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Hershey's is more than just a kiss

April 19, 2007|by TIM ROWLAND

Commentary

A kiss is just a kiss, but a Milk Dud is nirvana.

Somehow, that didn't come out as poetically as intended. But what are you supposed to do when the quintessential expression of affection loses out to a food product?

This situation was brought to the fore by an alarming news story this week in the London press. Neurophysiologists hooked electrodes up to the hearts and heads of a number of young couples and had them: 1. Kiss, and 2. Eat a hunk of dark chocolate.

The results were clear. In every single volunteer, save one, the chocolate induced a greater and lengthier neurological rush than the smooch.

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So what are we supposed to do now, hang mistletoe over a Snickers?

Seemingly, this is a pretty dark day for romance. The heart conquers all. All, that is, except for the large intestine. Women's love affair with chocolate is well-documented and we were aware that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. But still, this is a pretty grim assessment.

Especially for us guys. If we're going to have to fall back on our culinary expertise to land a chick, this could be a long, cold highway to hitch. I'm not saying I'm a bad cook, but when I give the leftovers to the dog, he doesn't know whether to eat it or roll in it.

So naturally, it's in my best interests to try to poke holes in this particular study. For starters, it's just a bizarre scenario to examine.

This has to be the kind of test that comes about when scientists sit around getting drunk on a Tuesday afternoon. Drambuie and federal grants are a dangerous mix.

I'm suspicious of the results for other reasons as well. The news story says that, "The volunteers, all in their 20s, took part in the experiment in an area designed to look like a place of work to create the impression of an office romance."

I know this is a matter of personal preference, but all things being equal, my work station is not where I'm at my Casanova best. I mean, what, exactly, is supposed to put me in the mood, the newsroom's "Telephone Extensions List," or a coworker's pinup of a recent Chuck E. Cheese birthday bash? I don't know about your office, but mine doesn't have mirrored ceilings, if you know what I'm saying.

And it bears out according to the study, which indicates, "at the point chocolate melts in the mouth, all regions of the brain receive a boost far more intense and longer lasting than the excitement produced by kissing."

Former Sussex University academic Dr. David Lewis concluded: "There is no doubt that chocolate beats kissing hands down when it comes to providing a long-lasting body and brain buzz - a buzz that, in many cases, lasted four times as long as the most passionate kiss."

All right, but exactly how much passion can you gin up when she's got a fistful of wires snaking out of her dome like some primordial porcupine? Dude doesn't know whether he's kissing a girl or a DVD recorder.

"Hello darling - I love what you've done with your electrodes."

Call me old fashioned if you must, but there's something about being hooked up to a computer monitor with Professor Frink hovering stage left that doesn't suggest eternal bliss.

They couldn't have made this thing less romantic if they'd put her in a grade-school cafeteria with a hair net. Although I suppose you could argue that guys are notorious for not being too scrupulous about the digs. Boy meets girl and traditionally that quadrant of a man's brain that is appreciative of the ambiance instantly shears a pin.

Women, on the other hand, are bound to be smug about the results. See? We don't need a man, just give us a smooth and silky truffle and we will be just ducky.

Fine. Go ahead and betroth yourself to a Three Musketeers for all I care. Good luck getting them to take out the garbage.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324 or via e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com. You can listen to his podcast, The Rowland Rant, on www.antpod.com.

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