Why you will marry the wrong person

we are basically psychologically quite strange

why you will marry the wrong personI came across this 22-minute video Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person some months ago. Alain de Botton, Creator of The School of Life, spoke at a Google event in London in 2017.

It makes a lot of sense. Happy Valentine’s Day!

“The reason is that all of us will not manage to find the right person, but we will probably all of us manage to find a good-enough person. And that’s success, as you will come to see.” Wow, is this guy romantic!

The reason why this will happen is that “we are basically psychologically quite strange.” In other words: “I know that you’re not easy to live with. And the reason is that you’re Homo sapiens and, therefore, you are not easy to live with. No one is.”

Really? “Our friends don’t want to tell us. Why would they bother? They just want a pleasant evening out… Our parents don’t tell us very much. Why would they? They love us too much. They know…

“And our ex-lovers, a vital source of knowledge. They know. Absolutely they know.” Well, THAT’S undoubtedly true, at least in my case.

“Almost all of us are addicts, not injecting heroin as such… I like to define addiction… Addiction is basically any pattern of behavior whereby you cannot stand to be with yourself and sort of the more uncomfortable thoughts and, more importantly, emotions that come from being on your own.

“And so, therefore, you can be addicted to almost anything so long as it keeps you away from yourself, as long as it keeps you away from tricky self-knowledge… And this is a disaster for your capacity to have a relationship with another person because until you know yourself, you can’t properly relate to another person.”

I don’t want to give away the payoff of Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person, but it involves redefining love, or at least the idealization thereof, and sulking and hope and Kierkegaard. Here’s the transcript.

Oct. rambling: idealism, cynicism

coming to the aid


cell phone functions
XKCD is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.
Pew Research: In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace

Obituary: Megan Angelina Webbley, 1988-2019

How corporations are addressing guns

John Oliver: National Weather Service

The Best Places to Live in a Future Troubled by Climate Change – Upstate New York state gets an honorable mention.


The Apartment Shortage Controversy

Today’s Environmental Crisis Was Created in 1919

Arkansas’ Phillips County Remembers the Racial Massacre the US Forgot

An entire Manhattan village owned by black people was destroyed to build Central Park

Bill Clinton and Barack Obama spoke at the funeral of Congressman Elijah Cummings

Why The Normalization of Stan Culture is Unhealthy

Tips you need to know to help you spot fake news

D.C.’s Newseum Is Closing Its Doors at the End of the Year

What Happens Right Before Your Best Employee Quits

The Best Home Protection: Home Security Systems

Eeyore is named onomatopoeically, after the braying call of a donkey; he’s the most depressing character in the Pooh universe


Students at Albany Medical College are coming to the aid of sanctuary seekers in the US; victims of persecution, torture, and other abuses are three times more likely to be granted asylum if they are evaluated by medical professionals and can provide an affidavit in court

Goodbye DARE — More Schools Are Embracing Realistic Drug Education

A good reason to brush your teeth – from the American Dental Association

How Long Do Average U.S. Marriages Last?

Was Bruce Springsteen born to be a filmmaker?

Greg Burgas: Idealism and cynicism in art

Albany Library Foundation gala photos by DTrae Carter (I’m in there somewhere)

Now I Know: When Playing a Doctor on TV is Good Enough and How a Cute Cartoon Created a Catastrophe of Raccoons and The Secret Life of Supermarket Apples and The Lifesaving Powers of Being an NFL Superfan and The Bird That Set The Record Straight and Why You Can’t Perform Hamlet at the Bar and What’s So French About the F-Word?

Canned Pumpkin Isn’t Pumpkin At All

Mad as a Hatter


Do What’s Right – chockablock with links

He serves nobody except himself


The un-American president: he hugs the flag every chance he gets, but the truth is very dark indeed

The Daily Show: Kurds edition; John Oliver: Syria

AIER: Presidential Harassment Is a Public Good and Five Wrong Claims about Trade

Rob Dreher in The American Conservative: Is he mentally unstable?

Doral was sited for 524 health code violations from 2013 to 2018

Nate White: Why do some British people dislike him?

Taylor’s Testimony Goes Way Beyond Quid Pro Quo

William Barr’s Wild Misreading of the First Amendment


Guiliani – Randy Rainbow

The Fury – a suite from John Williams’s score

Coverville: 1282: Cover Stories for No Doubt and Avril Lavigne and 1283: Yes Cover Story and Yacht Rock Revue Interview

Piano Sonata No. 9 by Alexander Scriabin

Moses Supposes from Singin’ in the Rain, re-created by dancer Derek Hough and an animated Donald O’Connor

The Isle of the Dead, Sergei Rachmaninov’s epic tone poem

How’d You Like to Spoon With Me? – Angela Lansbury, from Till The Clouds Roll By (1946)

Swing You Sinners! (Fleischer Studios)

You’ve Got to Eat Your Spinach – Mae Questel

Hocus Pocus – Focus, from Disney and Pixar’s Onward, released 6 March 2020

Nippertown: IN MEMORIAM: LYRICIST ROBERT HUNTER Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a non-performing member of the Grateful Dead

Married one score: the first year was the hardest

Carol and Roger
Carol and Roger, June 2018
Carol and I got married 20 years ago. Maybe a decade ago, I told her I thought the first year was the hardest, and I’ll stand by that.

