To fall in love with anyone is easy. Just pull up a ladder, climb up the sky, grab the stars of the person that you want to fall in love with, realign the person’s stars to share the same latitude with your stars and, gbosa, you are in love. If that does not work out for you, keep reading.

It must have happened to you before. No, I don’t mean falling in love. If you have never fallen in love before, check your birth certificate because you may not belong to the human specie.

By saying it must have happened to you, I mean having a unique idea in your head and ending up discovering that someone else had a similar idea or that a study has been done to prove the same idea that you thought was residing only in your head.

At the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) I had the idea that you could fall in love with anyone. I was an engineering student and girls in engineering classes carried T-squares around. They lifted engines and drew graphs and pies. That did not rhyme with my perception of a dream girl. And then I beheld Funmi (not her real name).

 

She was always there, Funmi.

At least for two years or more.

In the same university of technology

Breathing the same Akure air with me

Eating in the same café

Though she ate amala while I ate eba

For soup, we ate the same egusi and okra and efo

Then, one day, I saw her.

I saw her as if she had never been there

She set my heart pulsing,

My words jostling,

My thoughts erupting.

Something that had never happened

Started to happen to me.

For two years I swam in the volcano

I smiled for the stars at night

I danced for the rainbow after each rain

But I was too tight-lipped

To say a word to Funmi

Or even anyone else

Except to my journal,

A friend who wouldn’t talk back…

Even when I bathe it with my tears.

Five years after, I left Akure

Without saying a word

Or flashing a grin Funmi’s way

Despite years in-between

And streams of life that have flown

I often pause to wonder

Whatever happened to Funmi

And what would have happened

If I had said something to her.

 

Last January, the New York Times published this popular piece called, “To Fall In Love with Anyone, Do This.” It suggests that “given a few commonalities you could fall in love with anyone” by asking questions and getting to know someone, anyone. It sounds so radical...

The article featured the 36 questions posed by psychologist Arthur Aron. The man is famous for making two strangers fall in love in a laboratory using the technique. It involves answering a series of personal questions and staring “into each other’s eyes for four minutes.” The questions ranged from the mundane to the intrusive.

The April edition of GQ magazine featured two reporters - one from GQ and the other from Elle who went on a blind date using Dr. Aron’s technique. They went on several dates applying the principles contained in the New York Times article. At the end, they concluded that bringing two people together and sharing their lives to the point where familiarity is established is a foundation of feelings. In essence, the two reporters agreed with Dr. Aron.  Many others have tried the same. In fact, an app has been created that promises to make you fall in love with anyone.

I do not need the New York Times article or Dr. Aron’s 36 questions to tell me that. I’ve always known this: The process of falling in love entails opening of hearts and taking the risk of sharing desires as well as a part of your inner self. Through a complex emotional progression that requires joggling of numerous combinations and permutations, the final revelations crystal into an intoxicating inspiration that fulfills the prayers of the couple, ultimately setting off a spark that ignites a flame called love.

It has been said that love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired. But it doesn’t always start that way- unless the stars align well on your sky. Typically this is how it goes: If you are available and you present yourself as available within a circle of someone else “with minimal commonalities” who is available and presents him or herself as available, you will eventually fall in love. Within a circle, once an honest conversation is on, fences drop. Each fence that drops reveal some surprises- some desirable and some not. But over time, a tempting selfie of two people emerges.

The questions, whether they are 36 or more, are simply means to fast forward intimacy. The answers open a window into the heart. But you don’t have to ask questions to find the answers you need. You can get answers to your unasked questions via mere observations. Just listening to anyone offers answer to questions unasked. That is how people fall in love at first sight.

Many have wondered how it is that arranged marriage works. It works based on a few variations of this same principle. If you look too deeply into the eyes of anyone with minimal commonalities, you will see yourself in his or her iris. That is when you will fall in love. It is very basic.

On the surface of it, everyone has his or her standards for a partner. But within the standards are things that one can overlook and things that one must definitely have. Anyone that scales through the minimal threshold is a game. Even those that did not at first look could score so well that a decision could be made to shuffle the ranking of various qualities within the scale. Even the standard could be updated to position the preferred candidate within the threshold.  Someone who has teeth may be a requirement but if he or she has honey in abundance one may be excused if he or she downgrades the importance of teeth in relationships.

Those looking from the outside may call it a step down but the person doing the internal negotiation with him or herself, the person grading the potential partner has the final say. Once they scale through the nagging thought that they have 'sold out' or 'settled' they can enjoy the ride that life provides through love.

It must, however, be noted that for you to find someone, you have to first define yourself. It is the greatest negotiating tool you have. In defining oneself, just like in telling a story, the winning mantra is to show not tell. Instead of carrying a Bible or Koran around as a show of your righteousness, let your behavior say it for you. Just like most communications are not done by words, so it is that most character manifestations happen in spite of the deliberate facades we try to put up. Pretense has a limit that propaganda doesn't know.

Winston Churchill’s first love, Pamela Plowden, once said this about him: “The first time you meet Winston you see all his faults, and the rest of your life you spend in discovering his virtues.”

There are people that you see all their faults the first time you meet them and there are people that you see all their virtues the first time you meet them. The essential question about falling in love is: what will you rather spend the rest of your life discovering? Is it the faults or the virtues? Or will you be amongst the happy lots who are at peace with a steady dose of a mixture of faults and virtues? It is a question everyone must answer individually. No, the New York Times article will not answer it for you.

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