As a card carrying member of the fairer sex in America, I am often inundated with solicitations from the opposite sex (and in some cases, the same sex), and subtle cues from family and friends that I should increase my love life. And while I'm with a great geek guy right now, my immediate family still tries to ignore the fact and set me up with a card carrying member of the country club. Ironically, this so-called "advice" comes from people who have gone through divorce, fights, and lounge singers wearing gold chains and calling themselves "Vic." Marriage is about as suitable to me as Screech is to progressive music, and trust me, I've seen how love is a battlefield.

They have gone so far as to encourage me to peruse one of those "matchmaking" sites, such as match.com. While I tried my best to convey and outlook of earnestness, the problem with men and women became apparent after first click. And while I can go into the ubiquitious grammar errors, the frequent amount of member names containing "69", "Sexy" (with a variable number of x's) and the reluctance of some to post a picture that did not involve Frederick's of Hollywood, body makeup, or the severe use of Photoshop 5.0, I saw a problem even deeper-

Why in God's name does everyone have such an agenda? A list? A checkbox for ideal love?

Now, I may sound naive to the ways of amore, but I generally thought that love was supposed to be an unconditional thing. You love your guy or gal and ignore their penchant for Mr. Potato Head figurines, while they ignore that annoying foot tic of yours. And while you have fights occasionally, things are usually normal. However, these expectations are CLEARLY not the case on some of these sites. While height, weight, and hair color are definitive factors on finding a mate, intelligence, sensitivity, and anything that guarantees the long haul seems to be put on the back burner, or at the end of the questionairre. One of my sisters eliminated a guy off of my "match" list simply because he didn't know how to cook. Horror upon horrors!

I'm young and idealistic, but something tells me that love is not based on a checklist. How can you expect to find love if he has to be 6'2 with blonde hair and hazel eyes? I realize there are lots of fish in the sea, but then there is the whole fatal flaw theory to contend with- that no matter who you date and how perfect they are, you will always find some imperfection that will bug you to death, i.e. "If only he would stay with me more." or "If only he would bring me flowers more." We trivialize love so much that it becomes more about satisfying a personal selfish want then simply embracing the act of loving another human being. Something tells me that the real Cinderella wasn't walking around with a checklist when she bumped into Prince Charming.

In the love game, and in life in general, we need to stop looking at other people as their collective likes and dislikes. If you can simply see the person for them, be like Atticus Finch and walk in their shoes, strip the facts that maybe they order coffee differently from you and are left handed and a Knicks fan, and if you can forget about all of those trivial things, maybe then we will be better, less-divorced people.

Love comes naturally. Unfortunately, we've forgotten what it is in our society.

The problem with love in society in general is that most people don't seem to believe in a long-lasting love with one person. It's too much of a risk for the majority of people on this planet to wait to truly love one and only one person. Maybe finding a single person who fits you perfectly isn't for everyone, but I have a theory that even people who prefer loving many instead of few truly click with only one person.

You cannot be told what love is, you have to feel it for yourself. This is another reason why people are quick to assume that they know what love is and know exactly how to search for it. You don't find love. It finds you. You cannot choose the form it will take. This puts off many people and since they themselves cannot live with this actual love, they continue to live without it, never knowing what they missed.

Why are people hopelessly frustrated? They don't have the patience or the faith in love to believe that it's out there. Most people want to fall in love during a specific age range with a person who fits their exact specifications physically and mentally. That's great for fairy tales and movies, but to expect that real life would follow any sort of predetermined perscribed course is ridiculous. You cannot fall into true, deep love according to some sort of schedule. It happens when it happens.

The real problem with love in our society is that people don't recognize it when they feel it.

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