08 December 2009


A good deal of "meeting" people on the internet involves evaluating the likes and dislikes they list, or list for you. This has always struck me as a somewhat odd way to evaluate someone - as if everyone who loved, say, Everything is Illuminated is exactly the same sort of person - but for some reason when I was puttering around the kitchen yesterday it struck me particularly forcefully as bizarre. Perhaps because I was thinking about something math-y, and that made me think of Dr. Higher, and that made me think of how we change, or might change, or should change.

There's something about this way of considering someone that seems to me to imagine them as eternally going to be the person they are at the present moment: "Ah, you do not dance tango. Thus, you never will dance tango. Thus, you are out." But before I met Dr. Higher I had no idea what an algebraic geometer was, or a sheaf, or a bundle. And now I miss having someone to talk to me about those things, and although I wouldn't say I remain actively interested in them, I do perk up when I hear about them. And before I met Irishboyfriend I couldn't have cared less about George Whitfield or Father Ted, but now Ted, at least, is intrinsic to my life (also, I know how to give a pill to a cow). And look at tango, or iPhone apps, or the hundreds of other things I've started to pay attention to that I never even knew existed to be paid attention to before.

So it's odd to learn about someone based on their interests, and perhaps even on their likes and dislikes. There ought to be some way to get a sense of their personalities: are they thoughtful? Do they remember things you say? (this one should come very high) What do they laugh at? Because it seems me that although your interests change, your approach to those interests is probably unlikely to change radically by the time you're, say, in your thirties.

Although there, too, I think I might be wrong. I've known people to undergo radical changes in their personalities or approaches to life or understanding of the world quite late in the game. So who can say?

I was thinking about that the other day, too, because I was thinking about the fact that it looks as if my VTTT might be single again. Although I'm not really attracted to my VTTT, and I certainly don't think we have enough to support a relationship, he is objectively an attractive man, and on hearing this news I did think, Hmm... But my VTTT is 13 years older than I, which I've always considered too large an age difference, and I was slightly surprised to discover this change in myself.

I always thought that adulthood was a monolithic state: that at some point you arrived at a stage where you were certain - of what you knew, of what you believed, of how your world would go, of how you felt - and that was adulthood. But I surely must be an adult by now, and that's not how it is at all. There are just as many surprises, and reconsiderations, and adjustments and changes, as there were when I was 20 - more, in fact. Which I suppose is healthy - better than being set in your ways, better than having the conservativism that comes from certainty - but is also rather wearying. Or perhaps it's better to say, rather surprising.

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