Walking around the not-so-modest streets of London’s Victoria yesterday, I noticed a couple, hand in hand, walking in front of me. There were a number of things that particularly intrigued me about this couple and it has since made me wonder… do we all become clones? (…of one form or another, temporarily or otherwise.)
I will point out now, I am a lover of clothes, and I think your clothing choices can say a lot about you, or at least as much as you would like to reveal, or would like people to believe. It was the clone-like clothing choices that made me chuckle as I walked, totally not stalker like, behind this couple. Take a look at what I saw…
They each wear the male and female versions of what look to be Adidas trainers (other gender specific trainers are available), he having the red, black and white, she opting for the red, silver and white. He wears I-am-man-and-need-big-pockets beige combat shorts, she wears slim line, sand and white pinstripe shorts that really should be kept on the golf course, both cut to the knee. He wears a nicely crinkled blue linen shirt, she, a feminine white, also crinkled, sleeveless linen shirt (or cotton, I wasn’t that close). Now, I’d say that those two top options are similar enough, but not for our lady friend, who, as any keen detective can see, has a blue cardigan tied jauntily around her waist. Oh we do love a good palette match!
So, it was their physical appearance that initially made me smile. But as I walked behind them, making my own merry way to the tube station, I noticed that their steps were almost perfectly in time. (Unfortunately, for this wee photo, she decided to skip ahead a touch and sabotage my claim, but I promise they were before, even when they weren’t holding hands!) And granted, these guys are roughly the same height, so their stride lengths would be similar, but it made me think about matching your strides to your partner. I know of a tall gentleman who shortens his steps to be a better match for his much smaller girlfriend. In that case it means that they don’t do that awkward, out of time, hippy-hoppy-bobbing-shoulders-y walk when their arms are wrapped around one another. So, not only can partners begin to look the same, but can they also act the same? Accommodating for the other until it becomes almost unconscious?
All of this said, does it not make sense that we look similar to our partners because we choose someone who has similar tastes? Perhaps it is not that we become clones, but that we look for our closest clone? We are looking for someone with whom we are alike? I suppose that within that likeness, there is also likely to be safety and agreement. If our blue-skirted-male wore a luminous Hawaiian shirt, would our lady friend turn up her pretty little nose, think he’d gone a bit eccentric, maybe rip it up one evening and blame the cat? I don’t know. I do know however that there is a comfort in finding someone who appears to be on your wave length. So perhaps this couple have found that same wave and are sticking to it. Surely someone who wears what you like is likely to like what you like.
Of course (here comes the disclaimer) not every couple looks alike, or starts to look alike as they begin to date. I mean, hello, opposites attract! Though I would say that, from experience, ‘clone’-searchers (in the end) outweigh and outlast opposite-searchers. But it is an interesting thought.
How many people do we know, or do we not know any more, because they changed, even morphed, to become as one with their partner? Sometimes I need a surgical knife to separate my sister from her boyfriend. It is natural that people change with relationships, but it can mean losing something of your former self. That should by no means be feared I think, changing under the all powerful eyes of love can be the making of a person. However, it is important not to fully become a clone (I do use the word loosely). A study carried out by Robin Dunbar, a professor of evolutionary anthropology at Oxford, concluded that we might expect to lose, on average, two friends when we fall in love. Our attentions are elsewhere, something’s gotta give way, and unfortunately, it’s the buddies.
Talking of buddies, it’s not only romantic relationships that can see us become clones, it is also our friendships, particularly when we are young. I cannot count the number of times that I have seen a group of girls all Abercrombie-and-Fitch-ed-up from head to toe. Or boys, each sporting a baseball cap and same-brand rucksack (only hitched over one shoulder). When we’re young, before we have fully established who we are and our stylistic likes and dislikes, there is understandably a safely in cloned numbers. And let’s not forget, people often say that owners look like their pets, is there a safety-clone-attempt there too?
I do find it an interesting debate. My experiment couple are probably extremes of the clone argument to push forward the idea, a this-is-where-you’ll-be-in-ten-year’s-time warning to young couples (joking, I think). For many, difference is exciting, difference is interesting. But for others, perhaps allowing yourself to clone, maybe for a little while, maybe just in your calmer older years, is a wonderfully comforting and satisfying thing. I will say that I believe myself too stubborn to clone, but having admitted that, I believe I could find myself drawn to a chap who has, hopefully not exactly the same outfit, but a similar style. I like a bit of style. That’s just me. Maybe that’s just him too. I bet I won’t even see the clone coming until someone says to me, Oh my God, you guys are, like, totally wearing the same colours. I look forward to being oblivious, clone or no clone.
BBC article, ‘Falling in love costs you friends’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11321282