Andromeda’s Vortex

Of oxytocin, fidelity and charlatans

By Atty. Farah G. Decano


SOME say that Valentine’s Day is a brilliant business concept that pry on couples’ gullibility. Flower shops, restaurants and hotels noticeably increase their prices around these days because of the stark increase in the demand for their product and service.  Why express great love for the other on February 14 along with other couples when it can be done some other time, perhaps on cheaper days?

But I am not going to question the manner with which we remember this day. In fact, my family has joined this Valentine’s merriment since I was a kid. My late father usually took us to dinner in restaurants that offered shows and entertainment.  I believed in what he did that during his last years and after his death, I took charge of this familial tradition.  In fact, if not for the dreaded Covid virus, I would have taken my mother out last Sunday.  I have always seen Valentine’s as a day we show our unison with the world in celebrating what makes the world go round-love. It is the time we express our gratitude to the universe for the mere presence of those we care deeply for. Oh well, thanks to my parents, I have always seen this so-called Hearts’ Day in a positive light.  I will not cure my “diabetes” for love with any kind of bitterness.

So, what about love that makes the world go round again? Humor makes me want to reduce it to oxytocin. The enzymes, produced in our bodies, are found in elevated levels when in new romantic attachments or when engaged in intimate activities.  It brings about euphoria that makes one addicted to the feeling.  It gives the same effect to what illegal drugs do to our bodies. We want more and more of that feeling.  Hence, lovers say to each other, “adik sa iyo.”

Oxytocin is a hormone that brings about trust between lovers. It tears down boundaries in order to let the object of affection in. It is the glue that keeps romantic partners together and inspires fidelity. My theory is that the celebration of Valentine’s Day keeps these chemicals in normal levels. People in relationships should endeavor to maintain certain amounts of oxytocin in their bodies and avoid those that reduce them, like the production of cortisols or the stress hormones.

Reduction in the production of these love enzymes in their bodies leads lovers to stray and look for others who could give them again the same ecstatic feeling.  Some are always in the search for new romance because they want higher production of oxytocin.   For those who do not temper their addiction for the exhilarative effect of these chemicals, they are whom we call as people merely in love with love.

Perhaps, it is also the overproduction of oxytocin that we tend to overlook the defects of the objects of our affection.  Didn’t we wonder why a department secretary would fall for someone whose educational attainment was very much beneath her?  Don’t we squirm in disbelief whenever we see a Miss Universe caliber beauty exhibit the traits of the Perseverance Rover and lovingly kiss a Martian-faced suitor?  Why do some intellectuals believe in charlatans who promise all the stars when no one in the world owns them? Oxytocin, my dear Watson. The rapturous effect of oxytocin is the answer.

Before these love chemicals get the better of us, we must question their effects. We must not be duped by our bodies into seeing, feeling and pursuing an illusion.  The rational part of us should make us weigh the costs and benefits, how much the other person is invested in relation to ours, the good and evil unquantifiable outcomes, and the potentials of the relationship. We are not just about oxytocin. We are rational beings and, therefore, we must not allow ourselves to mere be pushovers of our own hormones.

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