More than 20 years ago, the psychologist Arthur Aron made love happen.
Some people will believe in love potions to slip in the drinks of the person they fancy, women in some cultures used to pour tea through their worn knickers because the pheromones would make anyone who drank it irresistibly attracted to them, and some people will just pay for as many gin and tonics as it’ll take for the person across them to find them hot.
All these options are likely to do the trick, some are likely to get you to prison, but none have ever been proven effective in terms of love. Arthur Aron stayed away from drinks and found a healthier and better way to get people to feel like they need each other, giggle for no reason and stare at each other’s eyes for hours.
The last one is actually part of the process. With 36 intimate questions that’ll go from “tell your life story in 10 minutes” to “describe your biggest fear”, he made two strangers in his lab feel closer to each other than they probably had to anyone before.
At the end of the questions, the two strangers-turned-intimates stared at each other for four minutes. And that’s it. That’s all it takes. After that they were in love, happy, silly – whatever you want to call it.
With the questions available online, it’s now a piece of potion-free cake to make anyone fall in love with you! The study came out and about 45 articles followed it – all by girls chanting hallelujah for that miracle discovery.
The hardest past really is just to find someone who you think should love you, and who it might be fun to love back. So the idea would be to go on a first date, have all 36 questions on your mind, and let the magic happen. Right? Because asking someone you don’t know to describe his relationship with his mother isn’t weird at all. It’s a pretty basic, normal concern and doesn’t make you look like a psychopath who desperately needs someone to feel close to.
As it isn’t weird at all to want to fall in love with someone who you know nothing about, from the films they like to the clothes they wear every day or their sense of humour.
But because I was curious and sceptical, I thought I’d give it a go. I’d only just started seeing my boyfriend when I read an article about it.
I found the 36 questions and thought, next time we spend the day together I’ll casually bring them up in the conversation.
Well let me tell you right now, it’s not happening. Turns out casually asking someone how they want to die is harder than it seems.
And more than that, I wasn’t ready for him to know that yes, I’d like to be famous but only for the free clothes.
Asking the questions might make you look like a crazy person, but answering them is way scarier: it actually makes you look like yourself.
And yourself to that extent is persona non grata on a first date when you’re meant to be seductive and funny and cool.
Maybe they don’t need to know right now that you collected pebbles until you were 18 or the name of your imaginary friend when you were a kid.
Maybe keep these information for the fifth date. Or your fifth wedding anniversary. I’m still sceptical about this study, and as much as I do believe that the two strangers in the lab did fall in love, they were two strangers, in a lab, answering questions for an experiment.
I’m glad it means they found each other but it seems like if the same people had met in a bar and had gone on a real-life date instead, the probability of them having a one-night stand and never seeing each other again is way higher than falling in love.
* Anouchka Santella, A Parisian in Sheffield