love

Love

There are questions: 36 Questions that lead to love

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

Set II

13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

16. What do you value most in a friendship?

17. What is your most treasured memory?

18. What is your most terrible memory?

19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

20. What does friendship mean to you?

21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

Set III

25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling ... “ Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story

26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share ... “

27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.

29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.

32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen."

The "One"

 When you think about it, you meet somebody for the first time, and they’re not presenting their warts-and-all self to you — they’re presenting their idealized self to you, they’re leading with their best. And then, eventually, you’re farting in front of each other. Eventually, you get to see the person who is behind that facade of their best, and they get to see the person your facade, your lie-self — this lie that you presented to them about who you really are. And what’s beautiful about a long-term relationship, and what can be transformative about it, is that I pretend every day that my boyfriend is the lie that I met when I first met him. And he does that same favor to me — he pretends that I’m that better person than I actually am. Even though he knows I’m not. Even though I know he’s not. And we then are obligated to live up to the lies we told each other about who we are — we are then forced to be better people than we actually are, because it’s expected of us by each other. And you can, in a long-term relationship, really make your lie-self come true — if you’re smart, and you demand it of them, and you’re willing to give it to them… That’s the only way you become “the one” — it’s because somebody is willing to pretend you are. “The one” that they were waiting for, “the one” they wanted, their “one.” Because you’re not — nobody is. No two people are perfect for each other, ever, period — No two people are 100% sexually compatible, no two people are 100% emotionally compatible, no two people want the same things. And if you can’t reconcile yourself to that, you will have no relationships that last longer than two months.

And you know what? It’s not going to be their fault — it’s going to be your fault.

 

~Dan Savage

 

What Hurts

Adapted from a 2011 commencement address, it's worth repeating: Liking Is for Cowards.  Go for What Hurts.

"But if you consider this in human terms, and you imagine a person defined by a desperation to be liked, what do you see? You see a person without integrity, without a center. In more pathological cases, you see a narcissist — a person who can’t tolerate the tarnishing of his or her self-image that not being liked represents, and who therefore either withdraws from human contact or goes to extreme, integrity-sacrificing lengths to be likable.

If you dedicate your existence to being likable, however, and if you adopt whatever cool persona is necessary to make it happen, it suggests that you’ve despaired of being loved for who you really are. And if you succeed in manipulating other people into liking you, it will be hard not to feel, at some level, contempt for those people, because they’ve fallen for your shtick. You may find yourself becoming depressed, or alcoholic, or, if you’re Donald Trump, running for president (and then quitting).

...

This is not to say that love is only about fighting. Love is about bottomless empathy, born out of the heart’s revelation that another person is every bit as real as you are. And this is why love, as I understand it, is always specific. Trying to love all of humanity may be a worthy endeavor, but, in a funny way, it keeps the focus on the self, on the self’s own moral or spiritual well-being. Whereas, to love a specific person, and to identify with his or her struggles and joys as if they were your own, you have to surrender some of your self."

~ Jonathan Franzen

Now a Word

I love words. As a kid, I used to tear out pages from my word-of-the-day calendar and paste them to my bedroom walls. So you can imagine my love of word lists! Here's a recent one from Mental Floss that highlights words that are actually older (in usage) than they seem.

Example:

9. Funky

The application of “funky” to music came during the jazz age and started showing up in print in the 1950s, but the “strong smell” sense had been around long before that. Since the 1600s, “funk” was slang for the stale smell of tobacco smoke, and by extension, anything that stank. Cheeses, rooms, and especially ship’s quarters could be described as “funky.”

 

 

Matchmaking Is Not So Easy

From the Talmud to Alvin Roth's blog to here: A Roman lady asked R. Jose b. Halafta: ‘In how many days did the Holy One, blessed be He, create His world”’ He answered: ‘In six days, as it is written, For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, etc.(Ex. XXXI, 17). She asked further: ‘And what has He been doing since that time?’ He answered: ‘He is joining couples [proclaiming]: “A’s wife [to be] is allotted to A; A’s daughter is allotted to B; (So-and-so’s wealth is for So-and-so).”’ Said she: ‘This is a thing which I, too, am able to do. See how many male slaves and how many female slaves I have; I can make them consort together all at the same time.’ Said he: ‘If in your eyes it is an easy task, it is in His eyes as hard a task as the dividing of the Red Sea.’ He then went away and left her. What did she do? She sent for a thousand male slaves and a thousand female slaves, placed them in rows, and said to them: ‘Male A shall take to wife female B; C shall take D and so on.’ She let them consort together one night. In the morning they came to her; one had a head wounded, another had an eye taken out, another an elbow crushed, another a leg broken; one said ‘I do not want this one [as my husband],’ another said: ‘I do not want this one [as my wife].’

