The science of romantic love

We’re going to get very scientific about romance this year while maintaining our usual modus operandi of talking about everything else but food on a restaurant blog.

Valentine's Day 2013

We’ve been reading a delightful little book called “59 Seconds: Think A Little, Change A Lot“. (I know, I know, our motto is “eat drink don’t think” but when it comes to matters of the heart, must think at least a leetle beet lah hor..!) And we’ll tell you why it’s delightful – it’s good for readers with a short attention span (like yours truly) and gives you nifty li’l mind-altering and life-changing tips and tricks in just 59 seconds each, on everything. EVERYTHING. From happiness and motivation to attraction and relationships to parenting and decision-making. As a Valentine’s Day treat, we’ve read the entire book and have picked out just the lovey-dovey bits.

For example, in the chapter on The Science of Speed Dating, where you have only moments to impress, psychologist and best-selling author Richard Wiseman offers speedy tips (see what we did there? Hurhur) to make best use of the short time available:
• Think of lines that get the other person to talk about themselves in a creative, fun, and unusual way
• Mimic (within reason) the way they sit, how they use their hands, their speech patterns, their facial expressions
• For men: if you are good-looking and successful, downplay your successes. Why? You don’t want to look too perfect, coz you’d end up being categorised as “too good to be true”. True story. *nods to self*

And of course, in coping with rejection – if you do get turned down quite a bit, convince yourself that you are too darn attractive & successful for your own good. #foreveralone

Valentine's Day 2013 poster

On How To Construct The Perfect First Date, and this is an interesting one – while most people think an attractive person makes their hearts beat faster, the opposite is also true –> people whose hearts are beating faster might be more likely to find someone attractive.

So! What does this mean?? It means DUN DO BORING THINGZ! Do exciting thingsss!! Choose an activity that is likely to get the heart racing.
• Steer clear of sunset watching, spas and long walks by the beach… Zzzzz…
• Consider instead a suspense/thriller movie, theme parks, bicycle rides and perhaps a surprise dinner at a small, unknown restaurant in a very ulu place called Telok Kurau. Never heard of such a place, riiiiight? O THE SUSPENSE!! O THE THRILL!!!

The science behind this is that your date will associate a racin’ heart to YOU rather than to the activity, and so convince themselves that you have that special sumthin’-sumthin’ *nudge nudge*

Valentine's Day 2013

Dare to Bare. Dun anyhow think la. Our website is PG-13 one hokay. Dare to Bare means bare the largest and most attractive part of your self — your soul.

Baring starts with sharing.

While we’re known for coining the term Things to Share-share, this V Day we’re classifying the starters under the slightly more classy name of Canapé Board. Why didn’t we pick a more exciting name? ‘Coz we want YOU to be the most exciting thing at the table. Dunch wanna steal your limelight.

Tortilla-crusted chunky avocado fries
On the V Day Canapé Board: Tortilla-crusted chunky avocado fries w spicy tomato cilantro salsa

We’ve made it such that everything on our Valentine’s Day menu is to share-share. CLEVER, NEH?? You’re welcome. Now, we can only do so much for you. Since we’ve taken care of the food-sharing bit, the rest is up to you. You dare to share, but do you dare to bare?

When it comes to The Baring Game, it is a case of taking one step at a time. Bare too much and you’re TOO INTENSE. Bare too little and you’re too cold. Just like food, the temperature has to be just right. Did we just write that? Gawd our tackyness is beyond salvation. ANYHOO.

Shrimp cocktail on mango pana cotta
On the V Day Canapé Board: Shrimp cocktail on mango pana cotta. Presentation may vary on dine-in dates.

Revealing personal information about yourself and prompting your date to do the same can notably increase those ever-essential feelings of intimacy.

Here are ten questions based on items from Arthur Aron’s sharing game to help the process:

1 Imagine hosting the perfect dinner party. You can invite anyone who has ever lived. Who would you ask?

2 When did you last talk to yourself?

3 Name two ways in which you consider yourself lucky.

4 Name something that you have always wanted to do and tell us why you haven’t done it yet.

5 Imagine that your apartment catches fire. You can save only one object. What would it be?

6 Describe one of the happiest days of your life.

7 (Imagine that you are going to become a close friend with your date) – what is the most important thing for her/him to know about you?

8 Tell your date two things that you really like about him/her.

9 Describe one of the most embarrassing moments in your life.

10 Describe a personal problem, and ask your date’s advice on how best to handle it.

You can read more about Aron’s The Sharing Game and the full list of questions here. Begin simply, and we’ll leave you to gauge whether you’re comfortable to progress to more personal and probing questions as the evening advances. Or as your advances advance. HURHURHUR.

