I read about pheromones recently. In case you didn’t know, they are these little chemical messengers that apparently have a lot to do with who we are attracted to and who is attracted to us. Apparently pheromones help human beings choose other human beings for mating who make biological sense when it comes to offspring. Even more interesting, they found that the influence of pheromones wears off after approximately two years. This, scientists thought, might explain the infamous “honeymoon phase” that doesn’t seem to last for more than two years or so.
I had heard this before from a friend or the internet or something. The study popped up again on the internet recently, and not being afraid to fall out of love at all, I clicked on the study and read about it all over again. And then the topic of pheromones popped up again in a conversation at work with a customer. I had inevitably told a customer I was in love when they asked me why I had such a big smile on my face. “Don’t make any big decisions yet,” he warned. “It takes two years for the honeymoon phase to evaporate so you can see who he really is.” Then he thanked me for the coffee and walked out the door.
Dave and I have been together for eight months now. (That means we have approximately 1 year and 4 months left of this romance according to pheromone scientist theories.) My feelings for him have only grown since we first met on our blind date. If I had to describe my feelings for him in one word, right now, it would be “depth.” How I feel about Dave comes from a more mature Jade. It's a grounded feeling that I wasn’t actually capable of feeling even just a couple of years ago. As much as he is handsome, he is dependable. As much as he is clever, he is caring. As much as he is brave, he is understanding. Sometimes when I'm with him, just there being around him, I feel these strange feelings that start in my stomach and climb into my chest. I feel such a strong injection of overwhelming emotion I sometimes forget to blink or even breathe. It's as if loving the man whose hand is resting on my knee is even more involuntary than the simple functions of my body that keep me alive.
Is this real? Is love real?
Or are these just the pheromones?
Are the scientists right?
Is what i’m feeling just an incredibly strong biological, animalistic, primal instinct that is so strong my breath disappears... and still somehow it will simply subside after the 2 years of “Mate or Fade” pass?
Just the other day, Dave and I went for a walk. Walking beside him is one of my favorite things. (And maybe that last sentence makes it seem like walking next to him is a fun hobby that I like to partake in to pass the time. But No. It is one of my favorite things. In the world. Without a doubt.)
He always takes my hand and we alternate hand-holding techniques. He’s the first man I’ve held hands with that likes taking my set of fingers in his set of fingers, as if we were wearing invisible mittens. I like that way because it makes me feel like we’re kids, just hanging on and skipping about like bears in the woods. Sometimes we interlace fingers. This is good because this is what all of the other couples do. Sometimes I wrap my hands around his one. I chuckle quietly to myself thinking, “Mwah, ha ha you’re mine, mine, mine! All mine!” (Never out loud though of course. I don't want to give the man a panic attack just yet.) Other times he wraps his arm around my waist. This is good too because I feel like I belong, and no, calm down, it’s not some weird possessive shit, it’s just nice feeling like, hey, this is where I’m supposed to be, with who i’m supposed to be with, in just the supposed-to-be way. And then sometimes I turn and use two hands to wrap around his upper arm. This is when I am trying to sneak peeks at him, look at how handsome he is, and secretly adore him while he talks about what’s new in politics (his favorite topic of all-time).
Apart from keeping up with the giant steps he takes with his long legs, that's really the one challenging thing about walking next to him. When we walk side by side, sometimes I can't look up at him when I feel like it. While strolling on the sidewalk, sometimes I turn and look up to see his face because it has been too long since I last saw the tan in his skin, the point of his nose, the reflecting light of his glasses, and the darting green speckles in his eyes. I like to see him look away with that sly smile, the smile one would only know was there if one paid close enough attention. But walking side by side, sometimes it’s hard to turn my neck so sharp. Sometimes it’s hard to look for those little smiles of his when I need to be looking for the curb to take me from pavement to concrete. And that makes me sad, because what if the desire to see him just as he is leaves me in two years? What if his desire to walk next to me is something he won't even remember having three, four years from now?
Anyway, it was on one of these walks while I listened to him to talk about the untimely firing of Comey and Spicer’s briefings coming from “among” the hedges when I tried to casually close the topic of all things Trump and bring up pheromones. I started with it casually, clumsily… “ Yeah, Trump's crazy. So anyway, I read about pheromones recently. . . They’re these little chemical messengers of attraction…”
He listened without interrupting. (A talent not many in this world have mastered.)
After I blurted out my entire pitch, he walked quietly beside me. I knew that he wasnt't moving on from the conversation (like I might be guilty of doing from time to time) because I know that he likes to process things in his own snail-like way, and my big rants usually take longer to process than other things he is tasked to absorb throughout the day. I know this. But I started to imagine him admitting that riding the pheromone wave for the next 1 year and 4 months was really all he was hoping to get out of this relationship. I can't wait for that confession. I'm too impatient.
“WELL? What do you think?” I say. It's obvious i've given up on trying to act casual.
He stops walking, lets go of my hand, and looks at me for a few seconds. He understands that I’m no longer able to wait for him to process everything, but that’s okay because he already has:
“I don’t give a damn about the pheromones,” he says.
“You don’t?” I gasp.
“Babe, it’s not the pheromones that matter. It’s the effort.”
Then he takes my hand and we continue walking until the end of the corner where he wraps his arm around my waist, and I feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be, with who i’m supposed to be with, in just the supposed-to-be way all the way home.