Archive for the ‘love’ Category

Photographer: Suat Eman

Bad health leads to doctors.  Doctors to health insurance.  Health insurance to stress.  Stress to bad health.  Round and round we go.  Nothing revs our ailing engines more than America’s five-star health careless system…a system riddled with fickle coverage loopholes, high premium sinkholes,  deep deductible manholes, and pre-existing condition hellholes.  Notice the common denominator?  All holes leading to the big daddy…the health insurance Black Hole!  We pull money from our asshole, throw it down the insurance black hole, and end up digging our own financial hole.  The holes are many, and regardless of our tap dancing talent, we fall in repeatedly.  When faced with failing health, we’re forced to take a crash course in the crooked ways of our greedy private insurer’s coverage plan.  If we weren’t sick before, we are now.  If only we could fund our ever-rising insurance premiums with the money our sue happy lawyers won on our behalf for the emotional suffering inflicted by the complications of “our policy.”  You know…give them a taste of their own “money.”  Tell them where they can stick “our policy.”  If only we had a choice!  We may not have a choice when it comes to going to the doctor, but we may have a better health care plan already in place that can help us avoid the doctor…one free of loopholes, sinkholes, manholes, and hellholes…one secured by our better half.  A happy marriage?  Could it be that Dr. Love is our best insurance policy?  That marriage actually promotes our health?

Medicare, Medicaid…Medimarriage?

All experts agree…YES!  A happy heart is a healthy heart!  Countless studies confirm that a happy marriage helps keep our bodies healthier and private insurers poorer.  But scientists say marriage itself isn’t the key.  That it’s the relationship or commitment — not the institution — that keeps us healthier.  A matter of how close we are as a couple.  The intimacy we share, rather than the space.  A disconnected, stressful marriage is, in fact, worse for the heart than single or divorced life.  Stress is the bearer of bad health.  It manifests itself physically via high blood pressure, low immune system, depression, gastrointestinal problems, rashes, or emotional disorders like anxiety.  And let’s face it…avoiding daily stress is about as easy as making actual eye contact with Jessica Rabbit.  Her eye color is as much a mystery to us as the elusive stress-free day.  Marriage itself can create extra stress, but a stable loving connection with our sweetie combats that psychological stress and keeps it from physically running amuck in our bodies.  How?  L.O.V.E.  Love lowers the stress hormone, cortisol…less stress translates into a happy heart.  It boosts our immune system and reduces heart disease.  Those who are happily married are healthier, less stressed, and live longer than those unhappily married, divorced, or single.  The happier the marriage, the healthier the spouses.  The more hostile the relationship, the weaker the immune system.  When stress takes over, our body falls apart.  But when love is the artist, it’s a “work of heart.”

Psychologist John Gottman says the benefits of a happy marriage are “better health, more resistance to infection, fewer infections, and a reduced likelihood of dying from cancer, from heart disease, from all major killers.”  And those benefits are consistent across age, race, education, and income groups.  Love is a universal band-aid.

Interestingly, for singles or unhappily married adults, having a network of supportive friends didn’t improve health.  Only when the heart is involved…when we have that unconditional bond of love…only then does it reduce our stress hormones and promote better health.  What does that mean?  Marriage is all heart!  🙂  When our heart is happy, our bodies reap the benefits.  When our heart is unhappy, our bodies pay up…as do our wallets.  The sicker we are, the more insurance costs…until eventually, we’re “too sick” to cover.  Yes, apparently there’s only so much “sick” the private insurance companies will tolerate.  Health coverage only for the healthy?  Hmmm, corporate sarcasm perhaps?

Some scientists speculate that the reason we’re in better physical health when in a happy committed relationship is that our spouse inspires us to drink less, smoke less, get regular health checkups, and have better nutritional intake.  Well, isn’t that obvious?  But there’s more to it than that, right?  Even infants thrive with loving skin-on-skin, heart-to-heart contact and deteriorate without it.  Maybe everything begins and ends with the heart.  Our heart thirsts for a connection, a bond, an unconditional love.  When that thirst is quenched, our bodies thrive.  But when that thirst is denied, we deteriorate.  We need love like we need water.  Without that bonded love to ground us, we fry when handling life’s electric stress.

