Favourites List: On Love

I am in California this week, visiting one of my three regular readers of the blog (Hi Sis!), and continuing my hiatus from the news. So far, it’s been brilliant. Yes, I’m still vaguely aware of things happening in the world, like the Scottish War Ballot of Independence and the fact that Kate is pregnant again, but I’ve enjoyed not getting caught up in the daily cycles of exasperation and outrage, followed by much hand-wringing. In the spirit of this new feeling of zen, I give you my favourite reads on Love.

A scientific approach to romance

1. Matchmaking in the time of Excel

A long profile of Christian Rudder, who authors the data-heavy OKCupid blogposts. Several links, which look at correlations between what we say about ourselves, and how we act. Interesting stuff, although much of it confirms what we already think about ourselves.

2. Here is one factor that determines whether your love will last

Fascinating: believing that people are “made for each other” vs believing that relationships “require effort” can influence relationship outcomes. A belief in destiny or “soul mates” can actually scupper a relationship since it means you’re less likely to put in the effort required to make it work.

3. Risk of divorce for couples where the wife is more educated is falling

Finally, some cheery news. For many decades couples where the woman was more educated than the man had a higher risk of divorce. Amid the gradual loosening of strict gender roles, this risk is finally falling.

These trends are consistent with a shift away from a breadwinner-homemaker model of marriage toward a more egalitarian model of marriage in which women’s status is less threatening to men’s gender identity.

4. Love (sometimes) hurts

But time (and brain chemistry) really does heal all wounds.

Writers on Love

5. On how the media has ruined our conception of romance

But When Harry Met Sally gives the powerless, unrequited lover a reason to live. When this person gets drunk and tells his friends that he’s in love with a woman who only sees him as a buddy, they will say, “You’re wrong. You’re perfect for each other. This is just like When Harry Met Sally! I’m sure she loves you — she just doesn’t realize it yet.” Nora Ephron accidentally ruined a lot of lives.

6. Love is.. a chance encounter

Wish I could talk to her. Half an hour would be plenty: just ask her about herself, tell her about myself, and – what I’d really like to do – explain to her the complexities of fate that have led to our passing each other on a side street in Harajuku on a beautiful April morning in 1981.

A lovely little gem, quintessential Murakami.

Bits & bobs

Nothing good gets away : John Steinbeck’s beautiful letter to his son, Thom.
Sometimes it’s not you, or the math: one of my favourite Modern Love columns.
And finally, this beautiful set of drawings that Ronald Searle made for his wife when she was undergoing chemotherapy.


The Favourites List is a somewhat irregular (usually weekly) roundup of things I’ve enjoyed reading. Expect some fiction, long-form writing, travel, food, technology. I usually link to free content, but occasionally to items behind a paywall (because I think paying for quality content is awesome!).

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