6 March 2004
Dawn Eden, on the wisdom of compiling lists of desired (and undesired) characteristics possessed by applicants for the position of Significant Other:
[I]f one has not found one's soulmate by a certain point in one's life (let's say, age 35½), one is not going to come any closer to finding that person by compiling "can't stand"s and "must-have"s a la junior high.
Needless to say, she supplemented this wisdom with exactly that sort of compilation, which is of course the very same thing I would have done had I made such an announcement.
And after reviewing her desiderata, I decided that I probably should not make such an announcement. While I know several individuals who match my own list decently well (say, seven or eight out of ten desired characteristics and no real bêtes noires), I also know that when contemplating matters of the heart, my higher brain functions tend to dissolve into synaptic chaos.
Besides, the criteria I apply tend to be either absurdly vague or embarrassingly superficial, to the extent that I have no faith in the ability of those criteria to produce any reasonable results. But what's the alternative? Take the first person who doesn't immediately reject me out of hand? Been there, done that, and the rejection came on its own schedule.
I have never quite believed that there was exactly one person for everyone: the symmetry is beautiful, but the evidence is lacking. I try to encourage my friends who are still looking, lest they become downhearted and frustrated. (Been there, done that too.) But I think there's a definite limit, and not an especially high one at that, to how much you can affect the outcome; the factors that set a relationship in motion, more often than not, are random. (I'm not ruling out divine intervention, but assuming it exists, it is sufficiently unpredictable to meet my definition of randomness.)
And I'm quite a long way past 35½. Had I any sense, I'd accept that there was no one for me, and go on.Posted at 10:34 AM to Table for One