Do You Believe in Magic
Now I am somebody who normally sees the best in people. If you are a Matchmaker, you sure better have a lot of compassion for the human condition and you sure better believe that everyone is worth loving. Except when it comes to things like weapons of mass destruction and phony wars, I am known as pretty upbeat and positive, but when NPR recently aired an interview with social scientists Twenge and Campbell talking about their book The Narcissism Epidemic, my ears perked up.
According to the authors, the United States is suffering from an epidemic of narcissism, accelerating, they say, just as fast as obesity, with nearly 1 in 10 Americans in their 20’s and 1 in 16 of us of all ages experiencing the symptoms. I guess it isn't just Eliot Spitzer and John Edwards , OJ, Scott Peterson and Bernie Madoff. Between Facebook and on and on, it is pretty hard not to think we are the center of the world. Maybe that explains why I find the time-line at the Museum of National History in New York so alarming. How can the human species be so insignificant, not to mention how can I be so insignificant? Somehow I guessed that something in this book about narcissism would relate to dating, and boy was I right.
I’m not saying most of us are completely narcissistic when it comes to dating, exactly, but I do often wonder about our expectations and judgments when it comes to romance. There do seem to be signs of superficiality and incivility, and the phenomenon of Internet Dating doesn’t help. The book has many a page on where we are going wrong in relationships as well as in other areas of our lives, so you will have to read it to get the depressing news firsthand. But here’s one quote: “Our culture often sends the message that shallow relationships are good models. For example, TV and movie writers seem to be obsessed with the search for “magic” in relationships. Everyone wants a magic relationship that feels different and special. Ordinary relationships, apparently, are for undesirable people and previous eras. Unfortunately in the real world these magic relationships are about as stable as some atomic particles, disappearing faster than they can be measured.”
I can’t begin to tell you how many clients I've had who started out with the magic in their past and might not have been paying attention to other tiny details like addictions or unkindness. I always thought I could fall for the charming sociopath – charm, after all, is so Cary Grantish and who cares about the rest. Happily for me, my husband has enough charm, as most of us do, minus the sociopathy. So not to be Johnny-One- Note, and not to say I told you so, or repeat myself, goddess forbid, I did take a look again at the Dinner with Cupid blind date scenario in the Sunday Globe Magazine Section that I mentioned last week. Just to drive the point home, okay?
Remember, the Globe picks up the tab for folks to go on a blind date and then they report back with their impressions of the date, complete with photos and grade. Last issue I made the call that giving people good grades and not being willing to go out again with them, to even give them a chance, might explain why so many folks are single and why so many are divorced.
Here's a teeny excerpt from last week:
Remy: “As smoothly as the evening went, I can’t say I felt sparks flying my way.”
Pardis: “Remy is a nice guy but the vibe was more friendship. It seems we bring different things to the table.”
Post Mortem Grades: A and B+
Second Date: No
Sounds just like the scenario from last week’s Dinner with Cupid? No sparks, no magic translates to no future dates. It sure isn't rocket science to understand that when it comes to magic, there is definitely a trick behind it. If you ask me (did you?), the trick is to create your own magic. To see the beauty in a loving heart when you meet one, and to see the miracle of two people supporting each other, having fun together and being tolerant and kind to each other most of the time – now that should be enough magic to last a lifetime.