

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#9
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Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/10/2012 2:25 AM

I don't mind training myself to get what I want, as you so inartfully ejaculate. Perhaps you confuse freedom with isolation. If it weren't for behavioral tradeoffs, we likely wouldn't even exist as a species. Cooperation works fine for groups up to twelve dozen or so. But now we're smart, and we need some new socializing techniques, before tribalism tears our world apart.

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#12
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Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/10/2012 5:52 AM

Isn't that what religions sought/seek to do? To codify acceptable behaviours in a social context in order to promote/preserve society. All major religions have at their core a list of "Dos and Don'ts". If we ignore the diety aspects of each (after all, we should leave discussions of such for other non-technical boards), religions are about controlling the behaviour of masses of people to whom the leader can not individually speak. Thus Government is in much the same position and thus we have laws and lawyers to control the behaviour of the citizenry.

Perhaps in a thousand years, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher () will be revered as gods...

I've said this before elsewhere on CR4. I am not seeking to promote one religion over another, or even any over none. Jus' sayin' that there may be a small baby in the bath-water.

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#38
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Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/14/2012 5:37 PM

You have to admit (whether you're a believer or not), that probably most of the people need a religion just because they are not able to do the right thing on their own, they need to fear a punishment.

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#39
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Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/14/2012 10:56 PM

That would imply a lower occurrence of wrong doing among those with religious affiliations.

I think perhaps the concept you refer to has passed it's day.

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#40
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Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/15/2012 5:08 AM

I disagree, the concept still exists...it just has different manifestations these days. I'm thinking of the likes of Big Brother shows, X Factor and the like, Football / baseball teams/players, celebrities. The definition of "good" and "bad" behaviour is also different, but the need to look up to "someone" notionally bigger/greater than oneself is still there for many.

I was making the point that whatever the details of the "religion", the aim of those in charge is to control more people than they could possibly meet face to face. That means that somewhere down the line are those who believe the message and teach it with genuine belief themselves. Once that point is reached, the system is very powerful.

People have far more technical knowledge now than at any other time in recorded history, thus the old magic/hocus pocus/beyond man's understanding lines are less effective. Many so-called miracles have been scientifically explained. Thus new "magic" is needed...

I'm trying to approach this from a social science point of view, and hope that I am not causing offense to any believers. I think that there is worth and truth at the heart of all religions, but that many of them have been subverted over the centuries by the power hungry.

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#13
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Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/10/2012 8:09 AM

Apparently you are the ejaculation expert. With that as the primary goal the current state of the species is understandable. I'm not so sure that perpetuation of the species has been such a great achievement and doesn't seem to hold a lot of promise for the future of the planet. But by all means, continue to train yourself to get what you want.

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#11
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Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/10/2012 4:12 AM

Hmmm...pre-judging of responses. Nicely adult.

Why don't you set out what you'd like to see in this "re-negotiated social contract". Then we can begin the negotiations.

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#14
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Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/10/2012 8:17 AM

Experience, not pre-judgement (also tongue-in-cheek). I assume that any who does not share your opinion is a priori juvenile. How adult, but then based on your nom de plume I'm not suprised.

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#17
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Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/10/2012 8:52 AM

As with the stock market, past experience is not always an indicator of future performance - no harpy reply that I can see.

As you do not know my opinion, and you have not made yours entirely clear on the matter of contract content, I have not made any pre-judgement. I was hoping we could have a friendly debate on the contract points. As previously invited, post the things you'd like to see in the new contract and we can discuss.

No a priori judgement made - you made clear what you expected:

Standby for lightning bolts and harpy attacks!

I merely commented upon that.

I'm intrigued: what has my username told you about my opinions?! Please do explain.

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#23
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Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/10/2012 9:45 AM

Keep it nice, ya'll. Please.

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#22
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Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/10/2012 9:31 AM

Creditkarma.com vs creditscore.com?

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#18

Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/10/2012 9:05 AM

The consumedly amorous Mimi
Turned our meeting from friendly to steamy
When she whispered, "Hey, hon,
Are you hiding a gun...
Or are you just happy to see me?

with apologies to Chris Doyle

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#19

Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/10/2012 9:06 AM

May I say that, chocolate is not the bit.