Our heart/body relationship seems to be like any other…surviving on the give and take.  A loving bond gives the heart what it needs.  The heart reciprocates, lowers stress, and keeps the body healthier.  Give and take.  The heart may regulate the physical body, but love regulates the heart.

So, next time you’re stressing over the latest in “hellthcare,” or getting one too many doses of daily stress…slow down.  Find your better half.  Cuddle, connect, and let love medicate you.  Look into your sweetie’s eyes, and say, “Do you need a checkup?  Possibly an XXX-ray?”

“Lay back…the doctor is in.”   😉

Chick Hughes

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.” ~  Mother Teresa


First comes love.  Then comes marriage.  Then comes…love handles, beer guts, and muffin tops?  Wait a minute…that wasn’t covered in the wedding vows, was it?  I remember “For better or worse” …or maybe that was code for… “For hot or not.”  Though not a topic we like to address (unless we’re wagging our finger in any direction but our own), it’s a topic most every couple finds piled on their plate sooner or later.   We’ve all looked back on pre-wedding, pre-kids, pre-pounds pictures…and wondered where that once slim sexy siren slithered off to…you know…the siren that was apparently called to one too many chocolate covered emergencies, meat and potato domestic disputes, or deep fried drug deals.  Busy siren.  🙂 Whether it’s a few measly pounds or double digit doozies, it can tame the once wild flames of marital bliss into a faint hiss.   Maybe we should more closely inspect that marriage license before giving it our John Hancock.  Maybe…just maybe we overlooked the tiny, barely there disclaimer:  “Warning:  possible side effects may include bloating, weight gain, or widened ass syndrome?”  Jokes aside.  We vow to, and do, love our spouses no matter what.  But, why DO we let ourselves go once we say “I do?”

While in dating mode, we’re on the hunt for our perfect mate.  To attract that perfect mate, we must be in tip-top shape.  After all, the first thing we’re attracted to is NOT a winning personality.  Never do men scope out women and say, “Damn!  Look at the brains on her!”  The same goes for women.  Our first impression of a man isn’t “OMG!  He just radiates intelligence and wit.”  No.  It’s that pure animal magnetism, that gleaming “come hither” sex light in our eyes, and that sweaty hand, blushed face, crush giddiness that initially catches our interest.  So, we take great care of ourselves when we’re dating.  We work out.  We’re well groomed, etc. etc.  We’re on the market.  No one wants to take home a fatty piece of meat.  We want fresh lean meat!  At least that seems to be what our social dictator, Mass Media, has washed our brains with.  So, in competition with media pecs and butts of steel, we work on our “meat.”  However, once we’ve been taken home, we’re no longer on the market.  So, the pressure to stay fresh and lean is lessened.  We become…comfortable.  Interestingly though, with divorce comes weight loss.  Once we’re back on the market, we know we better slim down.  The plea to “Eat mor chikin” won’t be necessary.  In this meat market, the fatty cow is simply not in demand.  😉

An expert on the sociology of obesity, Jeffery Sobal, claims that “body weight is largely a reflection of one’s culture, socioeconomic and marital status, life stage, and ethnicity.”  According to Sobal, some cultures — obviously not the U.S. — value larger rounder bodies.  In this country, the higher one’s socioeconomic status, the thinner a person is likely to be.  He found that the married weigh more than the unmarried, parents weigh more than non-parents, and Hispanics and African Americans weigh more than Caucasians.  Sobal also found that while obese women are actually happier in their marriages than their slimmer lady friends, obese men are more miserable in their marriages than their buff male buddies.   It’s hypothesized that obese women are happier because they’re aware of their diminished meat market value, internalize that negative value, and thus are content in the marriage they’ve been dealt.  Here’s a twist…obese men are less likely to accept their negative meat market status and may come to project the resentment they feel for themselves onto the marriage.  Hmmm, the irony!!!  Typically, it’s the men internalizing and the women projecting.  Oh how the tables have turned.  Tables?  Let’s eat!

After tracking nearly 7,000 married/living together participants, psychological studies reveal that after a few years of marriage, we do, in fact, begin to pack on the pounds.  It was found that married partners were twice as likely to become obese as those simply dating.  While both men AND women will put on a little weight after swapping vows, women are prone to putting on more.  But then again, women’s bodies do bear children…women grow amazingly complex little people in their bodies.  And having babies is so beautiful…yet SO UGLY!  It inflates, twists, and knots the female body like an inexperienced clown beating the hell out of a balloon animal.   Ever seen a balloon after it’s deflated?  But men are visual spectators.  A balloon is a balloon is a balloon.  Either it’s hot…or it’s not.

