The perfect pair: An approach | Moment's Notice


Last updated 2/1/2019 at Noon

Wedding and bridal showers are typically affairs subjugated by tradition and expectations, celebrations of love according to the guidelines of propriety. I recently attended a wedding shower that bucked many of the customs (no games, no girlie gifts), but still focused on the jollity part (not surprisingly for this couple).

The shower guests were treated to a range of cheese and beverage pairings, with complete and hilarious explanations of each item on the plate – an utterly perfect demonstration of the unexpected fun love can be!

We sipped French champagne while tasting a beautiful triple crème (brie-style) cheese called Delice de Bourgogne. We nibbled on a complex and rewarding cheddar from Vermont served with a mug of Culmination Brewing India Pale Ale, and enjoyed a creamy but firm Spanish sheep’s milk cheese with a traditional Spanish Tempranillo.

The rules of successful cheese pairings are interestingly contradictory: same with same, opposites attract, or what grows together goes together. All three approaches can create unique and delicious combinations and highlight the cheese and whatever it is paired with.

Because we were at a wedding shower, I could not help but think about those rules and how they applied to love itself. Simone de Beauvoir believed authentic love required both parties to be free, unique, and appreciated in individuality (the cheese and the wine are each important on their own to contribute to the pairing).

The philosopher Plato said there was a ladder of love for a relationship – moving from the appreciation of beauty or attraction to finding the essence of love, beauty and contemplation of truth together.

Was the champagne and Delice an obvious appreciation of beauty while the sheep’s milk cheese with a perfectly balanced Tempranillo brought us closer to a universal flavor truth?

And how do those rules apply to the couples in our orbit? My husband and I are definitely a case of opposites attract, while I work with couples who grew up together and go together perfectly. Despite some distinctions, my parents exemplified same-same, both brilliant, committed, memorable, and kind.

My dearest friends are mostly opposite to me, but no day would be complete without their perspectives and, honestly, I can barely breathe imagining a life without those I love.

To me, creating a relationship with someone, in friendship or partnership or marriage, is based in love. Some last forever, some do not. A few become serious or significant, while others are simply pleasant and mostly persistent, and many end.

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So do we seek a pairing with someone who can provide us the right balance to complete our quest for a higher love? Do we need all kinds of love to find Plato’s truth – romantic love, friendship, love of a community, love of beauty, love of family?

Simone de Beauvoir’s partner in life and love, Jean-Paul Sartre, wrote a little more freely about love: "You know, it's quite a job starting to love somebody. You have to have energy, generosity, blindness. There is even a moment, in the very beginning, when you have to jump across a precipice: If you think about it, you don't do it."

I stand with both Simone and Jean-Paul.

Perfect pairings can be complicated or simple, challenged by outside conditions or driven from inherent strength, and will grow and change, but at their essence, “It’s all about the love.”


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