Monday, April 28, 2008

The Great Expectations of Romantic Chemistry

A few nights ago I was reading through "Great Expectations" as I came across this charming passage:

I asked myself the question whether I did not surely know thyat if Estella were beside me at the moment instead of Biddy, she would make me miserable? I was obliged to admit that I did know it for a certainty, and said to myself, "Pip, what a fool you are!"

We talked a good deal as we walked, and all that Biddy said seemed right. Biddy was never insulting, or capricious, or Biddy today and somebody else tomorrow; she would have derived only pain; and no pleasure, from giving my pain; she would far rather have wounded her own breast than mine. How could it be, then, that I did not like her much the better of the two?

"Biddy," said I, when we were walking homeward, "I wish you could put me right."

"I wish I could!" said Biddy.

"If I could only get myself to fall in love with you - you don't mind me speaking so openly to such an old acquaintance?"

"Oh, dear, not at all!" said Biddy. "Don't mind me."

"If I could only get myself to do it, that would be the thing for me."

"But you never will, you see," said Biddy.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this exchange is that Pip knows all too well that he loves someone who is not very pleasant towards him, while is unable to become attracted to the girl whose qualities he most admires. It would seem that he is a slave to his desires.

I must admit, I find the whole concept of romantic chemistry most perplexing. I'd be most appreciative if some of my readers could give this confused soul some insight into the following questions:

Just what are the symptoms of chemistry?

How do you know if there is chemistry between you and another person?

Does chemistry change over time?

Can chemistry be manufactured, or does it simply exist on a random basis?

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