Flavonoid Behavior Theory

Have you ever wondered why so many handsome men are jerks and so many hot women lack self-esteem? In other words, why do so many people who look perfect on the outside turn out to be so defective on the inside?

I stumbled across a possible answer while reading about–wait for it–tomatoes.

The April 2008 issue of Psychology Today magazine has an article entitled “Booty Marks” by Daniel A. Marano. (If you like seeing the human mind stripped naked and documented in a variety of new positions, I recommend the brain porn that is Psychology Today.)

The article says that small, scraggly fruits and vegetables are healthier for you than the bowling ball-sized tomatoes and oranges on grocery store shelves. When a plant is stressed by drought or lack of sun, nature copes by reducing the size and overall attractiveness of its fruit, leaving it small and gnarly in appearance. According to Marano, “Compact size concentrates the flavonoid phytochemicals that have significant benefits to human health.”

Flavonoids–what a terrible name, was flavosputum already taken?–as well as carotenoids and lycopene are phytochemicals that are produced by plants as a means of coping with stress. All of these things are good for you. Flavonoids, for example, contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents and help fight cancer.

Bottom line: The smaller and nastier the fruit, the better it is for you.

All of which leads me to one possible reason why so many handsome guys are jerks and so many hot women lack self-esteem. According to my Flavonoid Behavior Theory, the handsome and hot endure less stress in life than the non-handsome and hot. As a result, the handsome and hot do not build up the emotional and intellectual phytochemicals that enable the rest of us to be decent, confident human beings.

(This theory also applies to rich heirs and heiresses.)

Let’s say the handsome and hot make up 25 percent of the population, with the other 75 percent ranging between attractive and dumpster. That 25 percent has a lot of things handed to them in life. Doors are opened simply because of the way they look. It happens in relationships, in business, in politics, in doorways. This situation appears to be ideal, but in the end you have adults who act like 12-year-olds because that’s the age when life stopped dealing them things to be stressed about.

The other 75 percent of us must undergo periods of sexual drought and party darkness, often referred to as the teenage years, or in some cases, the now. Our personal flavonoids help us cope with life’s disappointments and we learn to value traits besides good looks. The stress helps make us better people.

According to the Psychology Today article:

“The insults and injuries that plants endure in the wild … provoke their natural defenses and yield fruit that is seldom bigger but often more richer than its commercial cousin.”

Sounds like a description of a lot of people I know.

This is not to say that suffering is a virtue. It’s not. Overcoming challenges is what builds up our personal flavonoids.

According to Flavonoid Relationship Theory, if you want a long-term relationship, the big, bright tomato is a non-fulfilling choice. It looks good on the outside, but there is little worthwhile on the inside. According to plants-hey, they have been on the planet longer than us-that which is not smoking hot on the outside stands a decent chance of being smoking hot on the inside.

Am I telling you to chase fatties and dogs? No. Chasing fatties and dogs is a joy unto itself and has nothing to do with Flavonoid Theory. This is not a call to go, in the immortal words of my freshman roommate Dom, “Hoggin’.”

I think what nature is trying to tell us is that the tomato that has experienced no stress in life is probably an airhead tomato. The tomato that has dealt with some stuff and got through it can e-mail me for dinner and dancing at contactjoed@gmail.com.

Joe Donatelli
Joe Donatelli is a writer in Los Angeles

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