Mark is a monster, Twitter screamed – and Buzzfeed reported. He never has his travel card ready. Whereas Charlotte is cute for not being about to pronounce Marylebone – I’m now having doubts about how I say it – Mark is castigated for “only taking 20 seconds” to find his travel card after arriving at the ticket gate. After arriving at the ticket gate.
For those who don’t live in London, this is among the most grievous of crimes imaginable. Doesn’t Mark realise how long 20 seconds is? You can send at least three emails in that time. You can swipe through 20 Tinder matches while Mark is scrabbling through his bag.
There are imperfections, and then there are insurmountable mountains that derail any chance of love.
Imagine the scene: you’re on a date and there’s something about the person opposite you that annoys you, and for the sake of this tale let us place it somewhere between Marylebone and travel card-fumbling in the scale of cute to grievous. It’s their imperfection.
The whole idea of the Match.com ad campaign is that there are things about other people that the world calls imperfections, but are actually what you like most about them. From the girl rushing to a date because she’s late and the guy thinking that demonstrates how enthusiastic she is to be with him. From the guy who can’t dance, but throws the shapes and she loves his passion.
In my version of this hypothetical date, which of course might not be quite so hypothetical, the girl is constantly on her phone texting someone. I could think, isn’t it great how committed to her friends she is that she is always willing to reply to their messages. Or I could think that she’s just being rude in giving her attention to the person on the other end of the message rather than the person in front of her.
There’s a line in Good Will Hunting where Robin Williams’ character says: “The little idiosyncrasies that only I know about: that’s what made her my wife. Oh she had the goods on me, too, she knew all about my peccadilloes. People call these things imperfections, but they’re not. Ah, that’s the good stuff.”
The point of the Match campaign is to say what the world says is wrong doesn’t necessarily have to be the end of the story. And there’s truth in that; what one person finds attractive won’t be the same for the next. What one person finds annoying, another will find endearing. But there are also imperfections that we won’t find quite so sweet. And maybe thinking about those are more important than the imperfections that for us are part of the attraction.
Everyone will have things that other people find hard to deal with. From their personality, to their habits, to their interests, to their behaviour, even the person I might be most attracted to will have things I would change if I was master of the universe. Surely loving someone despite their imperfections is more important than elevating what we find attractive, but others don’t, to the status of a noble thing to do. Is loving someone’s imperfections something to pat ourselves on the back about?
The idea of imperfections behind the campaign also assumes that perfection and imperfection float in a sea of our perceptions and opinions. After all who gets to decide what an imperfection is?
And maybe there are imperfections in someone else that we don’t find cute or endearing, but which we are allowing to get in the way of love?