Earlier this year, two friends who were tired of the grind of trying to date as twenty-somethings in New York City came up with an experiment.
Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman decided to date each other, exclusively, for forty days to see what would happen. They published a blog with the results, and the blog has become sort of an internet phenomenon.
The final entry went up on Friday (spoiler: the arranged relationship didn't work out) and this week, they're making the talk show rounds.
People I like and respect enjoyed this project. I find that baffling. Reading Forty Days, I felt my first glimmer of the feeling of weariness my older colleagues have toward my generation. We're all just a bunch of fakers and narcissists who pursue attention with varying levels of artfulness.
And "Forty Days' isn't very artful. It's contrived and clumsy. Here's the thesis statement Walsh and Goodman lay out at the project's beginning:
Love is a central theme in humanity across time and cultures. It’s one of the main topics in music, film, novels, poetry, and art. But what exactly is it, and why do we all approach it so differently? How does it affect us so deeply that sane people have gone mad over it?
That sounds like a topic sentence written by a not-particularly gifted high school student. What's revelatory about watching people grapple with big questions in such a labored, shallow way? Throughout the project, they post status updates that are just as inane.
Since our disagreement at the Ace Hotel the other night, I’ve been overanalyzing the situation. Does Tim have an interest in me romantically? If he does, will he make a move, or will I? Why is it so hard for him to figure out what he wants? Is he really what I want? Why am I becoming insecure? Is this project crazy? Is this project making me crazy?
That could be, verbatim, a monologue from a to-camera reality TV confession, but for some reason because it's posted by Manhattanites on an over-designed website, it's supposed to be something more. It's not.
Anyway. It's all wrapped up now. The final post included these trenchant thoughts about the flawed, human hearts that we're all stuck with.
What does it even mean to love someone? It seems almost impossible to universally define such a complex state of mind since we all experience life so uniquely. I guess love is something you just have to experience and define for yourself.