Answer this question: what are the top 5 things you look for in a mate?
Most people I’ve asked this question say things like: “physically attractive” “smart” “funny” “kind” “Down-to-earth” etc
Others take on a more exacting method: over six feet tall. Blonde. Big biceps. Ph.d. Neurosurgeon. Super model.
Whatever your descriptors were (and I’m guessing you fell somewhere between the subjectivity of the first answers and the objectivity of the second), now imagine you’ve found this person...online. You’re browsing an online dating site and you come across their profile. Great pictures! And a very thorough description: I am a six foot three neurosurgeon who is kind and down to earth. His pictures reveal his biceps, even when he’s not trying and he’s got great shaggy blond hair. This is the one! So you schedule a date and await the big day, the day you meet your happily ever after. He invites you to a fabulous restaurant and sends a car to pick you up. Everything is perfect. He looks better in person than in his pictures. He’s a gentleman. He talks about himself enough to reveal his inner workings, but he spends more time asking about you, getting to know you. You got everything you wanted, but...it all just felt...well empty. Something was missing. He invites you out again and the same things happens. Everything is exactly as you want it, but there’s an empty feeling in your chest. You tell your best friend about what’s going on and she calls you crazy. He’s what you’ve been talking about your whole life, and now you feel nothing! How’s this possible!
I came across a great quote while in college that perfectly destroyed my being. I’d been in a relationship for about a year and she was moving on. I just sensed it. I loved her, I’d say, and I would do anything to keep her. But nothing was working. Looking back at this time, I imagine I reeked of desperation(but that’s a different topic). Then I came across that quote: “You can’t reason a woman into loving you” And I knew my game was up. I knew that no matter what I did, she was gone and I didn’t like losing that control. And it was probably that need for security that pushed her away in the first place. Someone once told me that the only way to hold a beautiful exotic bird is to not grasp it. The moment you try to hold it, it flies away. But that’s a tangent to the point I’m making:
Love exists at that juncture where reason and feeling transpire. And, in fact, that juncture is fully supported by feelings and offers a launching point for reason. Love exists first and reason happens second. We find reasons to explain our love. And research shows that those reasons are about as accurate as throwing a dart at a spinning globe and calling where it lands “Kansas.” And we now “know” where Kansas is.
The scenario with the neurosurgeon up top is completely baffling, and I imagine for the person experiencing it absolutely confusing, but if we look at where the desire and “love” comes from, we see that it’s all intellectual at first. It starts from the outside and tries to work it’s way in. And I think this is the major problem with online dating is that it’s got everything backwards (and that’s unfortunately the way it has to work because you can’t get a sense of someone's spirit through an online profile, not even if it includes video). At least when people were meeting in bars, they could get a sense (outside of logic and reason) of who the other person was. And they could fall in love at first sight (or is that smell (pheromones)?).
I'll say it, even though it might sound a little weird: I long for those days again.