 

Midrash Rabbah (VaYikra Rabbah) Translated into English under the editorship of Rabbi Dr. H. Freedman, and Maurice Simon, Leviticus, Chapters I-XIX translated by Rev. J. Israelstam, Soncino Press, London, 1939 Chapter VIII (TZAV)

 

In other words, I've lost all hope for online dating!

The Language of Love

There are many languages of love, but some words are difficult to translate. From the article:

"Koi No Yokan (Japanese): The sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall into love.

This is different than “love at first sight,” since it implies that you might have a sense of imminent love, somewhere down the road, without yet feeling it. The term captures the intimation of inevitable love in the future, rather than the instant attraction implied by love at first sight."

Your Voice

Your voice can now be preserved for posterity. Literally. The Voice Library charges a $50, 5 year subscription to archive your voice. You can give friends and family access, too. Right now I save all of my nephew's voicemails on my phone and it's been a pain trying to get the recordings off my phone for longer term storage. The Voice Library doesn't seem to allow users to transfer in media files. Still, it's an interesting concept and just the tip of many other posthumous digital products.

On Coaching

"...he already knew he could coach. All you had to do was look at at each of your players and ask yourself: What story does this guy wish someone would tell him about himself? And then you told the guy that story. You told it with a hint of doom. You included his flaws. You emphasized the obstacles that could prevent him from succeeding. That was what made the story epic: the player, the hero, had to suffer mightily en route to his final triumph. Schwartz knew that people loved to suffer, as long as the suffering made sense. Everybody suffered. The key was to choose the form of your suffering. Most people couldn't do this alone; they need a coach. A good coach made you suffer in a way that suited you. A bad coach made everyone suffer in the same way, and so was more like a torturer." The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

Dating Sites

Online dating is not fun or particularly effective. When Match.com commercials come on and the announcer says, "1 out of 5 people meet online," my instantaneous reaction is, "That's only 20%!"  

Still, that isn't stopping folks from iterating on the model. Here is a list of the 2012 entrants.

Require Facebook:

1. Yoke.me

2. Skout

3. TheCompleteMe

4. CoffeeMeetsBagel (the twist here is only one match per day; playing the limited time/limited quantity e-commerce angle)

5. MyMatchmaker (here actual matchmakers do the matching)

 

Web Apps:

6. How About We (still a traditional online dating site with profile but concept is to propose dates)

7. FriendlyLook

 

Different Approaches:

8. Hitch.me (this uses your LinkedIn account)

9. Tawkify (dating via the phone with screening of matches by real people)

 

Offline:

10. MeSoFar (based in Chicago; dating by PowerPoint presentation - essentially flirting reduced quite literally to marketing)

11. Urban Girl Squad's Friend of a Friend Singles Party (based in NYC; modeled after Charlotte's "pass the trash" party)

 

Mobile:

12. Grindr/Blendr

13. SinglesAroundMe

 

There are, of course, a ton of dating sites out there, but these seem to be the new ones garnering buzz.

Happy dating!

Single in San Francisco

I definitely related to this good (albeit lengthy) article in The Atlantic. It is a special experience being single past the age of 35, but it doesn't have to be hell. There's a lot packed in the article (lots of academic theories on whether or not the marital landscape is shifting) so I'll highlight what resonated for me:

"I definitely noticed an increase in my own contentment when I began to develop and pay more attention to friendships with women who, like me, have never been married. Their worldviews feel relaxingly familiar, and give me the space to sort through my own ambivalence. That’s an abstract benefit. More concretely, there’s what my brother terms our 'immigrant bucket brigade'—my peer group’s habit of jumping to the ready to help each other with matters practical and emotional. This isn’t to say that my married friends aren’t as supportive—some of my best friends are married!—it’s just that, with families of their own, they can’t be as available."

You Can Like This

Of course Franzen did a better job than I did (see my post on the matter on HuffPo). Franzen and I are both talking about connecting and the illusion that we are when using technology.

I particularly liked (no pun intended) Franzen's final paragraphs:

"Instead of continuing to drift forward through my life as a global citizen, liking and disliking and withholding my commitment for some later date, I was forced to confront a self that I had to either straight-up accept or flat-out reject.

Which is what love will do to a person. Because the fundamental fact about all of us is that we’re alive for a while but will die before long. This fact is the real root cause of all our anger and pain and despair. And you can either run from this fact or, by way of love, you can embrace it.

When you stay in your room and rage or sneer or shrug your shoulders, as I did for many years, the world and its problems are impossibly daunting. But when you go out and put yourself in real relation to real people, or even just real animals, there’s a very real danger that you might love some of them.

And who knows what might happen to you then?"