After we got married, we moved into the first floor of the two-apartment house she owned. One of the very few things our then-pastor said that turned out to be sage is that we should move into another place that was ours.

Carol didn’t understand. She was making room for my stuff. But that was just it; she was making room in HER place for MY stuff. And not all of it; a love seat I had purchased only a couple years before, one of the first pieces of real, new furniture I ever bought I gave away.

Squeezing my stuff in was tedious. I had a dresser on top of a dresser, after some cable station guy – maybe on HGTV – said that to fit everything in, you must build “up, up, UP!”

In July 1999, she went on a trip to Scotland with her college friend, an excursion she had planned before we were engaged. I encouraged her to go. But being alone in that space, with its specific creaks and noises was rather unsettling.

We had gotten married at our United Methodist Church. But by February, after “the troubles” had taken hold, we spent two weeks at Emmaus Methodist with the Hispanic gathering that had booted out of Trinity, against the specific wishes of the congregation.

Then, since the Trinity choir was still banned from singing, I started sitting in at the choir at First Pres. But Carol went back to attending Trinity, keeping up with the gossip.

Meanwhile, we were house shopping. We found a house we REALLY liked in the fall, but the hidden water damage in a wall caught in the inspection made that a no go. Finally, the house we now live in went down in price and we bought it.

i went to the closing, without Carol, but with a cashier’s check. Our lawyer had miscalculated the amount due and I was $1800 short; talk about angina. I borrowed money from somewhere, maybe a credit card, to close on May 8, 2000, a week shy of our first anniversary.

After surviving that first anxiety-prone year, I figure we can get through anything. Happy anniversary, my dear.

March rambling #1: Platypus Controlling Me

The Toxic Attraction Between An Empath And A Narcissist

What Is Your Name? Where Are We? Who Is President? Oh God

Trump(Doesn’t)Care cartoon

Poor People Need BETTER Health Insurance than the Rest of Us, Not Worse

The lessons we fail to learn: Warren G. Harding

American ‘Christianity’ Has Failed and I don’t want to preach a faith that can be so easily adapted to self-hatred and self-harm

How the baby boomers destroyed everything

The 1862 Binghamton (NY) Race Riot – something I did not know about my hometown

After Slavery, Searching For Loved Ones In Wanted Ads

Coins of the Rebellion: The Civil War currency of Albany merchants

Jobs, Income, and the Future

A brief history of men getting credit for women’s accomplishments

The Weight of The Last Straw

7 Lies About Welfare That Many People Believe Are Fact

Albany, NY Plane Crashes Into Houses On Landing Attempt, March 1972

Contractor sues for $2 million in unpaid bills on Drumpf’s D.C. hotel

Kellyanne Conway’s interview tricks, explained, and her boss’s 10 steps for turning lies into half-truths

A college course on calling out scientific crap

The adult children of him will ditch Secret Service protection once he leaves office

Sen. Gillibrand Has Perfect Response To Regime Misspelling Her Name

‘Where I come from’ we claim universal generalities as our peculiar virtues

Some ‘snowflakes’ can take the heat

The biggest threat facing middle-age men isn’t smoking or obesity, it’s loneliness

About Robert Osborne

Amy Biancolli: woman walks into a sandwich shop

The Toxic Attraction Between An Empath And A Narcissist

You May Want to Marry My Husband

This 75-Year Harvard Study Found the 1 Secret to Leading a Fulfilling Life

David Kalish: I am my dog’s seeing-eye person

Coke: Global ad campaign celebrates inclusion and diversity

Alphabetizing Books

Ruben Bolling won the 2017 Herblock Prize

Now I Know: The Boy Who Captured the Wind and How to Claim Antarctica and The Park at the Bottom of the Lake

MEET APRIL THE GIRAFFE, formerly from Catskill Game Farm!

Sammy Davis Jr. Oscar blunder

Cush Jumbo

Lawyer’s Pants Catch Fire During Closing Argument

Garter snakes can be super deadly


Divenire – Composer Ludovico Einaudi

There’s a Platypus Controlling Me (from Phineus and Ferb)

What are the songs that best capture our moment?

K-Chuck Radio: A dose of Northern Soul

Don’t Let Me Down – The Beatles

10 Beatles Covers You Really Need to Hear

Songs about the moon

Thoughts on the book Marriage: Voices from a Forty-Year Labor of Love by Matt Baume

“On February 27, 2004, Mayor Jason West married 25 same-sex couples before a cheering crowd in front of the New Paltz Village Hall.”

defining marriageArthur introduced me, electronically speaking, to Matt Baume, whose regular Marriage News Watch video he often linked to. Now Baume has written a “book based on his experiences in the fight for marriage equality in the USA.”

I should note that I was able to download it for free during the promotional week. Also, I HATE reading on my Android device, or on the computer; it’s just not my thing. That said, the book does have the “easy-to-read, breezy style” Arthur promised, and I learned a lot.

