And they say love is hard to find
Dear Single Friend,
I hear you're not having much fun in the dating game and I really just want to offer my love, support and a wee story that might make you feel a bit better.
But first, let me tell you what I heard a relationship expert say the other day. He said that nearly everybody marries the 'wrong' person. Apparently, attraction and hormones compel us toward people who are not perfectly and completely right for us. But worrying about uncovering something weird about the person you're dating (or worrying you might accidentally reveal something weird about yourself) is pointless. We should all just start off every first date with “So ... tell me about your weirdness?”
I suggest you warm up to this, much like you would when asked about your weaknesses in a job interview. Try to say something that could be endearing or might 'accidentally' reveal a positive: "I know this is weird ... but I love smelling my fresh sheets." [I wash my sheets.]
As time goes on and more weirdness is slowly uncovered, you can turn it into a game. When I was talking with a friend about this, she told me that Dr Seuss described falling in love as a process of finding mutual and compatible weirdness.
But I really just want to make you feel better so I'm going to tell you this story that is guaranteed to be way worse than yours! Hopefully it might even make modern dating look less lonely and difficult after all.
There's this beetle (don't be squeamish now!).
He's called the Death Watch Beetle and I first heard about him on WNYC's RadioLab (great podcasts by the way!). He makes a noise that goes ba-dump ba-dump, ba-dump ba-dump, ba-dump ba-dump. Let me just get this out of the way right now: he's called the Death Watch Beetle because he was responsible for the drumming noises coming from timbers of houses during silent vigils called the death watch — an old custom carried out when loved ones lay dying in their beds at home. Five or six beats, a pause, then another five or six beats. For some time, people believed that it was the devil impatiently drumming his fingers.
But these beetles are actually about 15 years of age before they're capable of making the ba-dump sound. For the previous decade and a half, they've been a tiny larvae inching around inside a log or beam of wood (close to where they were laid as an egg by their mother) and just eating. Eventually, after reaching the (formidable) size of about a 1/4 inch, the larvae chrysalises and hatches as an adult beetle.
Our adult beetle proceeds to crawl out of his timbery sarcophagus. Having spent his whole life munching, he now has only one priority. Finding love. This is all consuming: he can’t dine on woodish delicacies anymore because he has no functioning mouth or intestinal tract. His sole interest is in finding someone to love.
Before he dies. In the next two to three weeks.
Did I mention that he’s virtually blind? Hence the sound he makes. To find his mate, he uses his hard little forehead to beat a rhythm on the surface of the timber and draw attention to himself.
He blunders about blindly, periodically bracing himself to deliver headbutts onto the closest piece of timber: ba-dump ba-dump etc. Then he pauses to listen. If there’s no reply, he headbutts on.
On the off chance that he finds a mate who hasn't been drowned in Mortein, he gets terribly excited. He runs about, banging his forehead in a frenzy. If she's interested, the female replies by banging her own forehead on some nearby timber. She then permits him to drum his forehead on her — a weirdness they mutually enjoy — and they live happily ever after (or for however many hours they have left).
If however, after turning her myopic eyes on him and summing him up as incompatible, she’ll just slip away into the night. He’s not the one for her, she concludes. She’ll wait for a more suitable mate (or die alone if her time is up).
The moral of the story? Cheer up! You have it much better by comparison! You can see, on the whole you live a relatively pesticide-free life, you have this easy swipe-left or -right system of finding compatible weirdos (compared with a headbutt, at least), and you have more than two weeks to do it in! You also get to eat more than fibre, hang out with friends like me :), and engage in all of the weirdly enjoyable experiences that are unique to you.
So, happy hunting! While it must sometimes feel like you're hitting your head against a stump, I hope that one day you'll find someone with whom you can fall into mutual compatible weirdness.
In love and support (and dubious advice!) always,