Somewhere in between Kanye antics and Annie Lenox shutting down Hozier during last week’s Grammys was a match.com commercial. You may know it. A man approaches a woman and wants to know why she hasn’t tried match.com as her sister found her husband through the site and is “living happily ever after.”
You expect the girl to walk away with a thoughtful expression, buy a soy latte and then head to her tiny New York loft apartment. She will bite her lip while she stares at the laptop on her shabby chic desk. The matcher man has made her wonder about the feasibility of having someone else use their super match making software to take the hard work out of Likes, Dislikes, Religious Affiliation, Smoker or Non, etc.
She likely walks by her laptop at least three times before she suddenly decides she wants love, dammit. Fingers fly over keys while she uses her marketing degree to catch her prince.
Flashback to my first experience with a match maker – I was a junior in high school and a personality profiling company convinced students that for $10 each love would be delivered to our Homeroom. It would be there in a week and the name of the man of my dreams was going to appear in dot matrix print.
I had to select whether I would prefer Long Walks On The Beach over a Romantic Dinner Out. At 16 I had never felt a boy’s lips on my own so I imagined Long Walks On The Beach because the other options felt too Lady And The Tramp.
A week later I stared at the printed sheet in my hand while my eyes went wide, “Ohhhhhhh myyyyyyyyy Godddddddd.”
I will refer to my match by his initials.
We weren’t just a little matched. We were like Perfect For Each Other matched. The problem with this was that A.J. was completely and utterly annoying.
He was seventeen. Or maybe eighteen. He had peach fuzz on his ears and teased me incessantly, but always shrugged off his leather jacket when I was cold and had forgotten my own. He’d meet me after my last class and take his jacket from the “matchstick girl” as he walked me to my bus and called me names before I told him I was taking it again tomorrow. I very clearly recall him calling me an albino and telling me I had butter teeth.
This was before the miracle that is Crest White Strips.
When A.J. bought lunch I would eat most of it by the time he sat down. He would shake his head, smile playing at his lips while I would giggle, “I was hungry and you were just ignoring those tator tots like they didn’t have feelings.”
I found him in the courtyard after class staring at his computer print out with a shocked expression on his face, “You are my match?”
I shook my head, “I’m not happy about it either. You must like Long Walks On The Beach, huh? I’d burn.”
There was a lot of teasing. We never pursued a relationship, but I’m fairly certain that had more to do with my inexperience. I didn’t know how to like a boy without being mean to him. I had four older male cousins that regularly drowned me in my aunt’s pool. I only knew how to insult boys and punch them in their junk. The idea that a boy wanted to kiss me made me very nervous. I would almost fall into my shoulders and turn seven shades of shy.
Or disappear down a hallway.
I know. Mad game, right?
The New York Times recently posted an article To Fall In Love With Anyone, Do This by writer Mandy Len Catron. It is based on the study The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness by psychologist Arthur Aron, and suggests that anyone can fall in love if you ask 36 questions. The point is to create interpersonal closeness.
Clearly the school match maker should have stapled these to our match results, help a girl out.
I read over the questions and they are definitely personal. I’d be hesitant to answer some right away and not because I have anything to hide, but because I’d be heading down a path of vulnerability.
But, isn’t that the point?
We spend so much time asking what someone does for a living, if they want children and if they prefer long walks on a beach, we don’t get to the good stuff for quite some time. We are nervous to offend by asking something that could trigger, being too nosy too early, but the study suggests that if you really want to know someone you have to develop intimacy.
What I find fascinating is that the female relationships I have are rich with detail and we sit around and talk about our flaws, our values and our relationships. I could probably answer most of the 36 questions for my girlfriends. Granted, we don’t spend time lusting or courting, but we get to the heart of the person. We get to know each other in a way that is empowering, beautiful and requires no birth control.
I wonder what would happen if every person that reads this tried out the questions (link provided, you are welcome) on your dates, your boyfriends and even your husbands? A husband of twenty years may already know everything about you, but what if he’s forgotten about that dimple you get when you reminisce? What if you’ve forgotten he can be soulful and still make you laugh when you aren’t entangled in children and such?
Do it and report back.
That was my bossy tone.
I don’t in any way knock those that find love on match.com, Congratulations, I hope you get your forever after. I absolutely agree there has to be a screening process to make sure you aren’t having dinner with a dog-eating serial killer or a man with fifteen children who wears clown shoes to bed. Whether you choose that screening process to be a computer’s metrics or your own intuition, I simply suggest that you not be afraid to ask the hard questions, answer the hard questions.
Everyone deserves a little love in their life.
Even the guy with the clown shoes.