Why do we put on extra weight after marriage?

* married couples attach greater meaning to shared meals (food becomes the main attraction, “together” time for family)

* we stop trying to attract a mate (we’ve wooed…and wooed…and wooed…at some point, we just have to say WHOA!)

* we decrease physical activity (after work, kids, and chores, a tight derriere is no longer topping the to-do list)

* we have babies

* we have the added stress of children, work, and providing for a family (that stress often results in unhealthy eating habits)

* we use food as a solace to fill a happiness void in our relationship (TIP:  Have more sex!  The sex will fill the time we may otherwise snack AND it’ll reconnect us with our sweetie!  WIN…WIN)

Scientists say that just having a close relationship with an obese person (whether a friend or spouse) makes us more likely to become obese ourselves.  And that if one engages in weight loss activity, the other tends to lose 5 lbs on average.  In essence, we facilitate one another in one direction or the other.  Why?  Good old competition!  As long as we’re not the fattest one in the room, we’re good.  😉

Because we facilitate one another, experts say a few offensive moves against the post vow bulge may include:

1. Exercise — Stay active.  Whether it’s walking, biking, or playing a sport, do it TOGETHER!  That time spent together is bonding.  And the exercise produces arousal hormones that will spice up the bedroom cardio!  So, get pumpin’.

2. Creative activity — Share a hobby, not a meal!  art, music, reading together…engaging in a little creative couple time puts our imaginations to use and allows us a joint escape from daily pressures without provoking that fickle zipper on our favorite pair of jeans.

3. Laugh — We can get so bogged down with stress and financial security, we forget to laugh and enjoy each other.  Laughter reduces stress hormones, creates connection, and keeps our mouths preoccupied.

With marriage comes many positives and negatives.  Love handles, beer guts, and muffin tops…all, of course, “weigh” in on the negative side.  But here’s an interesting thought…if we put on a few extra pounds because we’re comfortable, that probably means one thing:  complete and utter commitment.   If we’re not perfecting our credit score, we’re certainly not looking to buy new real estate.  There’s the up side!  But as the saying goes, “what goes up must come down.”  We shouldn’t totally let ourselves go.  Too much around the MIDsection simply isn’t good for the Erection.  Get comfortable…but not too comfortable.  If we get too comfortable in a position, we may slip into a deep sleep and not realize that our marital comfort zone has morphed into our marital danger zone!

So get up and “SHAKE IT!”

Chick Hughes

“Food has replaced sex in my life; now, I can’t even get into my own pants.”  ~Author Unknown


Red, yellow, green, or blue…which color would you do?  🙂  Different colors signify different things to us…green means go, yellow means slow, red means stop, red and blue mean COP.  These are color indicators we’re overtly aware of, which is why they’re abundantly used throughout society.  But there are some color indicators we’re unaware of…colors that influence our attitudes, feelings, and sexual desires…colors that make us happy, sad, sappy, mad..and, yes, horny.  Psychologists have long studied the effects of color on our thoughts and feelings, but they’ve just recently nailed a color that, ironically, we also want to “nail.”  What color?  Red, rouge, and rojo.  It seems red is subconsciously our sexual primary color of choice…and while we may like many other colors on a mate, it’s actually red that gets us “a-head.”

Two psychologists at the University of Rochester completed the first documented study on this topic when they conducted several experiments to learn which color we find most sexually attractive on a mate.  They gave men and women pictures of the opposite sex to rate in terms of attractiveness, sexual desire, likability, intelligence, and kindness…with each individual’s picture appearing many times either framed in different colors or dressed in different colored clothing.  What they found was that red was the sexual color of choice for both men AND women.  Given the same candidate dressed, or framed, in red vs. another color, most subjects reported being more sexually attracted to the one in red.  Not only were they asked to rate the attractiveness of the candidates, but men were also asked to imagine a hypothetical date with the candidates in red vs. the candidates in alternate colors.  The men were then asked, “If you had $100 in your wallet for a date with this person, how much would you spend?”  The lucky ladies in red were hypothetically treated to a more expensive date…fancier restaurants, flowers, etc.  Hmmm, men willing to spend more money on women they find hotter and more sexually promising?  What a novelty!  Of course, the head leading that date isn’t concerned with money…finances is not the “job” it signed up for.  😉

