18 July, 2015

#Spotlight :: I Wonder: One Woman's Search for Answers in NYC by Merce Cardus

I wonder if my life is determined by chaos, if life begins at 40, how to drop fear, if marriage is a fraud and a failure, how to cook success, if creativity is an immortal project, if I am proactive in all spheres of my life... 

In I Wonder, Merce Cardus answers these and other meaningful questions that we all raise sooner or later in our lives. Each chapter opens with a movie quote showcasing a specific question. Not only does I Wonder reflect the wisdom that the author gained through research and reflection, but it also provides a lively dose of humor.

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JOHN ROBIE: Miss Stevens?
JOHN ROBIE: You know what I think?
FRANCES STEVENS: I don’t really care.

—To Catch a Thief, 1955, Alfred Hitchcock.

Sex, sports, and booze.
All right, thank you for coming. That’s all for today.
Whoa…whoa…whoa… really?!
Okay, I will give it a try.
A couple of months ago, I went out to Starbucks to get a tall iced coffee, light ice, no room for milk for Kim—I gave up saying my real name. I can’t spend fifteen minutes pronouncing it—. So, as I was walking in, an incredible gorgeous guy just checked me out from head to toe.
“Thank you,” I said politely, while he was holding the door open for me.
“No, no. Thank YOU, and good morning,” he said, stressing the vowels.
I kept staring at him with my jaw dropping. At my other side, I had one member of the Starbucks staff holding a walkie-talkie asking me what I wanted. I replied briskly, “Grande, macchiato, hot!”
A week later, I was sitting comfortably in one of the armchairs, when the same hot guy came in. I did my hair quickly, swirled open the tube of lipstick, painted it on my lips and smacked them together, lifted my head a bit, and with my GPS on, I sent him my vibes: hellooooo, meeee, the goodmooorning girl!
What’s wrong with guys?!
Alas, my Dedicated and Long-Suffering Female-Readers, when a single, or married, or divorced, or unclassifiable man sees a woman that lights up his sexual circuit board, his brain instantly produces a quick sexual thought that will most likely disappear in no time. University of California’s researchers found that it takes the male brain only one-fifth of a second to classify a woman as sexually hot or not.
I won’t deny this information cleared up some things, yet aroused a quite intriguing question. What do men think? Or put in other words, how does the male brain process romance?
In order to plumb the depth of it, I read The Male Brain, written by Harvard neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine, and got some interesting hints. So I invite you to join me to a pleasurable Trans-Siberian trip. A journey that will transport us through the pleasurable centers of the male brain. All aboard!
*Moscow. Day 1.
The Kremlin Clock announced midnight. George got in the restaurant car, sat at a table, and checked out the passengers. His visual brain circuit is always on the lookout for fertile mates, so he is promptly allured by Nadia’s beauty.
A group of neurons at the very centre of his brain—the ventral tegmental area—processes the information. George’s brain is manufacturing testosterone—the party animal gets into the scene. For a while, they played the contact readiness sport, a non-verbal flirting sport, which if you master it, you score the most.
*Siberia. Day 2-3.
The train was crossing the vastness of Siberia while Nadia had breakfast. With fortitude, George asked permission to accompany her. Her exquisite beauty attracts most passengers’ eyes, disdaining to look at the window’s view of endless birch trees. George felt fortunate, so he used all the honey-tongue blandishments. He releases a pheromone called Androstenedione—the seducer is home. He yearns to get her into his deluxe 2-berth compartment and have sex right away. He actually yearns for it from the moment he saw her, but he knows she will be more prone to it with males who bring her meat.
He accompanied her to her compartment, thinking of his next move. Men have an enormous fear of rejection. Men’s stage fright is proportional to how hot the woman is and how much they want to impress her. He didn’t want to gum up the works, but took the plunge by kissing her. Her smell and saliva confirms to him that genes are compatible—since pheromones carry genetic information.
The chemical messenger—dopamine—goes to another structure in his brain called the nucleus accumbens. George’s mind cannot stop having mental imagery of pleasant and emotional scenes.
*Lake Baikal. Day 4.
The train was rounding the most voluminous freshwater lake in the world, Lake Baikal, while Peter and Nadia had a delicious Russian dinner. He touched her hand several times. He regaled her with stories about his adventures that made her laugh. They were not concerned about the camels and yurts—the circular tents used by Mongolian nomads. Dopamine—the energizer—is increasing in the area for anticipation of pleasure and reward. They ended up making love.
*Mongolian customs. Gobi Desert. Day 5.
The train passed through Mongolian customs and got into the open wastes of the Gobi Desert. In his deluxe 2-berth compartment, the drapes remained closed. The more Nadia and George make love, the more addicted their bodies and brains become. Early-stage romantic love brings a person straight to the brink of euphoria.
*The Great Wall of China-Beijing. Day 6.
After the train had crossed the mountains through the Great Wall of China, George and Nadia arrived at Beijing’s main station. He, with a long version of the vasopressin receptor gene, asked Nadia to see her again soon. His caudate nucleus has memorized the one who has given him pleasure, Nadia. The love and lust circuit has been completed.
A study in Sweden found that men with the long version of the vasopressin receptor gene were twice as likely to leave bachelorhood behind and commit to one woman for life. The vasopressin is a hormone that plays an important role in social behavior and bonding.
So longer is always better?—Wink.

About the Author:

Merce Cardus is the author of two novels, I say Who, What, and Where! and Deconstructing Infatuation, and the nonfiction I Wonder.

Her books are inspirational, thought-provoking, and witty, with themes that reflect and explore the great questions of Life, constantly searching for Truth.

To learn more, visit her at: Website I Twitter

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