Wine recommendation for this post:
Two big Zinfandels to recommend for this post on love…both bottles I’ve found over anniversary dinners. And beyond both beings Zins, they have a particular quality in common…a big finish! The first, Artezin, is a medium weight Zinfandel with notes of raspberry on the nose, with lots of spice and oak on the finish. The other, Klinker Brick, is a favorite with bold flavors right from the get go. The definition of a “jammy” Zin, with lots of red fruit flavor and a spicy, pepperiness throughout. Good mouth feel, and another long, smooth finish on the end. Either is sure to add a bit of boldness and spice to your Valentine’s Day!
They say you can find love in 36 questions…
This phenomenon was most famously documented in a study by psychologist Arthur Aron whose experimental subjects were married six months after participating in Aron’s love lab. The experiment was more recently brought to light in a 2015 Modern Love column by Mandy Len Canton in the New York Times.
The premise is simple: two strangers ask each other a series of 36 questions that become increasingly intimate, and end their conversation by making uninterrupted eye contact for four minutes. By the end of the experience, theoretically, the shared vulnerability will bond the two people together as partners, and present a foundation on which a relationship can move forward.
Along with the column, the New York Times posted the thirty-six questions that were part of Aron’s experiment. I’ve always been a little bit fascinated by the list because, as it turns out, my own romance was started on its own very unofficial, unscientific list of questions.
It is not particularly unusual for couples to meet online these days. I’ve been to three weddings (not including my own) at which the couple met on a dating site or app. My brother just got engaged to a woman he met on an app. More interestingly, of all the people I know that have met their partner on a dating site…including myself…no two couples met on the same dating site! This is, perhaps, a testament both to the fact that online dating has become not only common in practice, but also expansive as an industry chock full of options for just about any niche and demographic.
From my own experience, and the experiences of my friends/family, I’ve come to understand that regardless of the app or site, there’s a lot that’s similar about the “meat market” of online dating. One major difference, however, seems to be what you get for your money (or what you get for free!), and what happens immediately after you match with someone. Whether you’re swiping, liking, nudging, or messaging, after you’ve committed the required action, how do you progress off the screen?
When my best friend was on eHarmony, she found out that without paying for the full service, you could match with people and message them…but not see their pictures. They quickly arranged a first date so as to find out if they were really attracted to each other at all. (You could also, consequently, quickly pay the membership fee and save yourself a potentially bad afternoon!)
Another friend using Tinder found that you could quickly look through hundreds of people in a sitting…and also pretty quickly move those people off the app and into a real life rendezvous if you were looking to do so.
On Match.com where I resided, paying my membership fee got me access to my “inbox” where my personal messages were kept. Prior to subscribing to the service, you could look at profiles, see people’s pictures, even match with them and send a message, but you couldn’t use the site’s inbox to see who responded to you, or who messaged you first, without joining. Once you paid up…all your return messages became available. It took daily email reminders from the platform, and 43 messages waiting in my Match.com inbox, before I finally ponied up to see who was there.
Let the record show that I messaged Josh first. Let the record also show that I read a book on the most successful strategies for finding love on online dating websites that included a formula for crafting the perfect opening message to someone you were interested in.
And if you’re laughing at the fact I did that…let the record also show that it did, in fact, work! So the last laugh is mine!
What transpired after that first message, however, is probably not how Match.com anticipated most relationships playing out. Josh and I started emailing…daily…loooooong emails. And somewhere along the way, he started adding questions to the end of the emails. Three questions a day which I would answer and pose back to him along with a “return question.” Thus commenced our very own love experiment. How many questions would it take to fall in love over email? Was that even possible?
It took twenty-six questions before he asked if we could meet in person.
It was forty six questions before he asked for my phone number.
It was ninety-nine questions before we actually sat down and had coffee.
The night before our first date we joked that either there was going to be physical chemistry and it’d be a done deal, or there wouldn’t and we’d have to figure out how to go back to being pen pals.
Were we “in love” when we finally met in person on our first date? When I asked Josh this question in hindsight he first answered, “I don’t know. I don’t think so. But I think I knew I could fall in love with you very very easily.” Then he thought about it for a minute and said, “Then again, I also told myself you shouldn’t fall in love with someone you’ve never met face to face. So it’s possible I was in denial.”
Our list has no scientific value…no control against which to measure it…and no track record other than our own marriage behind it. But, nevertheless, this Valentine’s Day…with Josh’s permission…I’ve decided to share our “experimental list” of questions that led to our love story! Whether you’re single, currently in the dating game or just looking to see how much you know about your current partner, maybe you’ll find a conversation starter.
