February 7, 2012 § 201 Comments
From yesterday’s Times:-
One of my closest friends says that she could not care two flying hoots for her husband’s three greatest passions in life after his loved ones: guitars, physics and astronomy. Every Monday evening he drives off to band practice and on clear nights there is no prizing him from his tip-top-tastic telescope. Shared interests? Almost none. Well, perhaps that’s not quite fair, but this pair are not wholly brimming with them and still they are one of the happiest couples I know.
It seems to me that there is a fundamental flaw with any dating system which is bent on matching people by their “shared interests”. As I go a-trawling through various online dating sites, this is the phrase which haunts me most. I don’t even know what my own interests are, really, let alone care about someone else’s (it’s their spirit which counts). I guess mine are people; literature; history; the Arts? Erm… that’s about it. Sounds so arsey, quite apart from limited. Sport is not amongst them in any shape or form. The Olympics will pass by me as a mere dandelion on the vista of my consciousness. I don’t care for computer games one jot, or even music, enormously. Abseiling? You’ve got to be joking. I don’t even like going outside overly, let alone up.
And then I read about the interests of potential mates, and they are not promising. Golf is one which manifestly doesn’t make the heart sing. And a man who is into cars can’t be the man for me. And yet, who knows?
I was once madly in love with a boyfriend who loved nothing more than to sit in a bog at dusk duck shooting. I felt I’d rather he shot me than make me accompany him. For another significant man of my past, cricket was the thing, but very much his not mine. I adored him.
This shared interest business is uncertain. If we all only ever hooked up with folk with whom we shared interests, well, there wouldn’t be so many folk to be doing much hooking up, or anything else for that matter.
If you fall for someone, you do so for any number of complicated, often intangible reasons. It is not about sitting together every evening and knitting guinea-pig clothes, or whatever happens to be your bag. Of course, there are many a blissful couple who enjoy hiking together or who, like my dotty aunt and her husband, relish sitting by the fire and reading Keats to each other in important voices.
But these wretched shared interests which dating sites insist on matching are, surely, a red herring. They give rise to false promise and dodgy hope. The spirit’s the thing and, if you are a plankton, luck plays a huge part. There is no accounting for either.