For example, many years ago -- before we each found lasting love, against those game-playing odds -- Lo conducted a sort of social-romantic experiment: When a friend introduced her to a guy who seemed very nice and whom she was instantly attracted to, she asked him if he'd like to be her boyfriend.
Standard protocol would have had her flirt with him and wait for him to buy her a drink and then pretend to be just a little bit interested and he would do the same and so on until maybe they'd manage to "hang out" a few times and perhaps, eventually, stumble into a real relationship.
Plus, it's a great way to weed out selfish, one-track-minded pickup artists before you get in too deep.
As the author says: But what I like about this study is how it assumes that love is an action.
Em accidentally conducted a similar experiment a decade ago: After Em had two great dates with a guy, the two of us (Em and Lo) had to fly to England for nearly a month, on a book tour for the U. So they naturally, mutually, without really discussing anything, just skipped all the are-we-really-into-each-other nonsense of those first unsteady weeks.
She was able to leap-frog her bad habit of being attracted to guys who just weren't into her, and he was able to leap-frog the male version of this. this past week: "To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This." The gist of the piece: During a first date with a guy she'd kind of known for a while, the author had one of those flirty-theoretical conversations about whether it was possible to fall in love with anyone.
Instead, she asked him if he'd like to cut through all the crap and immediately go steady, kind of like kids do in grade school, before they learn how to save face. The hand-holding in public was immediate, as was the soul bearing.
The relationship lasted only a month or two, but it was healthy and full of honest communication, and when they parted ways, it was as friends. Em and the guy weren't in touch during that time -- the relationship seemed too new to support long-distance communication -- but when she returned, they had a third date. it felt more like they'd already been dating a month.
(It's the kind of conversation that's possible to have on a first date, because you're basically strangers, but then you can't really talk about that stuff again until you're in a very serious relationship.)The author, Mandy Len Catron, recalled a scientific study she'd once read about, wherein a researcher put two complete strangers in a lab, had them ask each other a series of increasingly intimate questions -- thirty-six, in all -- and then had them stare into each other's eyes for four minutes.One of the couples in the study ended up marrying (yes, the researcher scored an invite! Mandy and her date decided to replicate the experiment, except in a bar. " Then they progressed to more intimate questions, such as "Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common," and, of course, "How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?