College newspapers across the country are publishing countless news reports, feature stories and columns linked to Valentine’s Day, relationships and love. Below is a set of related facts I found especially fascinating in five of those pieces — touching on everything from courtship and chocolate to “Romeo and Juliet” and romantic expectations.
1. Even the most iconic love stories are more complicated than they seem.
For example, many parts of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet are much different than what pop culture presents and what high schoolers learn. In a column for The State Press, headlined “‘Star-Crossed Lovers’ and Their Lies,” Arizona State University student Ashley Mentzer lays out a number of differences.
For example, as she writes, “Many of my students [in a high school class she helps teach] are looking forward to the famous balcony scene, yet don’t know that the scene is filled with mistrust. The two lovers have barely been introduced and are in no way prepared to marry. Romeo and Juliet are often referred to as ‘young lovers’ in the play. Young is an understatement in this case. Juliet is only 13 years old when she meets Romeo… A ninth grade education tells you that Romeo’s undying (tee hee) love for Juliet begins when the curtains are lifted. The actual origin of Romeo’s lovesickness begins with Rosaline, a member of the Capulet family he has never actually seen.”
2. Whales apparently express a range of human emotions, including love.
As Kansas University freshman Jenny Stern shares in The University Daily Kansan, “Whales know how to love. Patrick Hof and Estel Van Der Gucht of the New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology discovered the presence of spindle cells in humpback whales, fin whales, killer whales, and sperm whales. Based on the human experience of these cells, this discovery suggests that whales are capable of experiencing love as well as deep-rooted emotional suffering.”
3) Want a romantic Valentine’s Day? Lower your expectations.
Interestingly, while sporting a Facebook “single” status is often cited as the toughest V-Day stigma, being in love may also hurt your chances for a happy holiday.
As a University of Louisville communications professor is paraphrased telling The Louisville Cardinal, “[C]ouples are not better off than singles on Valentine’s Day because of the high expectations of partners to create a fairytale. The chocolates, roses, romantic dinner, and even the night in bed are expected to be the best in the year.”
4. Yes, chocolate is a mind-altering substance.
As The Daily Campus at Southern Methodist University confirms in a Valentine’s Day story, “Chocolate has been scientifically proven to have mood-enhancing properties credited to several drug-like chemicals that have nicknamed chocolate ‘the love drug.’ Chocolate contains over 300 compounds that affect the brain to create many of the same sensations associated with love. These compounds stimulate the mind and promote feelings of happiness, while reducing stress and pain.”
5. Most of our modern courtship rituals evolved from monkeys and other animals of the trees.
In a compelling Q&A run in City on a Hill Press, University of California-Santa Cruz visiting assistant anthropology professor Julie Teichroeb shares, “[M]ales will do anything in order to win out in courtship — which sometimes means just fighting it out with other males, or sometimes means wooing the female. In a lot of animals, like birds, they use dances and struts and displays and things like that. You could argue that we have some of that, but a lot of wooing in humans is more about gift-giving, like nuptial gifts.”
Powered by Facebook Comments