Do We Look Like Our Soul Mates?

February 11th, 2013

LOVE IS COMPOSED OF A SINGLE SOUL INHABITING TWO BODIES” Aristotle

Do soul mates look alike?  How should I know?  I’m no expert in the science of “Soul mates look alike” research.  But…there is research.

When I ran into a story on Huffington Post featuring celebrity couples and talking about a dating site called “Face Mates”, I went through the pictures first.   Huffpo takes us through 20 who look alike, and they.. kind of did. Or at least most of them.  They started with Hilary Swank and John Campisi.  I’d give those two a yes, they do.  But it was the much maligned partners Eddie Cibrian and Lee Ann Rimes that really gave me pause.  There was an almost freaky brother/ sister look to them.  See for yourself, some are a stretch, but there might be something to this:   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/10/celebrity-couples-who-look-alike_n_2443187.html.

Then I went over to the”Face Mates” site.  http://www.findyourfacemate.com/  ”Find Your Facemate” was founded by Christina Bloom in 2010, actually based on research by Dr. R. Chris Fraley of the University of Illinois. He used digitally morphed photos of a subject’s face and a stranger’s face and found that morphed faces drew the attention of the subjects more, as opposed to the subject and the stranger’s face alone.  Hmmm…  Here’s how the site puts it…”

Find Your FaceMate® is a revolutionary new online dating site that employs sophisticated facial recognition software and a proprietary algorithm to identify partners more likely to ignite real passion and compatibility. We employ The Science & Art of Love in fine tuning the search for meaningful relationships. Scientists offer compelling data on romantic chemistry and findings prove that passion is subconsciously ignited when we spot someone whose facial features are similar to our own. Find Your FaceMate® offers a unique service to the ever expanding market of online daters”.   Apparently Ms. Bloom’s site has more than 50,000 users worldwide and climbing.  Good for Ms. Bloom, the whole concept is a smart move on her part. I hope she give Dr. Fraley a cut.

I began to think of couples I knew.  According to Bloom, it’s really all about the face, and we shouldn’t get caught up with hair color, height, or race.   I looked at a picture of five couples who attended my wedding.  One had been married over 25 years and could win ” still the cutest couple ever after all these years’ contests world wide.  You should see their children, the PhD supermodels.  But.. they also have a similar look.

Yes, look a bit alike

The couple in back of us, pictured below,  have also been together for many years.  They are one of those couples that “go together”, similar look, elegant and imposing couple, both tall and beautifully dressed, but…they kind of look alike too.

Hmmmm...

As I studied the picture a bit more, I landed on these two below.  They are the template for long time happy couples.  I know them well, and it’s absolutely the real deal.

Yes, I think so.

There is also research, done in 2006, on long together couples starting to look alike with time.   In 2006, University of Michigan psychologist Robert Zajonc studied pictures of 25 couples over time, and came to the conclusion, that yes, they did start to look alike.  I’ve noticed that before.  I call it the “Anne Bancroft, Mel Brooks” theory.  Not much similarity with these two long marrieds when they started out, but looking at pictures of them before Ms. Bancroft died, they had kind of morphed into “face mates”.  I’m using the term now, I’m starting to get sold on this.

Could looking for a matching face be the supreme version of narcissism once demonstrated by the famous “A-Rod” picture of him kissing himself?  Do you think Mr. Rodriguez will ever find his face mate or should he just marry himself… and what does that mean about the rest of us?  Here’s a quote from Sharon Young, a college administrator, in USA today, ““I do think there’s an innate tendency for people, myself included, to be attracted to people who look like them. There’s a familiarness to it,”  Is this true and more important, is there such a word as “familiarness”?

No matter, I’m getting closer to buying into this and I’m going to be looking for more pictures of my husband and I.  Some I remember don’t really highlight this whole theory, but I just found one taken at the “Bully” documentary premiere at Tribeca in 2011 in some harsh light.  Forget about the gray hair on him, and the phony blond streaks on me and that he’s a Jewish guy from Manhattan and I’m waspish woman from Iowa. I did notice that we both have longer narrow faces.  We have known each other a long time, but have only been a couple for a few years, so I don’t think we’re in the Bancroft/Brooks territory, but I’m studying this closely for the “face match” theory.  The first thing that jumps out at me is the matching forehead wrinkles.  I would see that, that’s where I go first.  But, I’m starting to see a passing similarity.

I can't make this picture bigger for some reason. Must be because it shows all the wrinkles and I might be traumatized by that.

To mangle Pogo’s famous comment, perhaps we have looked at our future mate and decided “they is us”.  It could be that we do just fall in love with ourselves, something that is supposed to be healthy, in moderation, like everything else.  The couples I know well who attended my wedding  don’t even come close to being  narcissistic, so perhaps being drawn to “face mates” is just natures way of helping us understand and nurture ourselves at some basic level.    My sister the sociology teacher tells me that this is social science, nothing particularly new. But, I’m glad Ms. Bloom applied this, and I’ll be watching how this site matures.

As for me, was I drawn to someone who I thought looked a bit like me because I’m just a classic narcissist?  I’m going to look for “narcissist” quotes now.   Bulls eye…. Just found this one, by the incredible but tragic Sylvia Plath.   “I think writers are the most narcissistic people.”  From one writer who pales in comparison to the magical you, thank you, Sylvia, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Are you with a “Face Mate”? Leave me a comment…

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