Every Sunday morning I spend a long time looking over the New York Times wedding pages. Don't get me wrong: I'm not gushing over the luxurious wedding gowns with the trailing trains and I'm not dripping tears of joy into my coffee for all those people finding their happily ever after. Oh, no, no, no. I'm checking to see how many of the newlyweds look like dead ringers for the love of their life. A freaky number of these couples look like fraternal twins separated at birth. Add in the weddings with two grooms and you've got a lot of couples who could be identical twins separated at birth.
On any given Sunday, half the folks in the Vows section look like they scanned the crowd at the local bar, coffee shop, or grocery and struck up a relationship with whoever looked most like themselves. If Joe has a pointy nose, nine times out of ten so does his new bride, Joanne. If Susanne has high cheekbones, chances are the guy standing next to her does, too.
Maybe it's just that a lot of couples pose like they're in a police line-up in the facing-front phase. With those noses, lips and eyes all lined up I can't help but notice that both halves of the couple have unibrows and full lips, or widow's peaks and perky noses. Or maybe the couples that look less alike also have more imaginative photographers; ones who ask the lovebirds to cock their heads and look sideways at the camera.
To be fair, we are attracted to the familiar, aren't we? I've noticed that a lot of people marry someone with a first name already attached to someone in the family. In my family, we have a hell of a lot of Cathys. In other families it's Michelle, Carlos, Hunter, or Minh. My theory is, if you happen to be at a party and you meet someone with the same first name as your sister/cousin/aunt, you're bound to be a bit more relaxed and warm, and you have an icebreaker to start the conversation rolling. "Your name is Tulip?! My sister's name is Tulip!! No way!"
Yesterday, though, there was one couple that did touch my sentimental side. Ada Bryant, age 97, and Robert Haire, 86, were married Saturday. The two, both widowed, have been dating about a year. Now that they're married, they'll share an apartment at the residential retirement center where they now have separate units. The photo to accompany their announcement? They're facing each other, looking into each other’s eyes with such huge smiles it's impossible to tell how much or how little they look alike, just that they're very, very happy.