Lobsters Inc - A Valentine's Day Menu brought to you by The Garden Slug
V Day Centrepiece: Poached lobster with a velvety white wine thermidor sauce

Bonus Tip for (Heterosexual) Men: Research shows that women rank a man as more appealing after they’ve seen another woman smiling at him or having a good time in his company. So if you want to impress a woman in a bar, at a party, or even just before you begin your evening date at that exciting-yet-unknown restaurant in ulu Telok Kurau — ask a good friend (yes, a female one) to come along and openly laugh at your jokes, then have her quietly slip away. And most importante –> Swear her to secrecy!

Bonus Tip for (Heterosexual) Women: Evolutionary psychologists opine that hungry men ought to show a preference for bigger women because their size suggests access to food. An experiment was conducted asking male students entering or leaving a university dining hall to assess the attractiveness of full-length photographs of women of different sizes. Hungry students rated the heavier women as more desirable. So if you are female, traditionally built, and interested in a guy, suggest going for that all-important drink before a meal, not after. Or try meeting a couple of hours before eating and then insist he have only a light salad. (Which sadly means you may only limit him to the Canapé Board on our Valentine’s Day menu hehehe).

This is when we not-so-discreetly bombard you with photos of Lobsters Inc.
Lobsters Inc - A Valentine's Day Menu brought to you by The Garden Slug

Equal Opportunity Bonus Tips:
• Disagree, Then Agree. Wiseman says,

You might think that constant praise and head nodding is the way to a person’s heart. However, research suggests that this may not be true. People tend to be more attracted to those who start off lukewarm and then become more positive toward the end of the date. So instead of rushing in at a hundred smiles an hour from the very start of the evening, try playing slightly hard to get for the first hour or so and then turn on the charm later.

• Fake a Genuine Smile. Both authentic and fake smiles involve the sides of the mouth being pulled upwards, however only a genuine smile causes crinkling around the eyes. In the subtle science of smiling — smiles that take longer to spread over a person’s face (more than half a second) are seen as very attractive, especially when accompanied with a slight head tilt towards a partner. Ya faster go practise in front of the mirror NAO.

Truffle-some shrooms pesto pasta
On the V Day mains platter: Truffle-some Shrooms Pesto Pasta

And last but not least – For couples who’ve been together for awhile, we’ve all heard the all-too-familiar complaint that “he’s so unromantic”. Let’s put this contention to rest, shall we? Often it’s not that your man is not romantic – science suggests that men and women seem to have very different ideas of what is deemed romantic. Test results reveal that men severely underestimate the romantic value of even the simplest act.

For example, only 11% of men, compared with 25% of women, awarded the maximum score to the item “Tell her that she is the most wonderful woman that you have ever met.” Likewise, 8% of men, but 22% of women, assigned 10 out of 10 points to “run her a relaxing bath after she has had a bad day at work.”

So in defence of the male human species, it is neither reluctance nor laziness in carrying out these romantic gestures, but a simple matter of underestimating how romantic behaviour is perceived by women.

Oxtail Inc - A Valentine's Day Menu brought to you by The Garden Slug
On the V Day mains platter: Cabernet-braised oxtail crumble

Many a survey have been conducted to identify what gestures women view as most and least romantic. We happen to think these apply to anyone really, whether you’re male or female, and interested in men or women. If you want to engage in some heartfelt wooing, these are the top four most romantic gestures in our humble opinion:

1 Cover your partner’s eyes and lead them to a lovely surprise (for example, that ulu mysterious unknown restaurant that we keep talking about?)

2 Whisk them away somewhere exciting for the weekend

3 Write a song or poem about them (you may copy these at your own risk. You’re welcome.)

4 Bring them for a thoughtfully-planned dinner at The Garden Slug? (last-ditch attempt at shameless advertising. yah.)

We understand not everyone will be able to make it for dinner on 14th Feb itself (if you’re like us Slugs and gotta work that day), which is why we’ve made our Valentine’s Day menu available from 14th Feb through to 21st Feb 2013. You’re welcome.

Cupid's Kiss - A Valentine's Day Menu brought to you by The Garden Slug
V Day Cocktail: Cupid’s Kiss – Citrus lime vodka with crushed blackberries

While we may have paraphrased the words, all of the nifty little tips and supported scientific research in this post are from 59 Seconds: Think A Little, Change A Lot by Richard Wiseman.
If you’d like a delightful read that might even change your life, please please get this book!

Valentine’s Day Menu and food pics are of course © The Garden Slug.

Also, this year we’ve invested a little to procure some really good goodies for lucky draw prizes. Here’s a peek at what you can expect to win..
Valentine's Day 2013 - Lucky Draw Prize #1

Valentine's Day 2013 - Lucky Draw Prize #2

As much as we can, we make everything by hand. Same goes for the V Day booking form, hand-coded from scratch – we hope it’s easy on the eye and easy to use as well. Call Joseph 90064163 for general enquiries, and Sharon 92257913 if you have questions regarding your online booking.

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