I have stumbled upon a hormone. This hormone regulates emotions that makes a human act human. This hormone got Donald Trump elected. This hormone causes you to fall in love against your will. This is the Darwinian hormone; all about the preservation of the species. It is named Oxytocin.
“Oxytocin?” I hear you ask. “Isn’t that the maternity drug?”
Well, yes. Pregnancy and contractions and birth and breast milk and parent/child bonding is a cornucopia of Oxytocin. It’s thick in the blood, on the nipples, the brain, the penises and pussies. It’s partying hard and goes to bed wet.
“Oxytocin?” I hear others of you ask. “Isn’t that the love hormone?”
Yes, that too. Which is how I discovered it.
I lay abed the last several nights or years wondering why love doesn’t last. I mean the fluttery love, the starry, floaty, shiny-eyed, dancing-on-clouds love. Euphoric love.
So I googled.
And found the answer. It lurks right here in my hypothalamus, bless its cotton socks. Oxytocin lies in wait until something triggers it (a grin, a hug, a rockhard erection), then your pituitary releases the hormone throughout your body. And you obey everything it tells you to do. Because you feel great.
It manifests when you and another human are sexually attracted to each other and spend your time kissing and hugging and rubbing, nibbling and licking and sniffing everything, Oxytocin permeates your pudenda.
* * *
The day I met my second husband IRL we wandered, bewitched, through Coronado. We had cofffee and he spilled his all over me and I thought it was so hilarious. He walked me to my car. He looked deep into my eyes. He said, “I just have to kiss you.”
I was a dead duck.
We kissed, immersed in happiness.
When he asked me to marry him, I was in Manhattan on a book tour. So was my friend Lily, she was also engaged I think. Anyway we were both dancing three feet above the sidewalk, giggling, hugging. Jesus, the ecstacy! Oxytocin squared.
Admit you’ve been there.
The Oxytocin high lasts about six months. And then it’s your ass. But it can come around again and again. It is love. Among other things.
One other thing is that Oxytocin increases your level of trust. It makes you believe in people and lend them money. It urges you to bond at the drop of a wink. At weddings, the bride’s Oxytocin levels shoot up about 28%. Her mother’s goes up 24%. It seeps into the guests, too. Oxytocin rewards us with bliss the more intensely we bond with one another.
Okay, so I bought him a car. He needed one. His happiness was my happiness. I married him.
Then he wanted to merge our finances. He had none, I had some. He wanted clothes. He wanted, he wanted. He shouted. He lied. He kept me away from my friends. That was his big mistake. Oxytocin frowns on taking your friends away.
My creepy marriage was not all Oxytocin’s fault. Although it assiduously promotes pair bonding, Oxytocin doesn’t take us by the hand and lead us straight to the only heroin addict at the party.
(But, if our parents show us no love, our Oxytocin receptors are crippled. We need the love bad but we can’t take it in. I virtually married my own mother.)
Oxytocin enables us to read emotional facial expressions. It enhances the eye gaze. Makes it harder to recognize people of other races than our own.
It causes us to form groups. We are intensely loyal to our own group. We will lie to protect others in our group. Our group, right or wrong. And fuck the other group.
Chimps do that. And they kill the outsider chimps.
Here comes Donald Trump!
Remember his rallies? A small angry white guy, looking for all the world like a furious chimp, pranced and preened high above the crowd?
Then some large white man in the audience would throw his head back and advance toward an other-colored guy, and BAM! punch him in the face. The crowd, whipped up on Oxytocin, roared.
“Aw, get him the hell out of here!” Donald would yell genially. And the other-colored would be dumped outside in the middle of the protestors.
Remember “Hang the bitch!”
(Note: Oxytocin works differently on males and females)
Remember your own hate?
Wikipedia; A study done in the Netherlands showed that oxytocin increased the in-group favoritism of their nation while decreasing acceptance of members of other ethnicities and foreigners. People also show more affection for their country’s flag while remaining indifferent to other cultural objects when exposed to oxytocin.
Oxytocin encourages xenophobia. Gang war. Religious war.
Kill the infidels!
* * *
Dear Charles Darwin or God.
Won’t you help?
Oxytocin was perfect for the stone age.
But we really need Oxytocin 2.0 where we are all in the group. Otherwise we’ll destroy ourselves and, um. the earth.
Assalam alaikum! = Shalom aleikhem!
Cynthia Heimel is a humorist who writes books, columns, and plays. She wrote a Village Voice Column for seventeen years, and did a feminist column for Playboy Magazine (!!). Her seven books include, “Sex Tips for Girls” and “If You Can’t Live Without Me, Why Aren’t You Dead Yet?” She was a contributing editor for Vogue, New York Magazine and Los Angeles Magazine. Her play, “A Girl’s Guide to Chaos,” has been an international success.