The season of romance

Lubna Abdel-Aziz
Tuesday 26 Jul 2022

 

Can we ever in a million years get tired of summer?

Have you never been embraced by the sun’s warm rays, never smelled the waters of the sea, never felt the caress of warm sands on the beach, never tasted the fruits that only summer offers, never basked in the luxury of laziness, never gazed at the twinkling night sky? They all sing the summer song of life.

There is a sense of freedom that summer brings, not only for students, but for adults as well. A vacation is often in your plans, and even at work there is a sense of laissez-faire — a carefree mood prevails in time, habits, dress, and meals. This opens vistas to many experiences and opportunities otherwise shut all year long.

This queen of seasons does not only bestow us with every pleasure and bounty by day, but grants us nights of pure magic, with walks along the beach, ice-cream cones on the boardwalk, cuddling up under indigo skies, with stars shining as bright as the midday sun.

As it turns out, summer can be the greatest matchmaker of all time.

If only politicians could carry a pocketful of sunshine, would this not be a better world.

One more fringe benefit of summer is that it favours romance. Besides breeding mosquitoes, barbecues and laziness it is fertile ground for breeding romance, the best of summer pleasures.

Getting hot and sweaty may not seem romantic, but the heatwave can create some serious sparks where love is concerned.

Psychologists have listed many reasons as to why summer is the best chance to fall in love. The heightened sociability compared to cold winter’s reclusion promotes encounters and perchance, romance.

The clothes we wear are lighter, brighter, and more revealing. Eyes pop, triggering emotional arousal.

Biologically, summer is also viewed as an escape from everyday routines and responsibilities. In general, we all feel free, kids and parents alike.

Catherine Sanderson of Amherst College, Massachusetts believes “People are free to engage in romantic experiences, as a break from real life”. This escapism mentality makes it more likely you may have, what is known as a “summer fling”.

Summer love, of the carefree kind, even if dubbed temporary, is often conjured up on lonely days or tearful nights. Its memory is tucked away forevermore.

The movie industry has exploited the concept of summer love in hundreds of films, inspiring us to seek one of our own. Books, poems, songs likewise. You need not be by the seaside, but in a museum or by a bus-stop. The warmth of summer can be as effective as Cupid’s arrow.

Out and about, exercising, now that we are not hounded by the cold of winter, rain or wind, others may be of the same mind. Not to worry about being sweaty or sticky. Exercise can increase feelings of arousal as you both engage in physical activities.

How can we ignore the sea of flesh that warm weather unveils? Eyes wide opened can lead to romantic overtures.

A study by the University of Michigan in 2004 concluded that warm weather boosts one’s mood, opens one’s eyes, after only 30 minutes spent outside in the sunshine. It can make one more receptive to new experiences, more responsive and sympathetic. Conversation leads to attractiveness, ultimately to romance. Who thought a little sun can do so much?

Exposure to sunlight triggers the body to produce dopamine and serotonin, “happy hormones”, writes Michael F Hollock, author of the famous book The Vitamin D Solution.

It is a scientific fact that vitamin D from the sun is good for your health and overall happiness. With the sun constantly shining, you are in a good mood. Longer days make summer love as joyful as the season itself.

A tip from Dr. Scott Halzman: “Keeping each other guessing increases the production of dopamine, the hormone associated with excitement and anticipation. That makes couples feel more attracted to each other.”

How many hundreds of miles do tourists travel to warmer climes and tropical isles to spend a few days bathed in sunshine? It re-energises health, confidence and joie de vivre. Perhaps even a summer fling.

Summer love may be temporary, lasting only through the season but millions of flings develop into a “happily ever after”.

To those who in tossing out dreary routine for lackadaisical relief, neglect a healthy diet, be warned. Water and water-based foods are essential — salads, citrus, spinach, cold soup etc. etc. The healthier you are, the more fun in the sun.

A surprising survey by Goodreads and Relationship authorities, resulted in autumn being the favoured season for love by 41 per cent followed by winter, spring, and summer. No wonder we do not believe all those pseudo-scientific polls.

Time seems to stop for summer.

The days are longer, the cool night breeze goes to your head. Life goes from black and white to technicolour. Conditions are ripe for romance — take advantage of it.

We are already halfway through the summer, how about a romantic encounter?

If you miss that, there is always the unreliable survey that autumn is the most romantic season, so you can catch up. But why wait?

We live here and now. Who knows about tomorrow: “Why, tomorrow I myself may be/With yesterday’s 7,000 years.”

Live today, love today, while summer is still here.

 

“Just living is not enough. You must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”

 Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875)


*A version of this article appears in print in the 28 July, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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