This is how your body 'knows' when you meet 'the one'
"True love" and finding "the one" can often feel impossible in today's day and age, where dating is almost made too easy given the possibility of connecting with almost anyone in the world. But even with such an interconnected society and the invention of dating apps that are supposed to make the whole thing easier -I beg to differ - it can still seem impossible to find your soulmate. So, maybe it's worth throwing it out there; is there even such a thing?
The dating game can seem unbearable, with dud after dud making it feel increasingly less likely that you'll ever meet anyone decent and that you'll be resigned to being forever alone (yeah, yeah – and with 100 cats). But as my mother always told me: you've got to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince. But how can you tell if they're "the one"?
You might think it's the hot feeling you get in your chest, the sparkle in each others' eyes, or the fact that neither of you really think Will Ferrell is that funny. But it's not. In fact, the laws of attraction are way less sexy and more to do with someone's genetic makeup.
A study published in Nature has revealed the laws of attraction according to science. Every person has their own individual human leukocyte antigen (HLA) complex, which helps your immune system tell the difference between your own cells and the nasty cells that come from viruses and bacteria.
But also, they are secret decision-makers that help determine who people find attractive. In fact, your HLA complex helps dictate how sexy you find someone, as determined by theirs. Looking at attraction patterns in 254 couples, the study found that partners with very different HLA complexes "correlates with sexuality and enhances the desire to procreate". So what d'ya know: opposites do attract.
The study also helped explain another adage to how people are subtly attracted to each other: their smell. The researchers found that most couples thought their significant other smelt simply delectable, if their HLAs were significantly different.
So don't bother Googling the best conversation topics or getting too dressed up for your first date – looks like it might be better to learn up on some biology and get yourself a microscope and a lab coat (I can't confirm this is all you'll need) to test you and potential bae's genetic HLA blueprints.
Or alternatively, don't. It's probably going to freak your date out if you not-so-subtly try and pluck a "sample" from their head.
Nevertheless, the experiment is actually really useful for evolution's sake – in the case of animals. The study found animals can make babies with super-strong immune systems if they pair up with a mate that has a differing major histocompatibility complex (the animal version of HLA). The animals, too, would be far more attracted to that mate and enthusiastically take to reproducing with them. And hey presto! A healthier animal baby would be born to go on surviving for that species.
In any case, at least you now know why you think your partner smells so delicious and that if you really wanted to see if they are 'the one' – why, all you need to do is plan a surprise date at the HLA testing lab!