• Brutal, Bizarre, Tasteless – this one is so far out you could level just about any judgement at it…

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    24 July 2015

    I’ve been thinking about weddings lately. There’s a programme running on Channel 4 called Marriage at First Sight. The plot is sublimely simple - willing singles agree to be matched and married without ever having met. Yes, you heard that right. They meet for the first time at the altar, stutter their vows, swap names and phone numbers and they’re done. After the reception they hotfoot off on their honeymoon like, well like, normal folks who meet, court and wed after they’ve found out a little bit about each other first. These couples then cohabit for a few weeks before deciding whether to stay the course or divorce. ‘So what’s it going to be Tina – rest of your life with Burt or get me out of here?’ Brutal, Bizarre, Tasteless – this one is so far out you could level just about any judgement at it  – perhaps the most generous would be that there was at least something unexpectedly sweet amongst the awkwardness – these are couples genuine in their quest for true love. You want them to succeed. The whole extraordinary social experiment sees an ‘expert panel’ of psychologists/clergy/geneticists apply their arts to synthesising the marriage business into a process in which science determines who belongs with who. There were three couples matched from 1,500 wannabies. One lady – scenting disaster - bailed out before the knot was tied – the other two couples went for it. At the time of writing we know nothing more than that they turned up and signed the register. Next, well it's the honeymoon and we’ll understand a little more about what they actually feel about one another. Jason and Emma at least seemed like a nice double-act and she did say more than once that he seemed ‘kinda cute’ – so who knows…a lifetime of bliss may lie ahead for them all – but somehow I am doubtful – sadly pessimistic about their chances. Nagging away at me is the obvious - isn’t there a certain percentage that the science is unlikely to ever fathom – that vital element that is about what happens when two people interact and fall in love – the mysteries of human attraction. The other reason why I’ve been thinking about marriage is that it was Michelle and my tenth wedding anniversary last week. We were a little more orthodox in our approach – not a TV crew in sight to witness our union. Getting married, in my case a little later in life than the norm, is the best thing I ever did. I don’t know what the experts would have made of us and our chances though. A warm, loving, kind lady matched with a would-be Member of Parliament – I think they might have hastily sent my wife off elsewhere. But then fortunately there was to be no panel for us – just instinct and a lot of love.