The Science of Spring Fever

A curious thing happens once a year here in New York City (NYC). Those who have experienced it can smell and anticipate the phenomenon. Upon its arrival NYC locals relish

  • PublishedJune 1, 2012

A curious thing happens once a year here in New York City (NYC). Those who have experienced it can smell and anticipate the phenomenon. Upon its arrival NYC locals relish each and every second of it like a hyperactive child on a sugar high. It’s as if a magical light bulb in the sky has been switched on and all the beautiful puppets that grace the streets of NYC have suddenly been powered to life. Actually, it’s not as if, this is precisely what happens.

Welcome to the very special, ever elusive, initial days of springtime in this great city. It is so much more than just rays of sunshine after a long, bleak winter, or finally ironing out the sundress and shoving the lumpy winter jackets to the back of the closet. Not to diminish saying goodbye to winter, for that is a huge deal in and of itself. The end of months of hibernation opens floodgates of relief, childlike awe and overwhelming gratitude for Mother Nature. The hemlines get shorter, the colors get brighter, the pale skin is exposed, the body relaxes, the smiles become luminous and the laughter is utterly contagious. Basically sheer unadulterated happiness.

But it’s more than happiness that drifts in the air. You can smell the potential in the air. The, ‘what if?’ that lingers upon every encounter. There’s fragile anticipation. There’s uncertainty. There’s an empty path waiting to be trekked. There’s a glistening crystal blue pool of deep, deep longing. There’s an indecipherable need that instantaneously mounts itself to individuals. This bone quivering thirst is seemingly unquenchable, yet there is no rhyme or reason for it’s manifestation.

“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”

Mark Twain, American Author and Poet

This is as much of an internal biological shift as it is an external awakening of entire populations. As the trees blossom, the outdoor cafe chairs emerge and the sandals hit the streets, your mind and body can focus on one thing only: go forth and multiply.

I am not kidding you. The so-called ‘spring fever’ plight is very real and very severe in a jam-packed NYC where diseases spread like the plague and cause havoc in mere seconds. And no one, I repeat, no one, is immune. It’s a time where a casual bar scene turns into an intense game hunt, where the scent of pheromones practically clouds the air, where nonchalant gazes spark wildfires of scorching desire. Yes, it really is that intense.

Having observed the varying degrees of human absurdities when it comes to springtime behavior and interaction, I’d like to unveil to you the simply marvelous science of spring fever. Based partly on scientific research and mostly on me attempting to sound clever, spring fever occurs in various stages, sometimes appearing subtly or sometimes slapping you in the face with surprising vigor. What makes spring fever so potent is that it’s a once a year phenomenon; it appears and then dissipates, leaving many ailing individuals in its wake, left to suffer into the swelter summer in utter confusion.

The singular most important takeaway from the science of spring fever is this: Sunlight is the cause and culprit of all hereto-mentioned ailments. Or more specifically – sudden, unexpected bursts of sunlight hitting unsuspecting forlorn individuals is what causes so much damage. Sunlight is evil. Beware of sunlight.

That said; here are the various stages I’ve managed to decipher, brought to you as life saving lessons. And to make your life even easier I’ve spent numerous hours creating a go-to formula for you to refer to when any symptoms arise.


You cannot, under any condition, trust your judgment during those first warm days of spring, especially when members of the opposite sex are concerned. Case in point: a girl wearing a short skirt is not simply a girl in a short skirt. Against all rationale she will become THE woman of your dreams with the longest, leanest legs you’ve ever seen. You will swear on your life that she must be the goddess of all supermodels, even if your ‘as-yet-to-be-afflicted’ brothers proclaim otherwise. And that exposed shoulder of hers? It will look like the most perfectly molded shoulder that has ever graced this earth. You will feel the urge to stare at it for all eternity. And her smile, oh my goodness, her smile! It will send you into a drunken stupor making you feel like you’re drifting through heaven on earth. You will simply have to have her. No ifs and/or buts.

But trust me when I say this, a few months down the line your six-foot tall supermodel shoulder goddess will morph into a five-foot short, unbearable, yapping creature. The sight of her, or any woman’s, exposed shoulder will hardly faze you, and who will have the time to even notice all the smiling, scantily clad women around when there is so much beer to be consumed? Not you, certainly. The same goes for women, by the way. Only insert an Italian soccer god with exposed biceps instead of a supermodel shoulder goddess, and wine instead of beer.

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