Friday, February 22, 2013

tell me a tale of how it was (cont'd)

Hey guys,

So the discussion continues! This is seriously one of my favorite topics, not because of the fact we're talking about kissing/sex but how we either assume (or maybe not) that how we, as a society, approach something that we think is the "norm". And in our day to day activities we think that this is how it has always been or that our ancestors have slowly taken on these roles either due to genetics/evolution/society pressures, etc. Then someone goes ahead and analyzes us... and then we begin to question the very fibers that bind us in the fabric of our lives (ha, that commercial just popped in my head - anyone know the Zooey Deschanel/Target commercial?). So since this is a very long in depth post I decided to break it up a bit so you guys can pick parts at your leisure... I'm telling my funny story first as a way for you to get pumped for the science/nerdy stuff to follow (so be amped!).

So about 3 years ago I think, I went to the bookstore on New Years Eve day and picked up this tiny little book that had a sculpture of two people kissing titled, "The Science of Kissing". I thought it was funny so I began flipping through the pages expecting like a scientific "how-to" kiss protocol with science backing up the perfect technique. I was pleasantly surprised when I found that this was far from a cosmo/biddie reading piece. I ended up buying the book and finally after an additional 2 New Years, I finished it (I also found that in college that downtime reading does not exist fyi).

Now, since I had these thoughts judging the title of how it was a "how-to" guide... I guess I should've seen the following coming. I will tell you that this book is awesome. Sheri K. is witty and keeps your attention with funny stories and examples while weaving in the science behind it all. I will also tell you that anyone and everyone will give you a questioning look if they notice the title as you are reading. I felt like a desperate harlot after one woman at the airport just gave me this look like... "Really?". I should have done something obnoxious in return but as my friends will tell you I lack the spontaneous sass to accomplish things that would be unsavory in public. Instead I slumped in my seat and tried covering the title with my hands... which apparently are still too small despite the book only being 8 inches high. Pretty sure I resorted to curling up my legs so you couldn't see what I was reading after this young guy gave me a look which I couldn't tell was pity or like I'm an easy target. Finally, when on the actual plane I had one of the most random and humorous conversations... which is saying a lot since I have yet to continue the "my life is a joke series" which you will soon find weird ass things are common in my life.

I at first was hiding the title again to best of my ability when I had sat down next to this older gentleman. Finally I was like, eh, I want to calmly drink my coffee and I am never going to see this guy again so screw it. I also noticed he was grading papers... or it looked like it. So now I'm sure everyone has been in this situation. You  are uncomfortably close to this person and either you ignore each other the entire time or you strike a conversation which could last the flight or be sporadic. So far the only conversation we had was he told me not to forget my seat belt... which I hadn't, I hate flying and was waiting till the last second before I had to strap myself into my mental death trap of having to take off (I only hate landing and taking off... it's this weird heights over water and the possibility of the wheels snapping off at the last second - logically it's stupid and I know this but logic vs fears are not easy). So now we're up in the air and for about 10 minutes I was debating whether or not I really wanted to talk to this guy. I guess I should also mention at this point I was flying out to Michigan to meet my boyfriend's (Ethan's) family for the first time. Needless to say I was actually debating whether to distract myself with conversation with this man or spend the next 2 hours thinking of every possible bad thing that could happen in the next 10 days out there (you know, like those romantic comedy movies with the scenes of the girlfriend visiting and she makes a fool out of herself? ...Yes boys, romantic comedies do influence us girls). Anyway when I pictured like one of those scenes where the girl slips on cow dung when with the family (does anyone know what movie I'm thinking of?) I decided to ask him if he was a professor. Come to find out he was a professor at UCLA for the law school program. So it was great, I began asking him how their department works and how they look at GPA when admitting graduates, etc. Then he looks over and gives a smile, saying, "So, what are you reading?". Shit. shitshitshitshit. Why? WHY DID YOU ASK THAT? I have appeared normal for the past 15 minutes... there is no way I'm going to be able to explain to you how this is interesting and not creepy in the slightest since you have no love of science. Well, here comes the hour of awkwardness when I explain this. If you think I'm exaggerating, I'm not. The conversation was killed instantly despite me trying to smooth it over with a joke about how scientists need help even analyzing a kiss. Face palm anyone? I sank into my seat as much as possible... sipped my coffee and went back to my book and thoughts about Ethan's family. Maybe 5 minutes go by and the guy chuckles and says, "Can I please see the table of contents?" I give the book over and realize I never bothered to look at the table of contents/titles of each chapter.... I look over his should to see for myself. Here they are:

Part One: Human Origins
1. First Contact
2. Jungle Fever
3. Kiss My Past
4. Cultural Exchange

Part Two: Kissing in the Body
5.The Anatomy of a Kiss
6. Women Are from Venus, Men Are Easy
7. Scent of Man
8. Close Encounters
9. There Are Such Things as Cooties

Part Three: Great Expectations
10. This is Your Brain on Kissing
11. The Open Lab
12. The Future of Kissing
13. The Right Chemistry

.... Well then.... I'm pretty sure Part One was where my eyes bugged out of my head and felt like a deer in headlights ("I swear it's science! I swear I'm not that socially awkward that I don't know how to kiss! My boyfriend is real! I am not Amy from Big Bang Theory!!!") I winced and looked at the guy saying "It's a weird but really interesting book..." as he looked at me pitifully. The rest of the plane ride was silent for the most part, we talked about Michigan for a bit but that was all. Then right before I walked off the plane the guy stopped me and said, "A little piece of advice, if you are going to see your boyfriend, and I'm assuming you've missed him a lot, I wouldn't be reading stuff like that right before hand" and smiled that father-knows-best smile to me. So I was given relationship advice by a random law professor from Cali that in order to still be romantically attracted to my boyfriend, I should not read about the science of kissing right prior to embracing him at the drop off/pick up spot at the airport. Awesome.

So since the main focus of the New York Times article is whether it's cultural influence or evolution, I'm going to focus on chapters 3-8 mainly from the book. It covers both sides of it and I am trying to find a good paper on MHCs to cover some more science in how us humans are/or may not be programmed. Side note, anyone else got some good plane stories?


1 comment:

  1. Culture or evolution? It's gotta be a product of evolution imo. Like a tool we developed that we can use to determine whether or not someone is gonna be worth it. Not sure if that's really correct but since culture is a product of evolution anyway...