What I really wanted to write about, though, was my own evolution about same-sex couples getting married, based on the confirmation Baume provided, and, to a lesser extent, Arthur’s observations about a question I asked him.

If someone had asked me in 1990 whether gay people should be able to get married, my answer would have been, “Wha?” While there had been couples who had attempted matrimony even 15 years earlier, as explained by Baume, none of the gay people I knew had ever mentioned it.

Then I started hearing about a case out in Hawaii, where, in 1993, “the court ruled that while the right to privacy in the Hawaii state constitution does not include a fundamental right to same-sex marriage, denying marriage to same-sex couples constituted discrimination based on sex in violation of the right to equal protection guaranteed by the state’s constitution.” And that got me to start thinking about the issue seriously for the first time.

By then, though, some, probably most, of my gay friends noted that they OPPOSED the idea of marriage, much in the same way Baume describes the attitudes of some of his friends and allies. They believed marriage was a heterosexist hegemony that was not consistent with their lives.

And though they didn’t say so at the time, it would have required them to be “out” as a gay couple. And not just out to their friends and family, but OUT out to the whole society when that was considered risky in terms of employment, child custody, and even personal safety. Since there seemed to be no consensus on the issue, either in my circle or, as far as I could tell, nationally, I let the issue go.

Then Bill Clinton was elected, and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in December 1993, which, while prohibiting “military personnel from discriminating against or harassing closeted homosexual or bisexual service members or applicants,” barred “openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual persons from military service.” For me, it was the worst of both worlds, DIRECTING people to live a lie, and I did not like it at all. It was finally repealed in 2011.

Worse, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) (Pub.L. 104–199) was passed in September 1996, “defining marriage for federal purposes as the union of one man and one woman.” Even though no one I knew was clamoring for same-sex unions, this seemed preemptively bigoted and more than vaguely unconstitutional.

Around this time, or somewhat thereafter, there were laws passed around the country allowing for “domestic partnerships” or “civil unions.” There was a certain logic to this. Marriage, or this marriage-lite variation, as some derisively put it, may deal with issues of who’s covered under someone else’s insurance, who could visit someone in the ICU of a hospital, inheritance taxes, and the like.

There was a strategy in terms of letting other people see gay couples as “marriageish” pairs, something Baume touched on. Still, I didn’t much take to it, though I surely understood it. If I had been in that situation, I might well have opted to use the provision, which tended to vary by jurisdiction, but it seemed to be weak tea.

(It also likely generated my disdain for the term “partner” for romantic relations, a term this business librarian usually used for entrepreneurial relations.)

The year 2004 proved to be pivotal in my thinking. Baume mentions Gavin Newsom, who was mayor of San Francisco, who “gained national attention when he directed the San Francisco city–county clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, in violation of the state law passed in 2000…The…weddings took place between February 12 and March 11, 2004.”

Much closer to home, I was surprised, and impressed, and delighted, and thought that he was crazy when the mayor of New Paltz, NY, my college town, did essentially the same thing.

On February 27, 2004, Mayor Jason West married 25 same-sex couples before a cheering crowd in front of the New Paltz Village Hall. Not long thereafter, the Ulster County District Attorney charged West with nineteen misdemeanors in connection with these marriages. A court later dismissed the charges against West, a ruling which the state appealed. [A judge reinstated] the charges against West, arguing that this criminal case did not concern whether the state constitution mandates same-sex marriage, but rather whether West violated his oath of office in performing illegal marriages… These were dropped by the prosecutor on July 12…A state court judge issued a permanent injunction barring West from solemnizing same-sex marriages.

Then “same-sex marriages began in Massachusetts on May 17, 2004, as a result of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) ruling in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that it was unconstitutional under the Massachusetts constitution to allow only opposite-sex couples to marry.” This convergence of events moved the needle for me in terms of my support for marriage equality, not that it SHOULD happen, which I guess I had decided pretty much as a direct result of seeing the effect of DOMA, but that it COULD.

A bill supporting same-sex marriage in the New York State legislature failed in 2009, as reported by Baume, I felt a tad sad, but unsurprised by the Republican state senate. But I was watching the state legislative proceedings, on live television, when marriage equality was approved by the NYS legislature in June 2011, and I engaged in an unusual bit of fist-pumping, which I hadn’t done since Super Bowl XLII, when the New York Giants beat the previously unbeaten New England Patriots back in February 2008.

When Section 3 of DOMA was declared unconstitutional, it seemed correct, based less on the rightness of the broader same-sex marriage issue than on the unequal protection of the law that Edith Windsor was experiencing. She was slammed with hundreds of thousands of dollars in estate tax, whereas, if she had been married to a man who had died, she would have owed NOTHING.

The complete death of DOMA in 2015 seemed to me to be the only reasonable conclusion, lest the nation suffer a patchwork quilt of competing laws, where someone could visit their hospitalized spouse in state A but not in state B. I thought that was becoming a totally unworkable system. Maybe I was less excited by that ruling than other milestones because it just made sense, and the converse did not.

Anyway, there you have some musings based on Matt Baume’s useful book.

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