The other night, I was strolling home from the subway, enjoying the tinge of spring that was in the air, smiling wistfully about a remembrance of Times Square past, and swinging my handbag a little, when I happened to bump into a guy I know (a friend of my pal Teddy Wayne). This acquaintance is, like me, a writer and journalist — he’s very well-read and loves to talk about books. Of course, to be fair, you could throw a rock at any given moment in Brooklyn and hit someone like that. What makes this guy stand out is that he’s quite handsome in an unexpectedly urchin-like way (like he could be an extra in a performance of Oliver).
We chatted for a while on the sidewalk, and as I walked away, I thought, “It’s amazing that I’m not in love with that dude.” And I suppose I sort of have a crush on him, but it’s more rational than emotional — which is to say, not much of a crush at all! If someone asked me to describe my perfect man, he would probably sound pretty similar to the person in question. But this guy didn’t give me the elevated heartbeat and warm cheeks I would’ve had if I’d really felt a connection. And I didn’t go home only to check my email immediately in the hopes he’d added me as a Facebook friend.
This puzzled me ever so slightly. It’s likely that my lack of heart murmurs might be explained, in part, by his intimidatingly gorgeous girlfriend. But I also think it has something to do with how alike he and I are… Our careers are about as close to identical as they come (ditto our interests). Although I no longer buy the old line about how opposites attract — I think there has to be a fair amount of overlap when it comes to ambitions, lifestyle, and worldview — I’ve also come to believe that a healthy amount of difference helps to spur romantic interest and excitement.
A friend of mine once said, describing her then-boyfriend, “We’re both kind of amazed to be dating each other.” I think that’s a pretty good way to describe a successful relationship, and similarly, I think it’s tough to be truly amazed by someone who is too similar to yourself.
What do you guys think?