07 October 2015

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Thoughts on Falling in Love and Twenty Again

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on October 07, 2015
Who remembers what it feels like to fall in love? I do - cause I often fall in love again, with my husband and my daughter, but also with certain actors (*wink, wink*). And while I would of course NEVER compare those loves, falling in love of any kind is a wonderful, wonderful thing … unless your love is tragic, cannot be, or is unrequited. Love can also make you suffer like hell, but that's a topic for another time. Today, we're talking about falling in love.
I remember it. Vaguely, like a prehistoric memory lodged in my pea-sized dinosaur brain...
I remember falling in love with Jaehyo. Does that count?

KDrama falling-in-loves are usually simple and often follow the same kind of patterns. Often, fate has her hands in it (and we all know she can be a real bithc). Man meets woman, often under bad circumstances. Hence, dislike is established … but it never really is dislike, is it. Secretly, they’re already kinda interested in each other. After that, they meet all the time and like each other less and less … on the surface. Deep down, they’re already falling for each other.
Why do you think it is that KDrama loves to show it that way? I know that a fiery relationship with lots of verbal sparring can often mean something really spicy in bed, too, but too often, what they show us is really a process of breaking down two animals, like a horse tamed to be ridden.
I have no idea why we have to see it this way again and again. Anyone? 
Because the characters are not having sex, this constant sparring is a substitute. 
Often, the lovers need to be helped along by bringing them into close proximity. Well-loved tricks for that are: a) Falling on top of each other, sometimes even accidentally falling on each other’s lips. b) Having hero and heroine go to a remote place for x-reason and then getting stranded there. c) Make hero or heroine get wet and get ill - the other part will care for him/her. After that, it usually does not take too long for the love to fully blossom … a kiss, and downhill from there, as we go into the angst phase.
I loathe the accidental fall. It's so stupid and so not going to ever happen. Oh, accidental falls happen, but lips don't magically join as a result. Stranded? Okay... sure, maybe sitting up all night talking without the distraction of others, sure, that can break down barriers. And there's something about talking in the dark, it makes you open up. The taking care of bit... hmm. Shortly after I met the man who would become my ex-husband, I had oral surgery. It didn't go well, and as the new female in the dorm, I received a lot of solicitious attention from a few of the guys (there were only 6 women in the unit, so of course we got lots of attention!) while I was recuperating. He was kind, caring, thoughtful - it impressed me. It didn't make me fall in love, but it did get him a date once I could talk without wincing.
The one accidental lip touch that seemed even remotely feasible, and if it happened, both parties would be moaning from getting hit in the mouth, not all, woah, accidental kiss, was in Noble My Love.  Other than that, totally stupid idea.
Anyway, Twenty Again is different in how it tells its love story (thankfully). We have one person that was in love and got his heart stomped on (Cha Hyun-Suk) and two people out of love. Then, Hyun-Suk falls back into love and when she finally finds her way back to herself, she begins to fall for him too. Granted, the drama had to use a few “old” tricks to get her to realize it … like falling on top of him and spending the night next to him. (Gahhhh, I can't even write that without starting to sweat!!!) But it works for me because it's so innocent and childish, which totally fits Ha No-Ra's character.
We joke a lot about how unrealistically KDrama portrays adult relationships, but I'm not going to lie - there is a sweetness that is incomparable in those tender days before sex clouds your brain. I don't actually mind at all that they linger on the more innocent side of things for a while.
It's why I like kdramas. They show what dating can be and should be. Seriously, where are the men who will court and date?
Psychologists have shown that it takes between 90 seconds and 4 minutes to decide if you fancy someone. I completely agree with that. Instant like or dislike - or more than like if the other person is interesting in a specific kind of way. But some people are not good at reading their own feelings (and both Cha Hyun-Suk and Ha No-Ra are among them). I have a little something for them here - a guide to love (parts from here).
You're talking specifically about romantic/sexual interest, right? I'd agree with that. I can recall the moment I first laid eyes on any man of significance to me, and it was always the same: they stood out, as if in high definition. The air shifted, somehow. In each case, I knew immediately that they would have a place in my life.
I'd agree with the 90 seconds to 4 minutes thing. Even with friends, usually, in person, we've liked the look of each other first, and those friendships have lasted years.
Helen Fisher of Rutgers University has proposed 3 stages of love – lust, attraction and attachment. Each stage is driven by different hormones and chemicals. Yes, how romantic. But it's okay, once you start to embrace your hormones and what they do with you, life gets so much better.
We are animals, before all else.

