Hot for Your Twin?
Dating Site Insists We Love Our Look-alikes
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Remember when opposites attracted? There was a time when the sexiest thing about your lover was the way you utterly differed. He was the mystifying yin to your mundane yang. She was the fascinating fire to your familiar ice.
But no more. These days, it seems, sameness is in.
A new online dating site promises to match singles with people whose faces look the same as theirs. The somewhat creepy premise behind FindYourFaceMate.com is that we’re naturally, subconsciously attracted to partners that resemble us.
If the notion is true—and I’d like to go on record with a big, fat “eww” here—it seems like poor biological design. Aren’t people who resemble us usually family members, to whom we should really, truly not be sexually attracted?
Plus, there’s something repugnantly narcissistic about falling in love with your own face—even if it’s on someone else’s body. Worst pickup line imaginable: “Hey, there, gorgeous. You could be my twin.”
But after leaving her husband for a man who looks quite like her, FindYourFaceMate.com founder Christina Bloom became convinced that there’s chemistry in facial parity. And her site’s photos of Hollywood couples make a pretty compelling case: There’s square-jawed, crescent-eyed John Travolta and Kelly Preston; saucer-eyed, pouty-lipped Russell Brand and Katy Perry; and doe-eyed, heart-faced Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon … and Abbie Cornish … and Amanda Seyfried.
The site, which launched in March but is still building its member database, uses facial-recognition technology to analyze photos of each member. It maps your eyes, ears, nose, chin, and three points on your mouth, then searches for matches and alerts the pairs that it finds.
I can see linking singles by similar interests, outlooks—even complementary height: but a comparable arch of the eyebrow and shape of the schnoz? What bearing do the contours of our kissers have on the hankering of our hearts?
When I started asking around, though, I learned that lots of the couples I know have been mistaken for brother and sister.
“We keep a running total of the people who’ve told us that,” says my pal Leslie. “We’re up to 76.”
What could account for the drive to date one’s doppelgänger? Studies show that the more you see a face, the more attractive it becomes to you; maybe decades of seeing ourselves in the mirror makes our look-alikes automatically appealing.
“I definitely like people, or am attracted to people, who look, dress, or act like me,” says my friend Jenifer, whose husband could easily be her cousin: “Same skin tone, prominent noses, squinty eyes … Don’t we sound attractive?”
We’ve seen how couples can begin to resemble one another over time, inadvertently mimicking each other’s expressions and influencing each other’s tastes. (Or is it dogs and their owners?) But what of those who’ve looked alike all along?
My friend Elise says her first-grade photo and her husband’s are nearly identical.
“Some folks might think it has to do with picking a mate who resembles Mom or Dad, but I’m adopted,” she says, “so my hubby looks nothing like my dad.”
Then again … “Could that be why I picked a man who looked like me?” she wonders. “I gravitated toward someone who resembled me because no one ever had? Hmmm …”
I still say “opposites attract” is a safer dating philosophy than “birds of a feather do beastly things together.” A British man and woman recently discovered why:
Sarah Kemp of Edinburgh and George Bentley of London connected on a dating site and really hit it off; when they finally met on a blind date last month, they realized they were long-lost siblings.
That ain’t sexy, sister. It’s the opposite.
Starshine Roshell is the author of Wife on the Edge.