Oh, good grief! I just read this headline in the paper, “Chemical signal in women’s tears a turnoff for men.” As if hub-Russ needed any more encouragement to back-up his predictable ignoring me whenever I do cry. Of course, he also ignores me when I speak. Come to think of it, he just plain ignores me—most of the time.
I know that great strides are being made in the world of medicine. Every day, scientists in lab coats and goggles pour smoking liquid into test tubes, hem and haw, hit a few computer buttons, then stand back and exclaim, “Aha! One step closer to a cure for cancer.” Seriously, I WISH that would happen. That’s what they should be studying! But what I didn’t know was that scientists in Israel and—yes, right here in the U.S. at Johns Hopkins, are studying how men’s testosterone level decreases with women’s tears of sadness. This also explains why Russell grimaced, balled up his fists and looked up at the ceiling when Katie was born—even though my tears were tears of joy. Though to hear him tell it, he did the birthing.
What’s even worse is that this WAS a scientific, medical study. Now for some crazy reason, most of my family thinks I’m close to being a doctor, though I am equivocally NOT! Just because I was once a dental hygienist and then a medical transcriptionist, they’re always quizzing me for a diagnosis. Lindsay, my beautiful and healthy, though anxious niece, will call me from D.C. and say, “Aunt Ann, I’ve had this buzzing in my ears for an hour now. What do you think it is?” I love to tease her and say, “Well, are you standing near a beehive?”
But aren’t we Ipocks lucky? Because, hey, hey! Katie is now in school, studying to be a nurse. I can’t decide if I’m jealous or relieved when someone in my family asks her about a rash on their arm. At least now I can retire as head / not-so / medical scholar. But back to this “women’s tears turn off men.”
It does explain some of the reactions I’ve had from Russell over the years: Like when I wanted that red Mitsubishi Eclipse on my 40th mid-year, mid-life crisis. Dang! If I hadn’t cried, I’d probably be rolling down the highway right now in that gorgeous and so-perfect-for-me sports car.
The article also states that neurobiologist Noma Sabel of The Weizmann Institute of Science, (ahm, I’m sorry, but did this article really say ‘Wise-man’?—that’s part of the problem, it should’ve been ‘Wise-woman’), says that women’s tears send a signal as the man gets close enough to sniff them—even though there is no discernible odor. But, get this: They go on to ACTUALLY make some sense when they change the subject and say: of course, they haven’t yet, ahm, well, quite studied the men’s tears to see if they have a similar effect. You won’t believe the reason they quoted, but I’ll tell you anyway: “It’s hard to get men to volunteer to cry.” Do you think? I say just show him his wife’s receipts from Christmas shopping at Macy’s.
They did all kinds of experiments at the Wise-man Institute. In one of them, they collected real tears from women who had watched a sad movie (stereotype!) and then they collected only saline drops. Next, they gave the men women’s photographs (probably in bikinis, stereotype!) to view. When they sniffed the real tears compared to the fake tears, the men found the women less sexually attractive. Oh, I know where this is going, but I can’t print it in a family-friendly newspaper. Plus, they found actual tears did NOT make the men empathetic. Well, duh! Were the men ever empathetic in the first place? I’m talking, as a gender here, all men, everywhere.
Dr. Esen Akpek of Johns Hopkins University’s Wilmer Eye Institute commented on the whole thing, saying quite succinctly: “We have never looked at tears in this way before. This is really interesting.” Hmmmmm….Is THAT all she could say? She was probably tearing up at the thought of her sad future with her mate—what, with all these new implications?
The final paragraph says it all: “For now his [Sobel’s] findings suggest ‘the signal is serving to time sexual behavior. It is a signal that allows its users to say, ‘Now is not the right time.’ I predict there are other signals that say, ‘Now it is,’ Sobel said. ‘This is just one of the many chemosignals.’”
So, listen up, women: the next time you want a favor from hubby, be it, a vacation, jewelry or just dinner and a movie out, be happy, even if he pooh-poohs your ideas! Do not tear up, do not act rejected, do not under any circumstances, cry! Be happy. He just might change his mind.