Monday, July 19, 2010

How important is chemistry?

I recently reconnected with a friend (I love the word reconnected) and had an awesome conversation about dating, and what makes men and women do the things they do. Human nature, always something I'm interested in.
It was a long day of working, on a weekend no less, so I welcomed the break when he called, and walked away from the madness that is my worklife.
Our discussion led with: why do we ignore what's right in front of us, completely absorbed by that shiny object in our peripheral vision.
One scenario:
A guy, who seems very down, tells me about a girl that is frustrating him. The one thing I continue to hear over and over is, "she's very pretty" and I hear emphasis in his voice on the word pretty. I ask, what do you have in common? What does she like to do? Knowing this person well, I can judge for myself if they are compatible based on his answers. His reply to my first question is, "well, she goes out to bars and does shots" etc. Hmmm okay, you're not really a drinker but let me dig further. What does she like to read? "She doesn't really read". What t.v. shows is she interested in? "She doesn't watch t.v." (say what?)
Does she have any favorite movies? "Well not really". Okay are you sure you're having a conversation with her? I say this tongue-in-cheek, and not out loud, I'm just thinking to myself. He admits that it's a struggle in trying to have dialogue when obviously they don't have much in common. Yet.....he seems very down about the fact that she's not really engaging in conversation with him. Regardless of having nothing in common, he wants to do everything he can to talk to her and make this connection.

How important is chemistry?

I've asked a lot of people this question. The answer I received the most was, very important, especially when you first meet someone. Unfortunately, in the dating world these days, I've learned that the way someone looks, to the observer, plays the biggest role on whether a conversation can even begin between the two people. I say unfortunately because I've learned that it's so much better to give the conversation a chance even if he doesn't look like Brad Pitt. I don't look like Angelina for godsake. =)
The person attempting to talk to either the beautiful girl, or handsome guy, also has a totally compatible friend who they are comfortable talking to, and laughing with, and sharing their life story with. But what does human nature do? It bypasses the compatible one standing right in front of them, and becomes distracted by the shiny one they can barely talk to.
This happens with both men and women from what I've come to understand, in listening to my single friends stories about their dating lives. Depending upon maturity levels, the list of must-haves evolves from one thing to another as we grow and learn about what we want in a life partner.
When I was in my twenties I am sure that what someone looked like was the main thing I cared about. I can admit that here, I'm being honest. As I grew more mature, I've come to realize that it's not as important. But chemistry is.

"Do I love you because you're beautiful, Or are you beautiful because I love you?-~Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, Cinderella

What's more important to me now, is what's inside their soul. What motivates them? And is their 'core' one that matches my 'core'? When my grandpa passed away would this have been someone I could have comfortably stood next to, knowing that they would make me feel less sad just by being there? When we turn 70 years old and can't physically do as much as we used to, is this someone I enjoy having a conversation with? Someone whose opinion means something to me, and mine to them?

If I ask my single male friends what they are looking for in a mate, they insist they are looking for someone who brings something more to the table. And yet, when it comes time to make their selection they often choose just the opposite. Let me clarify, not all, just some. We know what’s good for us and yet at times we choose differently. And some of my single women friends do the bad boy thing. "I know Chris is bad for me and yet, this weekend I called him and when he didn't return the call, I was sad".

I read something recently that said "Ever notice that our looks fade about the same time as our eyesight starts to fail?" It was enlightening to me in a way. When you fall in love with someone and then spend your life with them, you're going to see them aging along with you. But that won't change how you feel about them if that love you grew into at the beginning, is real. My grandparents used to see the 15 year old they fell in love with, (yes really, 15) standing in front of them at the age of 60. I'm sure of this because of the way they treated each other. That thought was cemented when I watched my grandpa go to her hospital room where she was recovering from a stroke, every single day and stay with her until nighttime and she slept.

I am so attempting to resist making this all about one of my favorite movies, The Notebook. But this scene comes to mind. Noah is elderly, and Allie is suffering from Ahlzheimers, and living in a home where she can be cared for. He goes to visit her every day. When talking to his children who are trying to get him to just go home, because she doesn't even recognize her own children, he replies with "That's my sweetheart in there. Wherever she is, that's where my home is"

I will end with this, I do believe chemistry is important. We can't help who we are attracted to in the dating game. I just think that when it comes time to ask the important question, "will you spend your life with me?", or even just "will you go out with me?, that the person we are asking should be one we can enjoy in all ways, not just enjoy looking at.

French breakfast on the horizon. I miss Paris and will try to recapture it any way that I can. Croissant and fromage anyone?
See you soon,

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