These findings were consistent across all cultures and countries…yes, we have a universal unprejudiced love affair with the sexual high of “scarlet fever.”  While the color red greatly affected attractiveness and sexual desirability, it made no difference when the subjects were rating perceived intelligence, likability, or kindness.  However, when it comes to sex, red seems to bring out the devil in us.  And psychologists say men and women are completely unaware of our crimson weakness…that it’s a subconscious reaction to our biology.  But we seem to be aware of it on some level.  We obviously associate red with carnal passion…from red lipstick to accentuate our sultry puckers…to innocent, but alluring, red hearts and lingerie on Valentine’s Day…to the not-so-innocent Red Light District’s infamous crimson glow luring adults to sex as shamelessly as the ice cream truck lures pig-tailed cuties and smudged-faced cooties with its  mind-numbing tunes and over-priced drumsticks.  So, it seems a safe assumption that we have some mental cognizance of our sexy red addiction…however conscious it may be.

Scientists hypothesize that men and women prefer the color red for entirely separate, but like reasons.

Why are men hot for red?

It’s thought that a man’s obsession with red can be traced back to his evolutionary roots.  When nearing ovulation, female primates, such as baboons and chimpanzees, swell and redden around the genitals.  Past research has proven that male primates are most attracted to the females displaying the brightest, reddest derrieres…for she proves to be the “hostess with the mostest.” Perhaps a preference for red is simply his primitive horny self rearing it’s not-so-ugly “head.”  They say men are animals…who knew we’d get proof?

Why are women?

Scientists believe women also prefer red for evolutionary reasons.  But while men are searching out the most opportune sexual escapade, women are scouting out the most powerful alpha male to lead her pack.  Some male primates, such as mandrills, bear red status symbols upon their chests, which assert their rank and dominance among other male primates.  The brighter shade of red, the more powerful the primate.  This seems to be an evolutionary eye candy that stuck.  In ancient cultures around the globe, the color red has been ever used to convey prosperity and power.  Even today, we roll out the red carpet for celebrities or prestigious power houses.  It seems red always has been, and always be, a dominance indicator.   While women like to mockingly refer to men as animals,  her animal within still flashes her backside for the richest, reddest chest-beater on two legs.

Whether we’re aware of it or not, red gets us hot.  It seems red translates sexual readiness for women…and powerful dominance for men.  Better said, women seek red for leader of the pack…men seek it for a night in the sack.

In the animal kingdom red says “Go…Now!”  However, regardless of our biological cues, we’ve managed to redefine red.  In our society, red conveys “stop” and “danger.”  Red stop signs, red lights, etc.  So, I can’t help but wonder…are we actually unaware of our sexual red fetish?  Or are we aware, but just that repressed?  Anything too sexual in our culture, we refuse to address…and instead, repress.  Have we subconsciously taken the green light out of our red sexual intersection?

Maybe it’s time we release our inner animal, embrace our blushing cheeks, and take red…to bed.  😉

Chick Hughes

When in doubt wear red. ~ Bill Blass quotes


Remember youth, innocence, and naivety?  When love seemed magical and effortlessly  simple… black and white…a fairy tale?  Young girls are inundated with expectations of idealistic love…happily ever after…you know, the stuff story books are made of —  where apparently, love is an absolute…an unchanging cloud on which to float blissfully above the rest of the world exempt from life’s loveless problems.  In the land of the storybook, the cloud is a one-dimensional shape defined by hard, finite lines.  However, in reality, clouds are ever-changing and most definitely not one-dimensional.  What happens when that cloud dissipates?  After all, nothing stays the same, does it?  Love, like everything else in our imperfect world, changes…it grows, it consumes, it elates, it diminishes, it shatters, it tolerates, it hurts, it ends, it overcomes…and sometimes…it splits in two.  And we find our hearts are occupied by not one, but two loves…a  revelation that is anything but easy…anything but happily ever after.  To hell with the fairy tale!  Is it ever possible to regain control of our heart?  If not, how do we accommodate it?

