Yesterday, someone sent me a link to an article suggesting that according to a study done by eHarmony, people tend to say opposites attract, but based on how they fill out their online dating preferences questionnaire, people actually want something closer to home. And by “closer” I mean “almost identical” to themselves. When I was dating back in the stone age, if I had filled out a screening form of preferences, it would have looked like this:
- Must love books.
- Has to have the same sense of humor as me (except back in those days I would have said, “Has to have a sophisticated sense of humor.” I now see how judgmental and shitty that is. Because really I’m just putting down anyone who doesn’t laugh at my jokes. Which I think are fancy apparently.)
- Must have really good taste in music. This is nonnegotiable.
- Must be curious about international news and happenings. I am an NPR junkie, after all. This point is also nonnegotiable.
- Kind, compassionate, attractive, blah blah blah, oh and Catholic. I had never dated a practicing Catholic. Might be worth a try, since I’m a practicing Catholic.
And then came Sal, who is now my husband. He was:
- A self-proclaimed “non-reader.” (uh oh)
- A very literal mind, not looking for someone with a dark/weird sense of humor (crap.)
- Had an aversion to NPR, because it’s “depressing as hell.” (yikes)
- Had more than one Hootie and the Blowfish song in his CD collection (oh the HUMANITY).
- Took me to Sunday Mass and then dinner for our first date (wait, WHAT?!)
According to eHarmony’s stats, this is a first date that should never have happened. Certainly it would have ended after the first date given our preferences. Our interest in each other shouldn’t have survived me traipsing around Europe for 6 weeks with my friends, flush from a dot-com implosion severance package. And by, God, Hootie alone should have dashed any hope of actually making it past the first year or two.
To be fair, I’m sure he was probably hoping for someone who didn’t walk over piles of dirty clothes on the floor repeatedly. He’s Sicilian, he values good food. He probably would have opted for a woman who could actually cook. As a mostly left-brain dominant person, he probably was hoping for someone less… emotionnnnalll than I am.
But here we are, celebrating ten years of marriage TODAY, August 7th, and thirteen years of togetherness, and I can tell you, I’m as into him now as I was on our first date, only at a totally different level. The kind of love that gets you down the aisle is one thing, but the kind of love that is hard won through high risk pregnancies, career changes, financial worries, aging parent issues, the death of people we love… that kind of love isn’t glamorous, but as my mother always says, “that’s REAL romance. Not that Hollywood crap.”
What We Think We Want vs… ?
What we think we want occupies this weird space in our psyche where we put all of our limited, small beliefs about ourselves and other people. Based on my experience, when the Universe gives me something great, it blows my tiny mind, and I think “This is so much more awesome than anything I could have come up with.” I think about my wedding day, the birth of each of each of our babies… I think about my two best friends Aaron and Naomi and they get me at a level I never thought possible, and I them... all of these things are so far beyond anything my pathetic imagination could have cooked up, it’s laughable.
The same goes for partners. I couldn’t really have known what I wanted until Sal showed up on my doorstep for our blind date. I couldn’t have made the mental calculations that would have predicted me falling madly in love with someone who rarely read for pleasure, and who cranked “HOLD… MY… HAND…” in the car.
But after a few dates with this guy, I couldn’t stop thinking about him and his earnest interest in being good to the world… In eventually becoming a great father… In how nonjudgmental and accepting he was of people in general. I couldn’t have predicted how attracted I would be to his whole being – not just his foxy Al-Pacinio-Circa-Godfather-1 looks. I couldn’t have known how wonderful it would be to share my religious beliefs and upbringing with my partner and best friend.
It was truly a revelation.
It still is. 10 years into our marriage, and we have created three new humans who are hilarious and precious and wise, and who have become our greatest teachers. We have acquired and raised a giant dog who quietly keeps us all in orbit with that style of unconditional love that only a Golden Retriever is able to give. We’ve developed a friendship and romance that is stronger than steel, but that we guard as if it’s as delicate as a spider web (on good days).
And to think … if I were on a dating site that would have filtered out Sal… What a different life I would have had! Probably a lesser kind of life, but maybe not. But I wouldn’t trade this life with him for anything.
So if you are in the hunt for The One, ignore the filters. Don’t put limits on what fate can serve up. Fate/the Universe/God has much better taste than we do most of the time. I don't know what that means for online dating, but consider being more liberal with your tastes.
These days, Sal’s music selections have now way surpassed mine. He is now the one that introduces cool music to the house – not me. Not only that, he reads almost as much as I do now (and that’s saying something. I have a book addiction that is… expensive). Though he still refuses NPR.
For my part, I still walk over the piles of clothes, but I am getting a little better at cooking. I should probably find out what was on his nonnegotiable list. It may help with the next 10 years.
To my beloved Sal, happy anniversary Babe. You are still the best decision I ever made. I can't wait for our date in the City on Saturday. Let's try and hit Mass Sunday morning on our way out of town.
And lastly, BIG shout outs to my brother-in-law Phil who introduced us. Without Phil, I'd be married to some other dude, and probably thinking about having an affair with this mysterious Sicilian American named Sal....