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Unlocking Love: Pheromones, Affection, and the Tradition of Love Locks

Locks of Love: An Expression of Eternity
A few days ago, while researching for an article, I was reading about Brooklyn Hills and my attention was drawn to a bridge there that is always filled with countless locks. These are known as “Love Locks”. Each one has two names written on it, one of a man and the other of a woman.

The interesting and beloved tradition behind this is that when a man and woman fall in love, they write both their names on a lock and face the “Brooklyn Bridge”. They attach it to a suitable spot on the bridge and toss the key into the flowing river below, never to be opened again. The purpose of this exercise is to express their resolve that their relationship is permanent and they will stay together for the rest of their lives.

“The Dark Side of Love Locks”
Not only do these locks look cluttered, but their heavy weight can also pose a danger to the bridge. Therefore, in many cities, including New York, it has been made illegal to attach them. Despite this prohibition, people secretly manage to attach locks there. The authorities keep cutting and removing them, but over time their numbers keep increasing. This tradition is also very popular in Russia, Europe, and many other countries where locks bearing male and female names can often be seen on specific buildings and bridges.

“Transience of Love: A Reality Check”
The question is, do these couples’ love turn into marriages and do they stay together till death after marriage? The reality is that sometimes this happens and sometimes it does not. Sometimes the relationship breaks even before reaching marriage, sometimes the marriage does take place but shortly afterwards it comes to divorce, and sometimes the husband and wife seem to be attracted to others while living a married life.

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“Love in Literature: Verses by Mirza Ghalib”
For poets, love and affection has always been a desirable subject and undoubtedly the best poetry in the world, whether in any language, has been written on this topic. Here are two verses by Mirza Ghalib…
“Love demands patience and desire impatience. What color should I paint the heart until it bleeds?” And “There is no force in love, this is that fire, Ghalib. That neither ignites nor extinguishes”.

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“A Real-Life Love Story: Love at First Sight”
We see that sometimes two people fall in love with each other to such an extent in their first meeting that the observers are astonished. Once a friend of mine boarded a train from London and got off at a country town station 90 miles away. During this journey of an hour and a half, he met a girl who had come to England from Australia for tourism with her three companions. My friend had fallen in love with her before reaching the countryside, and this “fire” had spread on both sides. The girl said goodbye to her companions right at the station and came with my friend. This included her boyfriend but she also left him. The result came out in the form of instant engagement and quick marriage, meaning that these two were married by the next week. Their marriage and marital life were very successful and they became parents of three beautiful children during this period.

“Scientific Perspectives: Pheromones and Attraction”
If we look at it scientifically, the main role in the matter of love and affection is of hormones. When puberty comes, certain chemicals start to be produced in our bodies that cause a tremendous increase in our attraction towards the opposite sex.

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When scientists gathered statistics for their research, they found that sexual attraction affects young minds to such an extent that a significant number of them think about it every 14 to 20 seconds during their waking moments. Some read specific books for its pleasure, while others watch movies etc.

The chemical substances that cause sexual attraction are called pheromones, the faintly fragrant smells of which attract people. To sniff them, there are nerve plexuses in our noses. This plexus is considerably larger in the noses of mammals, rats, snakes, and lizards than in humans.

“Pheromones in the Animal Kingdom: Nature’s Way of Ensuring Survival”
If we look around, we will see examples of this system in animals and plants. Flowers attract insects and bees with their scents, in addition to the beauty of their colors. “Night Queen” flowers bloom at night, so they don’t need as much beauty, but their fragrance is so strong that it spreads far and fast. When bees and other insects sit on flowers, they are rewarded with a special sweetness. Due to these bees, the reproduction of plants continues.

When female animals are ready to bear children, as an announcement, the sexual glands in their bodies produce some fluids. The males of their species sniff this scent from afar and find this female. Similarly, to mingle, the female bodies of certain insects similar to butterflies produce chemical substances. If the breeze is coming from the direction of the female, their males can sniff it from several miles away and reach her. The same is true for wild and domestic animals.

Musk is the name of a very fragrant perfume made from a fluid produced by the glands of a specific type of male deer. Its scent is so strong and long-lasting that the proverb “Love and musk cannot be hidden” has been coined about it. These deer use musk not only to attract the females of their species but also to drop small amounts of musk here and there from these glands as a message for other male deer that this is their territory so they should stay away.

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“The Pheromone Effect: A Hidden Player in Love Stories”
The point is that the next time you hear a love story, keep in mind that these pheromones have played a major role in it. These chemical components were produced by those glands that were dormant before the onset of youth and exploded towards the volcano as soon as puberty came. At this time there is excitement in emotions and this is the reason that some young boys and girls entering adulthood make extremely wrong decisions about their lives.

“Balancing Pheromones and Affection: The Need for Timely Marriage”
For this reason, religious teachings are that when a boy or girl reaches adulthood, their marriage should not be unnecessarily delayed. This system of attraction between the two sexes is part of a large system of nature whose purpose is the survival of the human race and keeping the factory of nature intact.

“Protecting the Family System: A Call for Adherence to Religious Commandments”
In this context, it is the instinct of nature that young boys and girls establish relationships with each other only under a connected system so that the family system can be protected. The apparent purpose of religious commandments to prevent veil and unnecessary mixing, etc. seems to be the same.

  • Dr. Shahid Irfan, Consultant Endocrinologist

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