Ten things you need to know about love and romance

Bouquet of flowers by heart shaped box of chocolates and card

Bouquet of flowers by heart shaped box of chocolates and card - Credit: Getty Images

1 Valentine’s Day can be traced back to a raucous Roman festival in February where men stripped naked, grabbed goatskin whips and spanked young maidens in hopes of increasing their fertility.They soon realised that a card, box of chocolates and a bunch of flowers yielded better results.

2 Love truly is blind: Scientists have discovered that in the early stages of love, the neural circuits that control social judgement are suppressed. Much the same result can be obtained by drinking 12 vodkas on an empty stomach.

3 A man’s beard grows fastest and thickest when he is anticipating a night filled with passion. It’s one thing to think of Brian Blessed spending his life in a state of anticipation, but frankly, I draw the line when it comes to Father Christmas.

4 The expression “tying the knot” dates to Roman times, when the bride would wear a girdle tied in knots which the groom then had the pleasure of untying. As Roman grooms weren’t obliged to attend the wedding ceremony, this process could take a while.

5 Men who kiss their wives in the morning live five years longer than those who don’t. Men who kiss another man’s wife in the morning don’t enjoy the same favourable odds.

6 Scientists have revealed that most people will fall in love approximately seven times before marriage and have 12 physical relationships before settling for “the one”. Kissing a poster of Andrew Ridgeley from Wham! in your bedroom at the age of 13 doesn’t count in either category.

7 The word “love” is from the Sanskrit lubhyati, meaning “desire”. Romance is a 13th century word meaning “story of a hero’s adventure”.

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8 Mills and Boon readers recently voted Jane Eyre’s Mr Rochester the most romantic hero of all time – despite the fact he locked his inconvenient, mad wife in his attic and was, by his beloved’s own admission, “very grim” to look at.

9 However unromantic your partner might be, bear in mind that things could be worse – on the Trobriand Islands, near New Guinea, romance apparently involves biting off your girlfriend’s eyelashes. Suddenly, that bunch of flowers from the garage forecourt doesn’t look quite so bad.

10 We are more likely to fall in love with someone we’ve known for years than with a tall, dark stranger. How annoying.

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