In The Moonlight Is It Chemistry or Charisma?

We've all looked into the transfixing eyes of a Bengal Tiger, awed by its exotic tawny beauty. Everything about them is mesmerizing. Which may explain why of the 8000 remaining on our planet, 5000 are privately owned. Without debating our right to cage these great beasts, there's no debating the "chemistry" between them and their mates.

Somehow we've now taken to referring to the "chemistry" that exists -- or doesn't -- between actors on the screen, on the stage, in political debates, right here among the local members of city councils or country clubs. But sometimes we press a good thing too far. As in a Columbia University report: "Single women consider overweight men more attractive if they are wealthy....so for each 10% increase in body mass, a man must get a 2% raise in salary to stay in the same dating pool."

Does this sound like a victory of chemistry over charisma?

I kinda think so, and I don't like it. Being one of those who still wants to believe we're more than the sum of our evolutionary parts, I prefer to see the chemical beast that is us possessing other and higher characteristics. Now I understand perfectly well I may be swimming against the tide. A tide in which cars and foods, perfumes and body lotions are being designed to cue the right genetic reactions. But give me a break, fellas. Try getting in touch with my heart as well as my hormones.

Somebody smarter than me said it well. Satirist Ambrose Bierce: "We're all lunatics, but those of us who can analyze their delusions is called a philosopher." I'm trying, Ambrose, I'm trying...

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