I think the most important thing for you to know about me is that my atomic number is 9. This tells you a lot about my temperament, my place in the world, and my personality. I am incredibly reactive. Don’t let this scare you off now, ladies. It is simply in my nature and I cannot hold myself back, no matter what the cost. Perhaps it would make you feel better if I told you that my atomic weight is 18.998? See now, I’m not some gigantic element who can easily overpower you. I have strength, to be sure, but I am not some burly brute who will intimidate you with my size.
I should tell you that my valence shell already has 7 electrons in it. I have been known to readily form compounds with other elements in the past, but I am not looking to bond with as many atoms as I can, no, I am simply looking for that last electron to fill my valence shell and to keep me stable. You must understand and come to know my other 7 valence electrons, however, and that isn’t always easy. I know how stubborn you electrons can be about getting to know one another. See to it that you’re civil with one another though, because you’ll have to share a room with another one of my electrons. Oh, and I hope you don’t mind if I refer to you all as my valence vixens. I think it has a nice ring to it and I figured I should give a more special name to my electrons who participate in chemical reactions.
As I told you before, I am incredibly reactive. What I didn’t mention before is that I’m also a poisonous gas. I know, I know, you’ve met poisonous gases before and they were power hungry jerks. That’s just not me, and if you’ll give me a chance, I know we’ll get along wondefully. Okay, I’m really getting nervous about telling you this last part: I am the most chemically reactive and electronegative element there is. So maybe I’m reactive, but I feel like its part of my charm and, really, who doesn’t want a passionate mate? The electronegative part just feels like a bad stereotype. I’m my own man and I think being electronegative can be a really positive thing (get it? Haha.).
I’ll also be good to you. I’ll help you to prevent tooth decay and isn’t that what we’re all really looking for in a relationship? If I were a bad guy, why would they put me in tap water? They wouldn’t. And, not to brag, but I have been involved in combination with some of the noble gases, including Argon, Krypton, Xenon, and Radon. They’re very particular about who they bond with, as we all know, so maybe there’s something special about me that you just have to look a little more deeply to see.
It’s very important to me that you get to know my friends. My friend, Carbon, for instance is an amazing guy. We have the strongest bond in organic chemistry and, trust me, that’s saying something. We have a very stable relationship, so stable in fact that we are actually responsible for Teflon. If that doesn’t impress you, then I don’t think anything will. Another good friend of mine is Hydrogen, though I think we have a somewhat tumultuous friendship. If we get together, even if it’s cold and dark out, we react explosively with one another. I still love the guy, so he’s very important to me, but even when he’s a liquid and I’m a solid, we clash. Oh boy, and you do not want to throw Oxygen into the mix with us. You see, Oxygen and Hydrogen are very close and they have a bond so strong that they have their own couple name. Like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie form Brangelina, Oxygen and Hydrogen form Water. When the air is moist, I react with Water to form Hydrofluoric Acid. If you thought Hydrochloric Acid was bad, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
Now, I have to be honest and tell you that I do have multiple isotopes. This is a touchy subject for me because only one of them is stable. He’s 19. The others have short half-lives and are not found in nature. I guess this makes me a mononuclidic element, huh? My isotope who is 18 has the longest half-life of all of my isotopes and he’s very successful. He’s used in PET scans. Listen to me, going on and on about my isotopes.
I am looking to settle down now, but a couple of things are stopping me. For one, I have a very pungent odor. It’s characteristic of me and who I am, but some people have a problem with it. I’ve lived with it for so long that I don’t even notice it anymore. I’m also very difficult to isolate. Many have tried before and lost their sight or even their lives. One man did finally isolate me in the 1800s and for that he won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1906, but we kind of grew apart after that. We just wanted different things. I think he was only in it for the fame and fortune.
To sum it all up, I am a highly reactive halogen who wants to bond with one more electron in an effort to become stable. I’m the most electronegative element, but I feel like my covalent behavior makes up for that. I may be small in atomic size, but I am a smooth operator. After all, my name comes from the Latin “fluere”, which means flow. Give me a chance, ladies. My atomic number may be 9, but I am most definitely a 10.