Love Island winner on the Kem-istry of love and flirting
We’ve all been there - you stumble across the perfect person for you, an outrageous crush develops and then you lose any kind of normal functionality and act like a fool. Brilliant.
But flirting doesn’t have to be such an impossible task. In fact, as Love Island 2017 winner Kem Cetinay explains, the art of the graft all boils down to chemistry.
When you start to feel a vibe with someone and become attracted to them, the hormone adrenaline is released. It makes your heart beat faster and also increases blood flow. This explains the blushing that makes it oh so obvious how much you like someone. Thanks, adrenaline.
People flirt in loads of different ways. Eye contact can be seen as really charming in some cultures, but in others it’s considered extremely rude. Make sure to do your homework when getting amorous abroad - you don’t want to get pied!
Flirting (when it goes well) can make us feel really, really good. This is because it excites the part of the brain that releases the happy hormone dopamine. Dopamine is released when we expect that our needs or desires are about to be met. No pressure, but your body basically thinks the person you’re flirting with is The One.
From flirting to falling in love
After this happens, all hell breaks loose. If your casual flirting is turning into something a bit more serious and you start to develop stronger feelings for a person, the reactions in your body step up a gear.
Love and everything that goes with it produces a rapid chemical change that reduces the effectiveness of the prefrontal cortex of the brain. In a nutshell, this is the bit that keeps you ‘sensible’. When this stops working, it can lead you to behave like an ‘absolute melt’.
Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does - your hands start to sweat, you get anxious and you have difficulty speaking. Thanks again, adrenaline.
As you’ve probably gathered, your brain goes a bit haywire when you’ve got a big crush. Your anterior cingulate cortex gets extra active, which makes you feel euphoric. Your caudate nucleus also becomes more lively, and this makes you really focus on the person you fancy (essentially this is why you put all your eggs in one basket).
So there you have it. Flirting can still be fun, but your body is likely to give you away. Be mindful of that when you try and subtly secure a date.