Here in the U.S. they run an awful lot of advertisements for dating services. They talk about the science, simplicity and safety of having their particular service match you with your true love. We have two reactions when we see these ads: 1. Thank God we’re not looking. And 2. They never would have matched us!
On paper there is very little Chuck and I have in common. He likes classical music; I tolerate it. He does crossword puzzles daily; I think them unnecessarily abstruse. He’s very social and outgoing; I believe good fences make good neighbors. He was raised Jewish; I was raised Catholic. When we met, Chuck enjoyed his role as an intellectual snob: while I liked to have my finger on the pulse of popular culture. He listened to NPR; I watched MTV (back when they aired videos!). He grew up in the midwest; I’m Rhode Island all the way. He is fifteen years my senior; umm - same in reverse. Then there was the whole taxes issue, which I’m not sure if dating services poll people on, but which took a couple of decades and Barack Obama to resolve for us.
Now, I suppose, if they dug deeply enough, any dating service (or more likely a human matchmaker, a shadchen) would figure out that we share a common set of values. They also would figure out that we both love to laugh. But would they have any idea that we laugh at a lot of the same things - Marx Brothers and Three Stooges excepted? How would they know that word play makes us ridiculously happy and to do it in multiple languages is a grand slam? Speaking of baseball, we were both just casual baseball fans, but, after meeting, became devoted Boston Red Sox fans together. Where are the boxes to tick for all that?
When we met, we knew. No, we didn’t know we would marry one day. But we did feel a connection; a sense of old friends reuniting; a spark. I don’t know how the dating services figure that out. I’m just happy we were lucky enough not to require outside assistance.