It’s been two years since Mandy Len Catron, a sessional lecturer in English and creative writing at the University of British Columbia, offered the world a tempting experiment to “fall in love with anyone.”
The tradeoff is very superficial interactions with many people over a short period of time.
Part of the popularity of these 36 questions is that they offered an alternative, a way to deeply connect with just one person. It’s a way into intimacy that feels safe. It’s scary to say to someone you’ve just met, “Let me tell you about my relationship with my mother.” The questions provide a mechanism for doing that. All you have to say is, “I read about this cool study. Do you want to try it?”
The questions are so specific that people do learn something about their partners or about themselves. When I did it, I was surprised by some of my own answers sometimes.
Originally, researchers dubbed these questions the “fast friend protocol.” They used it to create closeness. It seems to consistently work among all different kinds of groups.
Suggesting, as you do, that people could “fall in love and be relatively happy with a significant number of people,” this is an optimistic and humanizing outlook. It tosses out the soulmate idea and recognizes that more than one good person is out there.
Obviously, the reality is quite different. There aren’t a lot of narratives that tell us what to do after we’ve found a partner. People aren’t equipped to deal with it because we don’t talk about it very often.
Jul. 27, 2017 "Sifting through romantic mythology": Today I found this article by Katherine Laidlaw in the Globe and Mail:
The closest humankind has come to manufacturing love in a lab is a list of questions developed by American husband-and-wife psychiatry team Arthur and Elaine Aron.
“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?” one of the 36 questions reads.
In Catron’s essay, which became one of the most-read New York Times pieces of the year, she takes us through a dreamy first date. It begins sitting across from a man in a bar and ends staring into his eyes for four minutes on a Vancouver bridge, as the questionnaire dictates.
It’s a delightful conceit, the idea that you could expose your deepest wishes to a virtual stranger and, two hours or so later, emerge with love, that most elusive of feelings.
As each unravels, she searches for clues in the lore that makes up her family history, looking for scripts that have influenced her own ideals about love. She takes us back to a coal camp in Appalachia in 1944, where her 15-yearold grandmother marries her 31year-old grandfather to better their economic circumstances. She unearths some complicated truths about her parents’ marriage that make her realize it wasn’t the wonderland she saw through her childhood eyes.
She sticks it out, and later explains that she wasn’t sure if or when she was allowed to ask for what she wanted. I was immediately reminded of my 20-year-old self, yearning but not knowing how to articulate that I wanted clearer bounds.
The way she describes her long-time boyfriend in the relationship’s nascent stages is lovely, that feeling that you’ve discovered some new way to breathe by watching another person complete the most menial of tasks: “That’s how I fell in love with him in college, when we slept belly to back, my nose tucked against his neck, when the daytime was just a placeholder for the night.”
Love doesn’t always strike like a thunderbolt, Cupid and psyche-style. Still, I had trouble with the premise uniting these pieces. Most of the lovers I know have let their fairy tales fall away long ago.
Now, they talk about the benefits of monogamy versus open relationships; the cresting and breaking of desire; the efficacy of marriage in an era where women don’t need it; the would-be mothers who are racing against time.
Catron touches on these themes, but I was left wanting more. That the takeaway of her lyrical exploration of her grandmother’s marriage was that Catron has choice where her grandmother did not felt soft. She analyzes Sixteen Candles and Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity and Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, contrasting them with the narratives that make up her own romantic mythology to conclude that real love stories are so much messier than our fairy tales allow. But we knew that, didn’t we?
Proving Catron’s ultimate point, I wanted a happy ending, a formula or at least some reassurance, but there was none. People leave. Love fades or, worse, flames out. Reading these pieces left me with a deep, unshakeable anxiety because I know that what Catron says about how unlikely our modern expectations of relationships are is true, but, like so many, my heart keeps on shouting louder than my brain does.
The longer I stewed about it, the more I considered that maybe Catron’s closing advice is simple because it’s all we know for sure: Be kind to each other, as kind as you can be. The rest – attraction, chemistry, timing, circumstance – just isn’t up to you.
Yahr in the Edmonton Journal. I tried to copy and paste the article, but I couldn't access it. It's about celebs apologizing for things they said and did, that don't have anything to do with harassment.
Lorde: talking about Taylor Swift and their friendship. "There are certain things you can't do together." Lorde apologizes.
My opinion: I accept her apology, but that's what friends do with the activities.
Jessica: I asked her if she wanted to go to K-days with me and she didn't like amusement parks.
Sonia: I asked her if she wanted to see a scary movie with me, but she didn't like scary movies.
Josh Groban: He made a light fun joke about Mariah Carey's disastrous lip-syncing incident. I only saw a bit of him on Oprah and Glee. He said: "Deleted my tweets about a certain performance because it was made in humor but taken way more meanly than intended. Not out to diss artists."
My opinion: I accept his apology. Also Carey is a public person and I bet a lot of people other than Groban dissed her. Carey's fans did support her.
My opinion: I accept your apology. However, what was the punchline?
Dec. 28, 2017 Immigrant family story: I was talking to the cook R and he's from Bangladesh. He said his mother-in-law is finally able to permanently stay in Canada after she's been trying to immigrate here since 2009.
He asked for 2 passes to get into the Waterpark at WEM. All the workers get 3 passes a month. He wanted 2 more so he and all his family could go there so I gave it to him.
I hope all of you are grateful for your family.
Or at least that you're in Canada.
Don't be jealous: So my boss C told me about a time she had a driver's test.
C: The teacher seemed jealous of me having a nice car when we were doing the test. He asked me "Is this really you car?"
C (paraphrase): People should not be jealous of other people. They should focus on themselves.
Eye clinic job interview: I did an interview last week.
1. It was part-time. 3 days with the possibility of more.
2. The pay was fine. There is the benefits of monthly bonus of selling the monthly eye glasses.
3. I can do the job of answering phones, pre-testing, cleaning.
4. It was a small office. 4 people worked there.
1. This is a mild con. It was far away with 1 bus and an LRT. It was a little walk to get there. 1 hr.
My opinion: I would work there if I got hired.
On an unrelated note, the woman who interviewed me was like the East Indian version of Mayim Bialik (Amy from The Big Bang Theory).
A couple's fight goes viral: It's not a video, it is someone tweeting a couple arguing:
21 things your partner should never ask you to: It's fast and easy read. 1 line and picture with it. A lot of things you can apply to friends or family members.
Telus on Demand: There is a "Healthy Living" section of guided mediations that are like 12 min. long that I listen to.
Post Secret: I found this on Dec. 9, 2017 "I've spent more time downloading meditation apps than I have meditating."
Quantum Success Show: This is from Christy Whitman.