where the writers are
Spray him!
bear-ad.jpg

Ah, isn’t this what women have been looking for - men who know how to cuddle rather than fumble?

It apparently won’t come naturally to these alpha guys, so we need to resort to some assistance. Not only will it make men do the bear hug, but also transform them into tear-jerking, diaper-changing, momma’s little helpers.

I had no idea it was oxytocin that made me such a bundle of agony and occasional joy. It turns out that it is a chemical coursing through the female body and makes women ooze with the milk of human kindness. It has been named, rather disingenuously, the “cuddle chemical”. If you are into more than cuddles, then your hormones are acting a bit frisky and if you do the occasional bitching, then, boy, bile has entered into that embracing zone to embarrass you.

Anyhow, scientists from Cambridge and Germany got hold of two dozen healthy males and gave them nasal sprays with this chemical. Another batch was given placebos. Please note that a lot of things can get triggered through the nose. Now, here is what happened:

  • Afterwards the men were shown heart-wrenching photos, including a little girl in tears, a child embracing a cat and a man in mourning, and asked them to describe the level of empathy they felt with those in the pictures. Their reactions were compared with those of men who hadn’t received the spray. The oxytocin group showed significantly higher emotional empathy levels than those men who had taken the placebo.

Besides being healthy, what other parameters were checked? Isn’t it possible that some in the chemical group were already more sensitive and those in the placebo group could have been less sensitive anyway? This is such an archetypal sample of healthy as is the idea of empathy. Despite all the oxytocin in my system, I would find a child embracing a cat cute and nothing more. As for the weeping girl, it would depend on what the girl was in tears for – a lost toy, a disaster, a tantrum?

One of the team members said, “For many women, you could say it would almost be a godsend to make a man more empathetic and more like them. On the other hand, I am not sure they are used to having men that empathetic.”

I do not know of many women who would like men to be like them or want to be like men. Empathy, as I have shown, differs depending on context and one’s individual baggage as well as the environment. Some cultures are less expressive than others; some families ingrain a certain holding back as important aspects of socially acceptable behaviour; some people grow up to discover paths where they fall a few times and they cannot forget those falls.

If the scientists wished to see if men could be like women then, instead of the placebo group, they should have included women in their research. It would give a more real result.

Incidentally, I wonder why there was no discussion about another aspect of the chemical that is “a hormone naturally made in the body and involved in sex, sexual attraction, trust and confidence.”

Did these men feel more sexually tuned in? Did they appear more confident?

Why the need to tout the making of the sensitive male? I can smell some product promos on the way. Where’s my nasal spray? Here, give me a hug...sniffles...

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The image if from a Starbucks ad