I follow TedTalks like many Millennial Americans that I encounter on a daily basis.
The one that keeps popping up on my feed as if I needed “to fall in love” (which I don’t because love is usually what gets me into all sorts of trouble) is Mandy Len Catron‘s talk: “Falling in love is the easy part”. It speaks about her article in the NYT about her little experiment of asking 36 questions and stare into each other’s eyes for a full 4 minutes in order to fall in love. This experiment was conducted originally by Arthur Aron and it was way more scientific whereas Mandy’s experiment was more of a lark but she did the whole shebang. Yes, she did fall in love and her TedTalk is about the choice to fall in love and how there’s more beyond the experiment. The love you may find after conducting the experiment may not be the romantic variety however it still strengthened or sparked a love that may not have been at the stage previously.
Afterward, I read a second article on Pop Sugar by Gabi Conti about her version of events when she attempted it. It made me chuckle because it didn’t work for her and she announced that Los Angeles is a terrible backdrop for this experiment. Gabi stared into her date’s eyes in a car. Mandy was on a bridge when she did the 4 minute stare with her date… Yes, major difference. I also hate cars, so I would be in agreement with Gabi.
It got me thinking of my own experiences. I have not asked all those 36 questions or stared into anyone’s eyes for 4 minutes… pretty sure. I can hardly stare at my own eyes for 4 minutes in the mirror (and I have pretty eyes) so.
It got me thinking of the people I fell in love with. With my ex that was abusive, that love was fostered over time. With my former lover from work, we fell in love fast and hard. It occurred in New Orleans. Before that trip, we were still acquaintances and he pursued me quite a bit. It was my idea to join him on a trip to New Orleans. So already I am slapping the face of science with my own experiment. We hung out trying to plan our trip, I was still getting over my ex but I saw this as an adventure.
I can’t even explain how/why this happened. In the airport, we acted like a couple and on the plane I had to sit away from him. However, as the plane took off there were vacant seats by him so I joined him and we relaxed the whole way there. As soon as we arrived in New Orleans, it was just so natural. I remember being nervous but after we went to get food, it felt as if these no expectation. We would ask each other so many questions, we could talk for hours. Literally, hours. We would talk about family (that was one of the 36 questions again I did not know any of these questions previously) and we would talk about embarrassing stories. We would share our hopes for our respective futures and scary moments that we experienced.
I would get tearful in random spurts due to realizing how this was the furthest I had been emotionally from my ex and how much better I felt with this new lover. I would feel guilt and yet my New Orleans companion didn’t shy away from that vulnerability I was showing.
We fell in love in a romantic backdrop with over 115 questions asked and many alcoholic beverages shared. I don’t think we stared at each other four 4 minutes… or maybe we did? While we conversed. Could have been. Either way, we did fall in love in October and now we are in May–not so much in love. Due to the fact, I have trouble with boundaries and keeping anything in I told him today… New Orleans was magical and I am so grateful we were able to fall in love there. He says he thinks about it a lot and it was lovely. Just that was enough to bring tears to my eyes. He said the fact we didn’t put pressure on ourselves was what made it so lovely. The pressure and ideas we put on ourselves led to our demise, but I wouldn’t take back any of it. But it’s another reason I can’t let go fully. He will always be dear to me and it’s something I am struggling to reconcile so we can both find love elsewhere.