Why Men Are Like Fruit Flies
When you’re down in the dumps, what do you do? Me, I grab a sappy movie like Sleepless in Seattle or Love, Actually, that will make me feel even worse that I already do, a bottle of Barefoot Pinot Noir and cupcakes/candy/frozen yogurt. I sit my not-so-bony butt in front of the television in footie pajamas with a ninja band around my hair (mostly to avoid dipping it in wine/fro-yo) and I wail/eat/drink. If I’m going through a major break-up, I can easily rationalize putting away a good 3/4 of the bottle…or (who am I kidding?) the whole darn thing. Suddenly, I am Bridget Jones, thinking: “I was going to live a life where my major relationship was with a bottle of wine… and I’d finally die, fat and alone, and be found three weeks later half-eaten by Alsatians.”
For the record, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with my coping strategy. We all do it…and I do mean that literally. Even fruit flies cope with sexual rejection by imbibing.
A new study finds that when a male fruit fly is rejected by a flirtatious female, he copes by drowning his sorrows in the hard stuff.
They’re Like Humans
A chronically sex-deprived fruit fly experiences a decrease in a brain chemical called neuropeptide F (NPF). A similar chemical is linked to drinking in humans. During a study, which was published online in the journal Science, it was discovered that fly boys who couldn’t mate had a much bigger preference for food spiked with alcohol than those who couldn’t get any girls.
Where Do They Find Their Hooch?
It’s worse than brown-bagging it or drinking boxed wine…fruit flies get their booze from the yeast found in rotting fruit. Actually, this makes drinking Carlo Rossi slightly more appealing.
How Do Scientists Know That Male Flies Cope By Dulling The Pain?
Researchers locked a bunch of randy flies in with a female fly that had just been sexually satisfied. Basically, she had just had – ahem – a sexual encounter, and wasn’t interested in mating again any time soon. To ward off the horny boy flies, the female would wither run away or kick them in anger. After being rejected for four days, they were conditioned, like Pavlov’s dogs, to accept rejection. When later presented with regular food or alcohol-spiked foods, they inevitably opted for the gin and juice.
And The Non-Rejects?
These guys, strangely enough, didn’t crave alcohol. They wanted FOOD after sex. Sounds like a typical man to me….
Can This Information Help Us Cope With Broken Hearts In A Different Way?
Maybe. A similar chemical called neuropeptide Y (NPY) helps monitor reward-related behavior in humans. If scientists can figure out a way of reducing this chemical when we’re stressed or unhappy, we might not need wine, vodka, tequila OR ice cream. Though this bodes well for our livers and waistlines, I’m still waiting for scientists to discover a cure to my addiction to sappy movies with stereotypical fairytale endings. Help a sister out, will you? I can only take so many Jennifer Aniston movies in one year! But to each her own, right? Whatever makes you happy!
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About the Author: Laura Schreffler is a former New York Daily News columnist who left the world of celebrity behind to focus on what makes her happiest — love and travel. She is the creator of LoveTrekker.com — a website devoted to these two passions that she fondly calls “looking for love in all the right places.” In her spare time she likes to play matchmaker for her friends, dream about her next vacation and gaze at photographs of Taylor Kitsch. For more advice on love, relationships, and happiness, check out http://lovetrekker.com & her book "Internet Dating 101". And follow her here at Happiness Series with her weekly blog about finding love.