Some feel there is no possible way to love more than one person at a time…perhaps because they simply have yet to come face to face with their own two-timing heart.  And perhaps they have, but chose denial as a means of defense.  Or, perhaps the idea of being in love with two people is so frightening, so intimidating that it’s just plain easier to refuse it’s possibility.  Why deny?  Denial is like a vicious dog chasing along behind you…eventually, you’ll tire…when you do, it’ll catch up and bite you in the ass.

While some choose to deny its existence, others struggle to tame it.  According to research, romantic love for more than one person is not only possible, but extremely common.  Most often, a second love isn’t sought out, but somehow creeps up when we’re not looking.  Psychologists say that we may fall in love with two people for subconscious reasons…because they possess two different sets of characteristics…that those characteristics are complimentary to one another, rather than contradictory.  For example, one may provide security, unconditional love, devoted partnership, and keep us in touch with our grounded self…while the other may provide sparks, romance, unpredictability, and allow us to experiment with a new unexplored self.  It is believed that a main motivator in life is the need to expand ourselves and become more effective.  One method for accomplishing this is through relationships.  We need to feel like we make a difference…like we have a profound effect on someone or something.  Sometimes we find that in a most unexpected place…a second love.  Relationship stages are another culprit if and when we find ourselves in love x 2.  One could be in the beginning infatuation stage and provide us that new love adrenaline high…which makes us feel attractive and vibrant again.  The other may be progressed to a more mature stage and provide us security, rather than an ego boost.  It may sound odd, but with complimentary personalities, the two halves make a whole.  It may also sound a bit selfish…but a human being is, by nature,  a selfish being…like it or not.

Psychologists also argue that our heart is capable of loving more than one parent, more than one child, more than one friend…why not more than one romantic partner?  While they claim it IS possible…and common, they also point out that it IS incredibly problematic.  And when interviewed, people who claimed to have loved more than one person at a time also owned the fact that if the tables were turned, they weren’t sure they could stand the idea of their beloved in the arms of another.  Love is a bitch…no?

Whatever the rhyme or reason, we do sometimes find ourselves in love with more than one person.  Control is something we each crave and aspire for.  While we may be able to control many things in our lives, the heart is NOT one of them.  The heart cannot be controlled…cannot be bartered…cannot be directed.  Unlike our brain, it’s not bound by morality, laws, or vows.  It is what it is…frightened, vulnerable, susceptible, and exposed…the one hole in our otherwise impenetrable suit of armor.  When we do find our heart painfully split down the middle, that split slowly festers and cracks under the pressure of guilt, social expectation, and normality.  Eventually, that crack in our heart gives way.  Result:  full blown heart…break.

For an unmarried person, this terrain is a bit less tricky…easier to navigate.  Professionals say in this case, it may be best to let both people go and start anew…advice I find a bit lackadaisical and senseless.  But for a married person who’s pledged his life to one person whom he loves, and finds himself loving another simultaneously…it’s a treacherous terrain full of sinkholes, mountain ledges, and quicksand that cannot be navigated by foot, but requires an air rescue…He not only needs to be rescued from the terrain, but also from himself…rescued from the mental torment of caring for two without hurting either.  This is a feat many have tried, but few have had success with.  It’s one thing to love a person…it’s another thing entirely to devote your life to a person whom you love.  Obviously,  we can’t control what’s in our heart, but we can control our actions stemming from it.  Love is beyond our control…devotion, on the other hand, is a conscious decision to succumb to – and nourish –  the love we’ve devoted ourselves to…AND…when need be… with another love…a conscious decision not to.

Love triangles, while new to some, are old hat in the tangled world of life and love.  The head and the heart will frequently find themselves at odds with one another, as logic and emotion are eternal enemies.  So, someday we may find that our house of love — a.k.a. our heart — has somehow become a duplex in which two loves reside.  If this happens, it seems we have two options:  we can attempt to evict one, bulldoze the dividing wall, and make more room for the original tenant — OR — we can allow them both to stay with the knowledge that one will squat while the other pays both rents.  Bear in mind…the average person won’t support a freeloader for long.  If rent continues to rise, our dependable renter will likely pack up and move.  Keep it simple, keep it painless, keep it rent-controlled…one heart, one love.

Words of advice from the head.  Maybe the heart will take heed.

Chick Hughes

“Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.” ~ Robert Frost