We the people cannot get enough of Mandy Len Catron’s article “To Fall In Love With Anyone, Do This,” presently the most popular article on NewYorkTimes dot com according to CBSnews dot com. Catron’s contemporary revisitation of an experiment developed by Dr. Arthur Aron collides into Facebook walls with the force of a rogue meteor, springs up in conversation like an unwanted guest, and batters morning television hosts with the tantalizing promise of Finally, A Solution To Unending Solitude.
Prior to my own reading of the article, I devoted a good deal of my bedroom-based studio practice to the following rituals: Relishment of Heavy Volume For The Purpose of Underpants-Dancing To Azealia Banks, and Engorgement Upon At Least One Dozen 365-Brand Candy-Cane Sandwich Cookies Without Batting An Eyelash. Both of these seemed more pressing than the ritual involved in Making Someone Love Me More Or As Much As I Love Myself.
Turns out the elements of the ritual outlined by Aron and Catron are somewhat kin to a cross between a Marina Abramovi¿ workshop and a parlor game composed entirely of icebreakers. Fantastischer! Not only do I love gross oversimplification and cumbersome metaphorical comparisons, I am also a huge fan of performance art and Celebrity Password. The question remains: Do I love myself enough to love someone else? Do I really? How can I tell? Is it easier to tell what love is if there are two people involved?
To that end, I’ve developed a series of questions designed to allow me to be more vulnerable with myself. I hope you find them as useful as I have.
Task Slips for Closeness-Generating Procedure
1. If I had to have dinner with me, would I leave without paying the check?
2. Would I like to be famous? Like, how famous?
3. Before making a telephone call, do I ever reflect upon how amazing it is that I am able to make a telephone call in the first place?
4. Does a day with myself constitute a “perfect” day? (Trick question, of course it does because I am perfect)
5. When did I last sing in tune? Who cares?
6. If I was able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, could I make it to Brooklyn in time for that opening?
7. Do I have a hunchback? (Another trick question! Of course I do!)
8. Name three things I and myself appear to have in common.
9. If I could wake up tomorrow having gained one pound, where would it look the best?
10. Are oranges getting smaller or am I getting bigger? As in larger?
11. What do morning people do in the morning? Do they fight roosters? Do their taxes?
12. If I had to combine all the slices of pizza I’ve eaten in the past week into one or several pizzas, how many several pizzas would that make?
13. Which would I prefer to experience from within a cubicle: the aroma of nondescript microwaved lunch foods (“smells like beige”) or the sound of a bag of baby carrots being eaten very slowly over the course of eight hours?
14. What is the greatest accomplishment of my life, besides existing as a speck smaller than dust on this equally miniscule space ball?
15. What do I value most in a corner store?
16. What is your most terrible memory of not knowing me?
17. If I knew that in one year I would die suddenly, why would I change anything about me?
As we all know, the only true measure of whether or not love actually occurred is if the couple in question gets married, and if you don’t get married or aren’t allowed to get married you fail at love and your love isn’t actually real. If you decide to marry yourself, it will be because you failed at love in other ways, and if you get married it is because you are afraid of yourself and have thus failed at loving yourself. To heck with this Damned-If-You-Say-I-Do, Divorced-If-You-Don’t system, and the Marriage-Industrial Complex! I’ll be over here, complimenting myself about how quickly my long, deft fingers were able to disrobe and dismantle an itty-bitty convenience-mart orange, and appreciating my own appreciation for engaging thoughts such as “They should call these things Clemen-TINY.”