It is the effort put into do something with the intention of make the other happy/smile or a step closer to the bed.

For my wife, It was seeing me trying to cook for her, the first time she came to Europe. During winter. Absolutely shocked by the cold never experienced before and with a nasty flu, was not able to eat for two days.

I tried to cook white rice (in a crappy electric kitchen, with a small deformed pot, there was nothing else in the hotel room), and the result was a clump of porridge at the top, with a thick black layer at the botom of the pot.

For my it was absolutely disgusting, but her eyes brighted eating a dozen of spoons.

After started laughing "it is horrible, can not take more"... but it worked.

It is not the four courses dinner of Steve, but the basics are the same.

Try your best and, if you are lucky, it will not depend on success, but in the appreciation of the effort by the other one.

Now, instead of "cooking", put other verb. And try it.

btw: For me, chocolate works. Autosuggestion? So be it!!

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#20
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Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/10/2012 9:16 AM

You are absolutely right. The effort and the thought are what counts. My wife appreciates my attempts and knows I am not being selfish. She's perfectly ok sending me off to my workshop, where I enjoy much more success.

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#25

Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/10/2012 12:02 PM

As this is generally an engineering site, it seems appropriate that this forrum is starting at a very basic level. Engineers are not generally known for their social and romantic prowess. Some of the skills and mental traits that make us good enginers, don't work well in the social arena. Certainly, we can use all the pointers and information we can get.

With all that said, and given that this is a gift giving season, I'm afraid that you may have missed a few basic rules of romantic gift giving. For example:

  • As a general rule, gifts suitable for women, do not include power cords...EVER.
  • Just because you would like to see her in the clothing, doesn't mean she'll like it, or ever wear it. In fact, the more you want to see it on her, the worse it is as a gift.
  • If the operating instructions are more than a paragraph long, don't buy it.
  • Remember, quality women's clothing doesn't include velcro closures.
  • If she thinks it's appropriate for you to give her a gift, she will be giving you hints, so listen carefully.

Hopefully my fellow engineers will contribute additional 'rules' learned from their (sadly) unfortunate experiences.

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#29
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Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/13/2012 5:33 AM

Does the converse apply, i.e. Engineering female to non-Engineering male?

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#31
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Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/13/2012 6:05 AM

Hmmmm....seems my long post about various gifts I've received and my thoughts on them isn't here. Browser failure, I'm guessing.

Slacky....I think the general rule applies: If you're looking forward to playing with the gift more than the recipient is...it's the wrong gift. Buy him some fluffy pink slippers - he'll love 'em

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#27

Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/10/2012 2:21 PM

They can shut down the LHC now. I have discovered the Higgs Boson, which gives matter its mass, occurs naturally in chocolate.

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#28

Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/11/2012 8:25 PM

Sheesh. I thought this blog was about the thing I love: chocolate.

HUSH or Chelsey, you wrote "Interestingly, the need for love and belonging can supersede the previous steps in the hierarchy once it is achieved, as evidenced by when people remain with abusive partners."

I disagree. Take a closer look at that pyramid. The abused person is stuck at the second level: until physical safety is attained, none of the others can be achieved. What is this pyramid, is it structurally sound or not? I expect a metaphor on CR4 to be able to support the weight of its assumptions.. If not, bring forth the engineers to design a more sustainable structure!!

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#30

Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/13/2012 5:36 AM

Near-duplicate thread alarm!

http://cr4.globalspec.com/thread/17123

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#32
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Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/13/2012 8:09 AM

Brilliant ! Thank you Pdubs, I have been trying to recall that thread for so long. I'll mark my self OT, in order to comply with current rules.

As the tag say's, BBT. Meantime, just rollback and have a nice week. It's never too late .

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#33
In reply to #30

Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/13/2012 9:27 AM

Oh yum!!! Now I'm starving!

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#34
In reply to #33

Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/13/2012 9:32 AM

Oooops! Sorry.

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#35
In reply to #34

Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/13/2012 11:04 AM

ROFLMAO!!!

Boot's on the other foot this time!

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#36

Re: As Comes Valentine's Day, There Goes Chocolate

02/14/2012 3:58 AM

And if all that choclate has left you feeling "sweeted-out", here's an antidote.

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