Chemistry Clarification

Demystifying the loaded term of “chemistry” with 8 definitions of the word.

Nomenclature: What is chemistry, anyway?

We tend to assume “chemistry” is an intuitive concept; a couple either has it, or they don’t. However, a conversing with a number of different friends about “chemistry,” I concluded almost none of us hold identical definitions of the word. For some, chemistry simply signifies inexplicable, irresistible attraction. For others, chemistry means inside jokes and frequent thinking along the same lines.

Since definitional discrepancies can quickly lead to awkward or painful misunderstandings, it’s time to roll back your sleeves, put on some lab goggles, and dive into a chemistry analogy. Because not so ironically, chemistry happens to be a lot like, well—chemistry. Read on to learn about just eight of the many types of chemistry connections, as well as their potential hazards.

#1 – Helium

Helium brings buoyancy to the party balloon, nobility to the periodic table, and a new level of high octaves to human vocal chords. With inhalation helium makes people feel light and giddy while also causing chipmunk like speech. Indeed, some couples bond over buoyant bubbly flirtation and helium-like high pitched laughter. While typically fun, excessive helium inhalation may cause headaches.

# 2 – Hydrogen

In its elemental gaseous form, Hydrogen receives the highest possible flammability ranking from the NFPA. When a balloon full of hydrogen comes into contact with a flame, the result is immediate combustion. Similarly, all it takes for someone to claim “hydrogen chemistry,” is a single nocturnal romantic encounter of flying sparks. I hate to burst the hydrogen happiness bubble, but the flame from the hydrogen balloon demo is normally quite short lived.

# 3- Oxygen 

 It’s colorless, odorless, and invisible—and yet, absolutely vital for life. Over time, oxygen has become the relationship metaphor of choice for modern pop music. In 2007 Chris Brown and Jordin Sparks sang a duet with the opening line “Tell me how I’m supposed to breathe with no air.” Throughout the song, Jordin complains of shortness of breath, and questions whether she can stay alive while apart from her man.  Five years later, Jason Derulo released the song Breathing, where he too doubts his own survival. People connected only by “oxygen chemistry” live as though their relationship is constantly on the verge of death and in need of revival through CPR or mouth to mouth resuscitation.

#-4 Covalent Bonds

Chemistry is not limited exclusively to romantic partners. Characterized by stability and sharing of negatively charged electrons, the covalent bond is akin to a platonic covenant friendship where even the most negative burdens are shared with one another.

#5- Strong Acid + Weak Base

The phrase “opposites attract” holds true for a variety of reasons. The author and researcher Henry Cloud believes, “we are drawn to those who possess what we do not, so we can internalize and own that trait for ourselves.”  In some cases, the trait we have yet to develop becomes all the more attractive when existing inside of another.

#6  One-Sided Equations

 Unfortunately, romantic chemistry equations do not always end up with equally balanced coefficients. When one person brings the heat, and the other party does not reciprocate, the disrupted equilibrium throws the whole equation off balance. In cases of unrequited love, the chemical reaction arrows point one way only and the yielding result is pain.

#7- Lab Goggles

Party goers have beer goggles; cross-country runners sport speed goggles, and the average Christian college female, wears guitar goggles. Whatever the particular form of rose colored glasses may be, “goggles chemistry,” happens when one aspect of a person becomes the filter that positively enhances everything else.

#8- The Blue Ember

Mainstream chemistry wisdom tends to emphasize “the flame feeling” as one of the surest sign chemistry. While a flame is bright and hot, it’s also fleeting, and streakier than a shooting star in the night. Embers on the other hand—when intentionally kindled, and stoked with care—glow beautifully for a very long time.

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