Face To Face
According to a new online dating site, Find Your Face Mate, looks do matter, perhaps even more than any of us ever imagined. The philosophy is that people are more likely to be attracted to those whose facial features look like their own. While the 21st century has seen a number of dating websites grow in popularity such as Match, eharmony and Lavalife, this is the first online dating website that uses facial recognition in their attempt to play cupid. As they confidently declare on their site, “We employ the science and art of love in fine-tuning the search for meaningful relationships. Scientists offer compelling data on romantic chemistry and findings prove that passion is subconsciously ignited when we spot someone whose facial features are similar to our own.”
So where’s the science part? Apparently, Find Your Face Mate (FYFM) has invested in advanced facial-recognition software and a scientific algorithm in order to identify and match the similarities among users. Attention is given specifically to nine points on the face including the eyes, ears, nose and chin. The area surrounding the mouth is also factored into this algorithm and when a match is found, the site provides a notification to the users.
In fact, the founder of FYFM, Christina Bloom, explains that falling in love — and meeting our facial-feature match — is really one in the same. The belief is that when we meet someone whose facial features resemble our own, our brains give off endorphins –the same feel-good sensation responsible for excitement, pain and orgasm. I ponder this for a moment. Doesn’t say much for modesty, now does it?
The concept of physical attraction based on facial-feature similarities has even been taken one step further among scientists. The New York Times explains that many studies have shown that couples who have been married for a long time actually begin to look alike. “Couples who originally bore no particular resemblance to each other when first married had, after 25 years of marriage, come to resemble each other, although the resemblance may be subtle, according to a new research report.” Shockingly, the same study found that the more happy and in love the couple was, the more they resembled one another. I’m still trying to figure that out.
Robert Zajonc, a psychologist at the University of Michigan, says the magical ingredient that makes this so is shared emotions. Zajonc put his theory to the test by examining photographs of couples when they first got married and then comparing both partners and their resemblance 25 years later. He suggests that people look more alike as they age because as people grow together and love together, they begin to copycat each other’s actions. Someone who has a charming sense of humour may develop laugh lines around the mouth, as an example, and those same laugh lines will appear on their partner.
Whether we subscribe to Bloom’s theory that facial resemblance creates a romantic spark, or Zajonc’s theory that those resemblances become more prevalent after time spent, one thing is still certain: Facial resemblance is not the main ingredient to creating and sustaining a happy, healthy and mutually respectful relationship. While Bloom sticks to her convictions that facial-feature similarity is key in chemistry among people, she admits that it is simply the first step. “From then on, compatibility is up to you. Even if you’re almost identical, it doesn’t mean you’ll agree on who should take out the garbage.”
BY JESSICA R. GERA / POSTED IN THE BEAUTY ISSUE, SPRING 2012