In the opening monologue of Netflix’s new series, The One, the main character, Rebecca Webb, tells her enraptured audience, “I felt like I was rolling the dice.” She refers to a string of bad dates, of meeting the wrong guy, of wanting a connection greater than anything she was finding.
It was, immediately, something I have heard echoed by our clients over the years. After all, to seek out a matchmaker is to take a more proactive step in your dating life – to try and weigh the dice, perhaps. Rebecca’s solution, as CEO of the fictional company The One, is to use DNA for that control.
The series posits the question of whether our genetics hide the answer to our ‘perfect match.’ The curious person must simply send a strand of hair in a cutely packaged box to be registered, and then wait for the app to notify them of their ‘match.’ The One uses this interesting premise to explore corporate politics, a murder mystery, flashbacks, and other storylines that end up a little confusing. Personally, I can’t claim to be a huge fan of the series. Convoluted plotlines and some unconvincing acting make it difficult to stay invested.
However, I should also confess: I’m a little biased by how much I disagree with the premise!
The idea that love can be decided by our genetics, is, quite frankly, ridiculous. What about everything else that defines who we are? What about the jobs we’ve had, and the places we’ve travelled, and the families we’ve been a part of? The series tries to explore this doubt by having one of the characters fall for her perfect match’s brother, suggesting the genetic overlap is enough to create confusion. Like others, this storyline is left a little open-ended, for either our own conclusions to be drawn or to be explored in a potential second series. But the story’s argument is clear – the character’s love is controlled by their DNA.
There are companies out there that have explored this avenue. One website uses a combination of ‘romantic chemistry’ decided by your DNA. It does this by comparing our gene receptors, and theorises that people with greater differences are more likely to attract each other. This also has some evolutionary advantages (sexy, I know!) in regards to immunity and genetic diseases. As further filtering, the app uses Myers-Briggs personality tests to match app-users. There have been other apps using similar ideas, but most have not survived long.
At Drawing Down the Moon, we do not use algorithms or even personality tests (and should the technology become available, I doubt we will use DNA tests either). To do so is to ignore that human, personal touch. Some of our favourite couples were introduced because we went with a gut instinct, or a hope that opposites might attract, or an out-of-the-box idea.
There may be a biological component that genetics could explain to these unique matches, however. Chemistry between clients can be unpredictable, but perhaps there is a science to it on a pheromonal level. One such theory was behind ‘Pheromone Parties’, where worn t-shirts are exchanged and sniffed to see if olfactory chemistry can identify a potential partner. I’m not sure we’ll be trying this technique either!
Regardless of the method we choose, we should all be proactive in our search for love. I empathise with the main character’s quest to affect the dice of dating. Throughout the show, we meet various characters who are desperate to find their one true love – and at many times, it seems this is what motivates Rebecca through the rest of the drama and hardship that unfolds. Again, I can empathise with this. At Drawing Down the Moon, our whole team has a passion for helping our clients find love, and it is the greatest joy of our days when we hear about a great date.
I also believe singles who are looking for love should absolutely invite some guidance and objectivity, whether that is date coaching or matchmaking, or even just a friend’s honest opinion on your dating profile. Sometimes we are all guilty of getting a little tunnel-visioned in regards to how we date, and we need to switch it up somehow.
But here is where mine and Rebecca Webb’s opinions differ. There is so much to consider when making an introduction – more than just statistics or facts on a form. Our values, sense of humour, kindness, emotional intelligence, are what make a relationship work, along with countless other factors. These values, at least, are not decided by our genes.
Love is ultimately far too complex to be decided by DNA, and the sci-fi concept behind The One is too strange to comprehend. Love is supposed to be unpredictable, and unfathomable – isn’t that what makes it such fun?
Love is found in the rolling of the dice, as well as the number it lands on.