Dare to Ask: The couple that stays together ... looks
By Phillip Milano
Do people really start looking the same after many years of marriage?
Andy, 57, Jacksonville
I feel it's being in the same environment: For years, the two of you eat the
same basic food, are exposed to the same chemicals, have the same stresses, etc.
So, one's surroundings and life story run much the same path, helping make the
couple more alike in the long run.
Anne C., 49, Indianapolis
I don't think couples mold into each other's appearance. We subconsciously
choose partners who look like [us].
Lady Jane, 24, Los Angeles
When I met my husband, we couldn't believe the things we had in common. So do
we tend to "mold" into one another? It's worth looking into. I am blond; my
husband has black hair, so in that category, we don't [look like each other].
But we like a lot of the same stuff, have some of the same qualities and enjoy
watching most of the same shows.
Rachel, Flint, Mich.
If it's true we all start looking like each other after spending too much
time together, imagine the misery among the three co-hosts at "Sports Final
Radio" on 1010XL in Jacksonville. One dude's physique, the other's physiognomy,
the other's ... the other's ... uh, phantasmagoria (yeah, that's it! Because
it's surreal when he bails on the show before it's over).
And no, this has nothing to do with "SFR" naming us to its "Pest of the Day"
Hall of Fame for daring to write about things like adult video stars, even
though such columns use no naughty language and would require a tot to know too
much about pornography to even understand - and even though "SFR's" own Web page
has photos of a guy hitting a bong and chicks exposing huge amounts of cleavage.
(Watch out kids! It's that word! Cleavage! Cover your eyes and sin no more!) We
would never stoop to exacting petty revenge on a show we like but have now been
deeply hurt by. We're not going to tarnish our reputation.
But really, what googan starts a radio show at 6 a.m. and calls it "Sports
On to more important stuff:
Renowned social psychologist Robert Zajonc, who died in December, conducted a
study at the University of Michigan in the late '80s. Judges were asked to match
photos of men and women they felt most resembled each other. They often matched
photos of couples who'd been married to each other for about 25 years. Not so
when they were newlyweds.
Why? Zajonc theorized that similar diets might play a small role in people
resembling each other because of how fatty tissues get deposited, but that
mostly it was because spouses unwittingly copy each other's facial expressions
to show empathy - which over years can carve similarities into each other's
And since empathizing with each other leads to feelings of closeness, the
couples that most looked like each other also reported being the happiest.
So take heart, "Sports Final" guys. You can be happy in your misery!
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Phillip Milano, author of I Can't Believe You Asked That! (Perigee),
moderates cross-cultural dialogue at Y? The National Forum on People's
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