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.

Valentine’s Day rambling: NECCO

Johnny McDaniel, worked over the years as a miner and milk truck driver, married and divorced Rodger’s mother three times and he loved music

necco.conversation-heartsThis being the middle of the month, I thought I’d do some linkage related to love. The first post,from Mark Evanier’s blog, he posted back in June 2018, but I saved it for this day.

Jim Brochu and Steve Schalchlin “are a splendid union of two very talented people who seem to know absolutely everyone in their profession, their profession being The Theatre. Here’s nine minutes of Jim and Steve singing about their relationship.”


Alumni couple celebrates 75 years of marriage
Dorothy Dever ’43 and Robert Dever ’43 met at SUNY New Paltz – my alma mater – as education students and were married on August 28, 1943, in East Rockaway, N.Y. They are now celebrating 75 years together.


Season 2 of the Love Letters Podcast: taking on a big, complicated, seemingly unanswerable question: How do you meet someone?


Things I loved about the Super Bowl: Gladys Knight’s performance of the national anthem. The NFL at 100 ad. The Democracy Dies in Darkness ad AND a response. What I didn’t love: the game.


Only one of the reasons I loved Frank Robinson, the first black manager in Major League Baseball, who died February 7: he was the Most Valuable Player in the National League in 1961, playing for the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds traded him away after the 1965 season. He was the Most Valuable Player in the American League in 1966, for the Baltimore Orioles.


Rent-a-sister: Coaxing Japan’s hikikomori men out of their bedrooms
Not only do these Japanese young men not date, sometimes they never leave their bedrooms.


This is about familial love: How A Long-Lost Guitar Was A Lesson In Grace And Forgiveness

“Rodger McDaniel was 21 years old when his father died. His dad, Johnny McDaniel, worked over the years as a miner and milk truck driver, married and divorced Rodger’s mother three times – and he loved music.”

As someone commented: “Those Story Corps folks have killed me almost every Friday morning for years. Don’t know why I even bother to wear mascara on Fridays.”


Finally, Chuck wrote: May as well cancel Valentine’s Day now

“The New England Confectionery Company – better known as Necco – went bankrupt last year, and their products and recipes were purchased by an Ohio-based candy company, Spangler, in the bankruptcy sale.

“And Spangler didn’t have enough time to produce enough candy hearts – with their ubiquitous messages of ‘LOVE YOU’ and ‘I DO’ and “CALL ME” and ‘BE MINE’ – in time for the 2019 Valentine’s Day season.

“Now this doesn’t mean that candy hearts won’t be around for the season – I understand two other companies, Sour Patch and Brach’s, will have candy hearts – but let’s face it. They’re not Necco hearts.”

Here’s a confession I don’t know that should make, especially living New England-adjacent. But here goes: I hate those NECCO candies. I think they taste like chalk. I’m so glad to get that off my chest.

Valentine’s Day is Ash Wednesday

Being selfless can be a self-centered act.

Without looking, I knew I would find this sentence in some news source: “Parishioners… think Valentine’s Day is actually a great day to start Lent.” Romantic love, Jesus’ love, and all that.

This resonates, even though Lent is intended for sacrifice and February 14 is usually keyed to indulging in candy, more in line with Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras, which immediately precedes Lent.

But I’ve heard enough Ash Wednesday and other Lenten sermons to make the case that indulging and sacrificing do not have to be that far apart. Traditionally, Christian believers tend to put aside a particular vice such as the chocolate that is a favored treat.

Perhaps you can make a sacrifice of your time to indulge the human need of personal connection. Maybe it’d be a visit to someone you hadn’t seen in a while. Or a handwritten letter, rather than email. Or an honest-to-goodness phone call, not merely a text.

Maybe you can do something for someone else. Random Acts Of Kindness Raise Dopamine Levels And Boost Your Mood. Being selfless can be a self-centered act.

And it does not need to be a large gesture. Opening a door… and giving advice are wonderful ways to give. “Anytime we step outside of ourselves long enough to help someone else, something wonderful is waiting for us when we return: the Happiness Trifecta neurochemicals are all boosted!”

When I was a kid, you could always tell which of your classmates were Catholic by their “dirty foreheads” on Ash Wednesday. But somewhere along the line, the mainline Protestant churches “gave up” on the rejection of this ritual and embraced it instead.

Here is vlogbrothers: “Two Love Stories”

Finally, here again is my favorite Valentine’s Day song, by Steve Earle.

If I could I would deliver to you
Diamonds and gold; it’s the least I can do
So if you’ll take my IOU
I could make it up to you
Until then I hope my heart will do
For Valentine’s Day

A tree-killing Valentine’s Day

No, I’m not sending The Wife an electronic card.

heart-in-handsLast year at this time, New Republic published an article called Valentine’s Day Is an Environmental Travesty. It noted:

Sure, you could criticize on environmental grounds all manner of small pleasures, such as eating burgers, or driving gasoline-powered cars, or drinking frostily refrigerated beer… Yet sending a greeting card is worse as an example of personal carelessness Continue reading “A tree-killing Valentine’s Day”

I Feel Alright

Steve-Earle-I-Feel-Alright-471005As previously noted, one of my favorite songs for this holiday is Valentine’s Day [LISTEN] by Steve Earle. I could not find a music link to it before, but now I have one. Here are the lyrics:

I come to you with empty hands
I guess I just forgot again
I only got my love to send
On Valentine’s Day

I ain’t got a card to sign
Roses have been hard to find
I only hope that you’ll be mine
On Valentine’s Day …

Also on that fine album, I Feel Alright, is the very Beatlesque More Than I Can Do [LISTEN], with lyrics.

Oh, just get ALL the lyrics to the album.
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For a more traditional piece, here’s newly-elected Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer Linda Ronstadt singing My Funny Valentine, with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra.