Love Is An Action

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ToothpasteonbrushThis column, That Nature Show, is about the nature right under your nose: in our backyards, playgrounds and parks!  Stop and look around, you’ll be amazed at what surrounds you.

Intrigued by one of this week’s most emailed stories in the The New York Times, To Fall In Love With Anyone, Do This, which would really have been a boon to me 30 years ago in high school when I liked this boy named N. and he didn’t know I existed, I decided to stare into Husb.’s eyes for the recommended four minutes and, during those four minutes, telepathically implore him this Valentine’s Day (less than a month away!) to buy me chocolates. Something fancy.

Love is an action, scientists are finding.  There are things you can do to increase it, like working through this list of questions together which includes, “Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?” The answer is obviously John Malkovitch.  Also, an Iranian couple featured in This American Life‘s “Reunited” episode really benefitted from the man’s close reading of John Gray’s Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.

Active listening. People, this is not rocket science. Well, maybe it is. Love is one of the hardest activities, the 7 Minute Workout that’s been so popular is a piece of cake.

And, yes, staring into each other’s eyes — those limpid soulful pools that are the subject of so much purple poetry where happy little bluebirds sing and the laundry pile disappears into strawberry fields forever  —  in hard, cold, scientific truth actually are the windows to greater intimacy. The Times article’s author Mandy Len Catron said, “Two minutes [of staring] is just enough to be terrified. Four really goes somewhere.”

Susanna Wolff, in a humorous rebuttal in The New Yorker suggested that to further increase intimacy couples should share a tube of toothpaste. Question 30, which I personally have uttered is, “Why are you not squeezing from the bottom? Are you a monster?”

However, I am here to preach.  Those four minutes of gazing really did something for me. Husb. is so cute! I hardly ever take the time to take that in, kvetching as I am, or corralling him into buying me chocolate like he’s a herd animal. Love is an action, so today I’m going to squeeze toothpaste onto his UltraSonic Spin Brush, ready it for him, a little gesture, a very small romance.







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