I’ve been thinking about chemistry this week. Not in the moles and noble gas kind of way, but in the bump and grind kind of way. There is magic in meeting someone and being immediately attracted to them on a cellular level, dangerous too, your panties can end up on the ceiling fan quick. This is certainly a physical attraction, but for sparks and underpants to fly, there has to be a mental, intellectual spark, too. It’s an enchantment, being completely drawn to this other person. This isn’t something you plant and wait to bloom, it’s a pheromone punch to the junk, a slow heat, a primitive rhythm, an electric awaking of synapses and psyches. It’s different than just thinking, “Oh, that person is hot”, it’s not IT, unless it’s mutual, and all reason leaves your brain and goes directly south. It’s rare. It’s unstable and delicate, and it can burn up, flame out. Oh, but when you feel it, that sweet fire between you and another, it’s undeniable. It’s a gift. Open it.
Just to be clear, what I’m talking about is more than just plain lust, although lust is certainly at the party. It’s an instant connection with another person, like recognizing someone you knew before, but have never met. It’s deja vu’ desire with a side of yin and yang. It’s more nuanced and complicated than just attraction, and less than just opening the honey pot. I’ve been wondering, how important is chemistry? Is it as sustainable as fostering a slow, low flame with someone? Chemistry manifests a different beginning in a relationship, but does it have a happily ever after somewhere down the road?
When I was 18, I met JJ, he was 23, and a student pilot in the Navy. I was too young at the time to recognize what it was when we met, but in hindsight, Lordy, it was chemistry, and I was a babe in the woods. We stood too close to each other. We whispered. JJ was my first real boyfriend, and that night was the beginning – a steamy, white-hot, unforgettable beginning. He took me home on the back of his motorcycle, of course, he had a motorcycle. My arms were wrapped around him and his hand was running up my leg, his thumb made circles just above my knee. He took me to his home. Dude. JJ taught me about sensuality. He had a photographic memory, and he would recite sonnets, whispering to me as we laid side-by-side in bed. He would wash my hair. It was very ‘Out of Africa’, without the lions. It was heady. It was love soaked. Chemistry has an accelerated start, and the word love comes to the surface quicker. There is an intensity that is the catalyst, but, I do think, the feelings are real, not mirages flickering in the heat. JJ was moving to Florida, and I was going away to college. He asked me to go with him, but I knew I needed to go to school, and he understood. Maybe it was youth, maybe it was just blowing out the flame, but it was a happy ending. We parted loving the other, no regrets, no tears. I’m not going to lie, looking back, it feels like I hit the first boyfriend lottery. Youth is wasted on the young. Had we met just four years later, I wonder what that would have looked like. I have felt this kind of chemistry with three other men, and we’ll get there, another day, another blog, but first the contrast, fostering a slow burn.
Several months ago I met a man, we’ll call him Darwin, PhD. He holds a doctorate in bioengineering. He is so fucking smart. He’s a little bit gypsy, a little mad scientist, and undeniably handsome. It wasn’t the chemistry we’ve been talking about, but I found him intriguing. No lie, our first few dates were watching ‘Jeopardy’ and cooking together. I enjoyed spending time with him, but wherever this was going, it was a lazy heat. On paper, this should have been white hot, but chemistry is a fickle pickle, it’s either there or it’s not. He’d advance, and I would retreat. I’d reconsider, trying hard to break my old patterns, and I’d advance and he would retreat. We landed in a friendly holding pattern. We stay in touch in a stalemate. He travels for work extensively, but even so, given the time and attention, I don’t know if we could breathe enough oxygen on the relationship to make a real fire. Darwin is a fascinating, good man, the fault here is mine, or maybe it’s just meant to be what it is, a friendship that could possibly sweep a Jeopardy championship, as long as Darwin is in charge of the buzzer and all the science and geography questions.
I went on a date last week, and that old creeper, Chemistry, damn near knocked me over. When my date walked in it was immediate and palpable. Hands down, the best first date ever. The second date, sigh, was pretty great, too. This is something good. There is fire here. I’m tempted to play with it. It’s better to burn out than fade away.
I don’t have any answers, obviously. I’ve talked with the girlfriends, and the opinion is split. One told me today, that chemistry IS important, it’s not something that can be synthesized. She is married to a man who has melted her butter from day one. Another friend is married to a man she wasn’t attracted to at first sight. She fell in love with the person, and then wanted the man. Chemistry can be volatile, but it can solidify into something very good, with a strong orgasm chaser, and sometimes, when things get hard, that sexual pull can build a lot of bridges. On the reverse, keeping your clothes on, and having a conversation during the hard times, builds bridges, too, maybe with a safety net. Maybe it’s just about finding your person, and finding your love language, naked or not.
Go forth and conquer.