Stage 1: Lust

This is the first stage of love and is driven by the sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen – in both men and women. Korean in KDrama never experience this first stage, at least not on-screen. Or wait … what exactly happened when Hyun-Suk pulled her quasi on top of him and she squashed him against the door?! They both looked VERY shocked. What we also know is that No-Ra experienced this stage with Woo-Chul (disgusting!) - damn those hormones, really. And I can't look at this picture here for too long cause it will make me go right to stage 1.
The men are allowed to demonstrate lust occasionally, but only briefly, and must immediately compensate with an overabundance of cherishing.
Lust is sin in Kdrama. 
Thinking about TOP, Jaehyo, WoobieMyWuv, Kim Nam Gil, who, incidentally, was my first kdrama crush, and this cutie below. 
 

Stage 2: Attraction

This is the amazing time when you are truly love-struck and can think of little else. Scientists think that three main neurotransmitters are involved in this stage; adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin.
The initial stages of falling for someone activates your stress response, increasing your blood levels of adrenalin and cortisol. This has the charming effect that when you unexpectedly bump into your new love, you start to sweat, your heart races and your mouth goes dry. Yeah, see No-Ra trying to wave to Hyun-Suk :) and him ALL THE TIME when he sees her. This stage is fun to watch. A lot of fun.
It's a lot of fun to experience, too, especially when you know it's reciprocated.
Sob! I've never had this mutual attraction thing! Oh well, back to pics of biases. 
Once you get a bit further in your relationship and become a newly ‘love struck’ couple, you have high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in your brain. This chemical stimulates ‘desire and reward’ by triggering an intense rush of pleasure, just like cocaine! Couples often show the signs of surging dopamine: increased energy, less need for sleep or food, focused attention and exquisite delight in smallest details of this novel relationship. Hyan-Suk and No-Ra are not quite there yet … maybe next episode? But Min-Soo and his Hye-Mi definitely show signs of this. I also think this is the reason why KDrama-watching is good for you. If you're in love with, i.e. Lee Sang-yoon, and you watch a lot of him, you're basically on cocaine without any of the side-effects.
It certainly makes me smile.
I could live with watching lots of Jaehyo. Lee Sang Yoon, well, to be honest, I'm not sure if I'm enamoured of him or of Cha Hyunsuk. Either way, I like watching him.
And finally, serotonin. One of love's most important chemicals that may explain why when you’re falling in love, your new lover keeps popping into your thoughts and you're completely obsessed (like when you watch an actor's 54 episode long weekender. Just because he's in it). Also, newly smitten lovers often idealise their partner, magnifying their virtues and explaining away their flaws. New couples also exalt the relationship itself. Psychologists think we need this rose-tinted view. It makes us want to stay together to enter the next stage of love – attachment. I hope this means we're not all idealizing our KDrama actors?!
Oppa would never do anything wrong. Oppa is PERFECT.
DIMPLES FOREVER
Especially when he's leaning like that.

Stage 3: Attachment

Attachment is the bond that keeps couples together long enough for them to have and raise children. Scientists think there might be two major hormones involved in this feeling of attachment; oxytocin and vasopressin.
 
Oxytocin is a powerful hormone released by men and women during orgasm. It probably deepens the feelings of attachment and makes couples feel much closer to one another after they have had sex. Vasopressin is another important hormone in the long-term commitment stage and is released after sex. The theory goes that the more sex a couple has, the deeper their bond becomes.
That assumes good sex, with orgasms on both sides. It probably becomes less important as you build up a history of shared events and experiences, but I was only married for three years, so I'm no expert on THAT. I just know that if you set the glue right at the beginning, it will help you weather the stresses that come.
Darn it, this means getting to know someone and not watching tv.
 
Which just means you must have lots of sex to be happy, if you believe in all that hormone stuff. Sex happens in fanfiction and not in Kdrama, as we all know, but I think it's quite important for No-Ra and Hyun-Suk to know, too. Episodes 17-100: lots of sex. Damn, can't he stop to flash his dimples?! I'm lost TT______TT
I think you can be happy without lots of sex - but 'lots' is relative, too. Basically... a healthy relationship includes a physical relationship that is satisfactory to both parties, over the long term. Yay sex, though! I'm a big fan, not gonna lie.
I've always been "anti"-hormone only explanations. It's not that easy. Love is far more complex and the ability to keep loving a person over years is even more complex. Anyway, if you have the chance, try to fall in love today. It's great! DIMPLES FOREVER!  
Yay!

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