If nothing else…you can share a laugh at the expense of a weirdo blog writer who read a book on online dating and then answered 46 personal questions before giving a guy her phone number!
99 Questions to Find Love?
- Any places on your bucket list you want to travel?
- Any recommendations on must read books you’ve discovered?
- What’s a goal you’re working towards?
- Who is a role model outside your family you look up to?
- Spicy or sweet?
- Are you a tv/movie watcher? What are your favorites?
- What would you do with three wishes?
- If you had a million dollars would you still do what you do?
- What’s your favorite kind of music?
- Who was your childhood best friend?
- If you could spend the day with any person alive or dead who would you choose?
- What would you consider your greatest success?
- What’s your biggest pet peeve?
- Did you have a stuffed animal/blanket as a child?
- If you were a superhero, what would your name be and what power would you have?
- Do you have/want pets?
- What is something that makes you very angry?
- What is your all time favorite food?
- How important is faith to you?
- Do you have a favorite color? Any reason why?
- What are some games you played as a kid?
- What is a moment from your life you would relive if you could?
- What is something about yourself that I’d never guess?
- What is a hobby you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t yet?
- Any regrets? What would you change?
- What is your favorite physical feature about yourself?
- Why do you feel like past relationships haven’t worked out?
- If you could choose rich or famous, which would you pick?
- Drinks or no drinks? Beer? Wine? Hard liquor?
- If your apartment is on fire, what’s the one thing you save no matter what?
- What does your daily routine look like?
- How do you feel about gambling?
- Have you ever injured yourself seriously or ended up in the ER?
- What is something that embarrasses you?
- What is something you are afraid of?
- What’s an epiphany you’ve had in your life?
- When you do laundry, do you put it away right away or leave it in the basket?
- What is something that makes you laugh out loud?
- Do you go by nicknames?
- What is the silliest disagreement you’ve had with someone?
- Would you rather live for 100 year and accomplish nothing, or 10 years and accomplish more than you thought possible?
- Do you squeeze the toothpaste from the top or bottom of the tube?
- What do you consider a personal strength and a personal weakness?
- In a fight between Batman and Superman who would win?
- When do you shower? Morning or night?
- What’s your phone number? 😉
- What’s the last thing that made you cry?
- What is something you value most in your current friend group?
- What is one thing you would choose to know about your future?
- Do you ever rehearse conversations in your head before they happen?
- If you had a theme song that played when you walked into the room, what would it be?
- What’s the last movie you watched?
- What is your favorite kind of candy?
- How many kids do you think you’d like to have?
- What is a deal breaker in a relationship?
- What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
- Roller coasters or no?
- What are three words your best friend would use to describe you?
- What are three words your worst enemy would use to describe you?
- What is your idea of a romantic vacation?
- How important do you think sex is in a relationship?
- What is something you find annoying watching other couples?
- If you’re having a bad day would you rather be left alone or cheered up?
- Do you like to go dancing?
- Are you decisive?
- How do you celebrate your birthday?
- If you had to give up one of your senses, what would it be?
- Are you a spender or saver?
- Have you ever gone on a blind date?
- Do you believe in love at first sight?
- Do you believe in soul mates?
- Have you ever been arrested?
- Do you believe in ghosts or the supernatural?
- Do you think it’s okay to be friends with an ex?
- What’s your dream car?
- What’s your favorite thing about the city you live in?
- What is your favorite time of the year?
- What is the thing in your life that would be hardest to give up?
- Would you rather have real love and lose it, or never love at all?
- What is something that turns you on?
- Any celebrity crushes?
- Ever been in a serious accident?
- What is something from your childhood you want to make sure you do for your kids?
- What’s something about your parents relationship you want to emulate? Don’t want to emulate?
- How do you motivate yourself?
- Are you a sound sleeper? Insomniac? Dreamer?
- Are you competitive?
- If you were married, how would you want your finances to be organized?
- Do you like facial hair (on men!)?
- What were you favorite school subjects?
- Old fashioned? Would you ask a parent’s permission before asking someone to marry you?
- What is a conversation killer for you?
- Do you think it’s necessary to get along with your partner’s family?
- Any recreational drug use?
- What’s one piece of advice you’d give your younger self?
- What is your family heritage?
- Has anyone ever told you that you look like someone famous?
- Do you consider yourself spontaneous?
- How do you feel about kissing on the first date?