WikiWhat? Oxytocin? LOVE IS A LIE?

WikiWhatPicture this: a frantic biology student searches through Wikipedia for better explanations of the concepts sure to be on Wednesday’s midterm. Of course, Wikipedia is already a questionable method of studying … both for its spotty information and because we all know that one thing leads to another and we somehow end up checking celebrities’ pages for their birthdays and discographies. This time around, I came across something that could debunk love as we know it: oxytocin.

Sure, you might be claiming that love is in the air this Valentine’s Day. I am, however, quite excited to burst your bubble of happiness in telling you that it’s not your heart telling you that you’re in love — it’s your brain. Oxytocin is a hormone secreted from the pituitary gland that serves various purposes in your body. In several scenarios, oxytocin is found at high levels during sexual activity, breastfeeding, and right before birth in the mother’s body. What’s more interesting is that oxytocin induces feelings of security and calmness around your significant other. It reduces fear, and there also exists a positive correlation between oxytocin levels and measuring romantic attachment. A study even showed that when couples are separated, oxytocin comes to the rescue by alleviating sentiments of anxiety. It even allegedly keeps men faithful!

Yes, yes, I know that just because there exists a strong correlation between romance and oxytocin, that does not imply that oxytocin causes romance, when it could very much be the opposite. However, given that Valentine’s Day is around the corner, I will take any opportunity I can to rain on that parade.

So, the next time your special person tells you they have “love” for you in their heart, know this: That ain’t love — that’s oxytocin!

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

Valentine’s Day: Single Style

Take a moment from reading this blog post and freeze. Stop whatever you’re doing and just sniff the air in front of you. What do you smell? Love? Happiness? Chocolates? Now, what do you see? Was that Cupid just buzzing by? Did you just get hit by some little flickering hearts? Is Celine Dion singing a ballad that gently tugs at your heartstrings? Do you feel the love? Want some Candy Hearts? Will you be my Valentine?

If your answer is no to these questions, this post is for you. Here are the “Top Five Things to Do on Valentine’s Day if You’re Angry, Bitter and/or Most Importantly, Single”:

5. Get drunk and sit on John Carroll’s lap Don’t have a date for this year’s V-Day? Neither does Johnny-boy! John Carroll is faithful and committed, and you know exactly where to find him. He’s smart, sturdy and above all, loves it when people sit on his lap …

4. Crash the Interhall Housing Mixers I know you’ve seen the fliers. These events might be for people without roommates, but they’re also perfect for people without Valentine’s Day dates. So if you’re single and ready mingle, get dressed up and bring your A-Game. Or your C+ Game? Or look for a roommate? I don’t know.

3. Have a date with yourself That’s right. Stay in your room. Don’t wear pants. Eat three tubs of Ben & Jerry’s. Cry a little bit. Stop crying. Watch your favorite movies. Eat your feelings some more. Just celebrate being you.

2. Go to Cafe Milano and wait for a celebrity to come and get you I’m dead serious, though. Bradley Cooper was just there. George Clooney is always there. Every celebrity on Earth goes there. Basically, if you go to Cafe Milano, you will fall in love with an A-list star. It’s like waiting for a knight in shining armor, but instead of being locked in a castle, you’re being pampered and eating a veal chop.

1. Don’t do anything at all Be a normal person. Stop getting so caught up over Valentine’s Day and just treat it like Thursday. As in, Thirsty Thursday. As in, you know what that means

Photo: MissIndependentMind

Tips for a Lonely Heart

by Martin Hussey

Happy Valentine’s Day, lonely hearts of Georgetown. Welcome to the one day each year that seems destined to make all of the otherwise happy single people pine for any taste of a relationship in our lives. Even for the most content of the single people, Valentine’s Day often seems like a struggle. Yesterday, 4E profiled a few last minute Valentine’s ideas for those of us with dates, but today, I write to everybody else. I write to the single ladies and the lonely boys. Here’s a list of things you can do to make your Valentine’s Day less lonely, whether you want to completely forget about the romantic holiday or embrace it.

Commiserate with others For those over 21, there are a couple of anti-Valentine’s parties going on around the District. Birch & Barley/ChurchKey (1337 14th St. NW), a Logan Circle bar, is hosting one with a dozen rare beers from around the world made with pungent and spicy hops. A few blocks up 14th Street will reveal another anti-Valentine’s party at Bar Pilar (1833 14th St. NW), this time featuring break-up songs, bitter drinks and sour desserts.

Continue reading “Tips for a Lonely Heart”

Cupcakes for Your Sweetheart

by Bethany Imondi

It seems that everyone has a love/hate relationship with Valentine’s Day. When you’re a part of a couple, February 14th is another cause for celebration with your favorite person. Whether it be celebrated with a fancy restaurant dinner, watching romantic comedies or receiving teddy bears and rose bouquets, the holiday is beloved by those in pairs. For singletons, though, the day might as well be called “Singles’ Awareness Day.”

But regardless of the differences in feelings about Valentine’s Day, there really is no contest when it comes to the holiday’s sweets. Conversation hearts and anything chocolate-related are as iconic of the day as is Cupid. But while a box of candy or chocolate hearts are the typical go-to treats, the District’s plethora of cupcakeries affords another way to satisfy any sweet tooth. Whether you celebrate today with someone special or looking for a way to celebrate yourself, here’s a roundup of local cupcake shops and their Valentine’s Day specials.

Continue reading “Cupcakes for Your Sweetheart”

Last Minute Valentine

by Michelle Cassidy

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. While some hyperorganized couples have had plans set since Christmas break, there are plenty of people scrambling to pull together a romantic Tuesday evening at the last minute. Lucky for you, 4E is here to help. We’ve assembled some last minute Valentine’s Day suggestions that will make it look like you’ve been planning for weeks, instead of 24 hours before the big day.

Take it Outside The forecast for tomorrow calls for warmer weather than we’ve had for the last couple days, so how about a romantic picnic? Pack a blanket, some snacks and some hot chocolate (or champagne) and find somewhere private. Head up to the Observatory garden or down to the waterfront and set up camp. Be sure to bring an umbrella in case of rain, or be prepared to recreate a famous romantic moment.

Top Chef It may be too late to get a reservation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t share a delicious dinner. Get yourself up to Safeway and grab ingredients for a dinner for two. Even if you’re not a skilled cook, it’s the thought that counts! And it’s a much better alternative to a Leo’s date.

Movie Night Get a selection of romantic movies and some popcorn, and spend the night in. Movies like Casablanca, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Titanic and The Princess Bride are all great options (but there are tons more out there).

Head Downtown There are plenty of date-appropriate spots downtown (and no, we’re not necessarily talking about the monuments). The Botanic Garden has a permanent rose exhibit, perfect for February 14th. If flowers aren’t your thing, the ice rink in the Sculpture Garden is still open too.

An Old Standby There’s a reason that flowers and chocolate are the traditional Valentine’s Day gift. Head down to Dean & Deluca on M Street to pick up a bouquet of fresh flowers and some fancy chocolates. If that’s a little pricey for you, Safeway also has a nice selection of both.

Photo: washingtonpost.com