'Tis the time of year to talk about all things love-related. (It's Valentine's Day, natch.) But this year we're thinking outside of the box -- not your usual dinner and cocktail conversation! We're wondering, is it possible to just ask 36 questions to fall in love?
Sounds crazy, I know. But after reading Mandy Len Catron's article in The New York Times, which is her firsthand account of a behavioral study conducted by one Dr. Arthur Aron, I couldn't help but wonder if it would be the key to having someone on the other end of my spaghetti noodle on V-Day. Here's how it worked in Dr. Aron's study: each couple asked each other 36 questions, then stare four minutes into each other's eyes and presto, a couple in the study was married in the next six months. Sounds downright easy!
So last week, I attended an experiment attempting to match single New Yorkers exactly with this study in mind. The set-up, though, was somewhat different from Catron's story. After checking in for the event, we were greeted with a series of tables set up in a church gymnasium. There were three couples placed at every table. The scene was slightly reminiscent of a middle school dance with soda pop and Valentine's Day decorations, but I didn't let the looks defeat me!
At the head of the room, an MC announced each question, and a hype man controlled the clock as all questions were allotted two minutes of discussion time. After very little small talk, my blind date and I jumped right into the questions without looking back! The first set of questions began easily enough with "Who would you want as a dinner guest?" and "Would you like to be famous? In what way?" and gradually arrives to the more intimate ones such as, "What roles do love and affection play in your life?" and "When did you last cry in front of someone? By yourself?"
Although it turned out to be a good exercise in getting to know someone, an initial spark between the two parties and a more comfortable environment would have been better for fostering a an actual connection. Personally, I would have been more at home in a bar (which was similar to Catron's experience). Thankfully, the situation became a little less awkward when my partner and I started chatting with another duo at the table (the third couple seemed to be really hitting it off, making plans to possibly attend the US Open tennis tournament together next summer). This changed the experience from a slightly awkward first "date" to a group chat between new friends. Not quite love, but definitely an interesting night out!