The Art of Faking Sincerity!

by DavalosMcCormack on August 31, 2010

Every once in a while you hear an idea and think, ‘That’s interesting”, and then don’t think much more about it. But then a few days later you hear pretty much the same idea but coming from a different angle or perspective and you think, “Hmm, very interesting.” But it’s not until the third time the same idea comes at you that you really begin to take notice and really start thinking about it in depth.

That happened to me the other day. And it began in the most unexpected of ways, listening to an interview with actress Patricia Heaton. Heaton is best known for playing Ray Romano’s wife in the TV sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond”. Now, I have to say I never saw the show, I saw a few minutes of it here and there as I channel surfed but never a full episode. So when I turned on to a radio show in the middle of an interview with someone I couldn’t immediately identify but who sounded not only interesting but also funny, I was persuaded to stick around.

The act of love

At one point she started talking about a play she was in ‘Off Broadway” where she was playing opposite her husband’s best friend, an actor who was best man at her wedding. She says it’s very odd to pretend to be romantically involved, in love, with someone you have known for years in a very different context. All of a sudden she had to put aside her knowledge of this man and pretend to be in love with him. Every night. Night after night – twice on Wednesdays and Saturdays if you count matinees.

What was even stranger she says is that as the play continued on its long run she began to imagine she really did feel differently about the actor. She started to think maybe she did love him. She says it was almost as if, because she was acting day in and day out that she loved this man, that the actions her body was mimicking were creating a similar, if more real, feeling in her brain. It was as if her brain was following the lead of her body.


Holding hands

I do, I do, I do

Now that could explain why so many actors and actresses fall in love with their co-stars. Not only are you acting out the most intense feelings for each other day after day, you do so in a very physical way – kissing, touching etc. And let’s face it, most of those stars are really rather gorgeous/handsome so it’s not hard to imagine falling in love with them. That might explain why people like Mickey Rooney and Elizabeth Taylor were married multiple times, why Brad Pitt left Jennifer Aniston (Jennifer Aniston for God’s sake!!) for Angelina Jolie. You act like you are in love with someone, and at some point your brain joins in the act.

What was more interesting about Patrician Heaton’s interview was that she started wondering if you could think you fell in love with someone because you were acting it, could you remain in love with someone by also acting it. She says she has been married many years and that after a few years that initial lust and love begins to become a little, well, tired. You fall into a pattern, you start taking the other person for granted, you lose sight of what it was about them, about the two of you, that left you so excited and breathless. So, she started to wonder that if faking it works on stage, maybe it could work off stage as well. Maybe by going through the motions with the person  you really love you could recapture the initial feeling of why you fell in love with them.


Lost Love

Hot or cold

It’s an intriguing idea isn’t it. Just look around you next time you are out and try to spot the couples who are newly together and those who’ve been together a long time, perhaps too long. It’s not hard. Notice their body language. The new couples are all about touching, it’s very physical from the hand holding to just running fingers through hair or gently touching the other person’s face. The gaze lingers long, unblinking. There’s an unmistakable joy in the eyes. There’s an intensity, a physical closeness, an intimacy that is impossible to mistake.

Then look at the other couple. They may have been together 20 years or 20 months, the time doesn’t matter, what does is the distance between them. Not just the physical distance either, it’s the emotional distance. Not only are they not holding hands or touching, they’re making a real effort to keep a physical gap between them. There’s a real coldness that is apparent in every gesture between them, every word spoken. It’s almost as they are just waiting for the other person to make a wrong move or say the wrong thing and they would jump on them.

You’ve seen them in cafe’s, bars, restaurants, on the street or on the bus. There’s a tension between them that makes you want to get away as quickly as you can or if you can’t then to bury yourself in your newspaper and vow that you will never ever be like that.

So why do people become that way? Maybe they really just didn’t have anything in common to begin with and mistook lust for love. Hey, it happens. Maybe they just lost sight of each other over the years, with kids and a home and a mortgage and everything else, they just let what they had slip away. That’s understandable.

To make it you have to fake it

But wouldn’t it be wonderful if they realized what was happening, what was going wrong, and decided to try and change it. But instead of going to a therapist – not that I have anything against therapists, one of my good friends is one, and a darned good one too (I’ll give you Jim’s number if you like) – so, instead of going to a therapist they decided to act as if they were still in love, to do the things lovers do, to be as physical as lovers are, to look at the other person as if they were in love with them, every day, to tell themselves they were in love with them, and slowly to realize they were!

Wouldn’t it be amazing if that instead of our bodies following our brains – or as Woody Allen once said “The heart wants what the heart wants” – our brains followed our bodies.

When I worked in television we always used to joke about the qualities that made a good  TV news anchor or – as we say in the UK – news reader, “If you can fake sincerity, you have it made.” Maybe the truth is the good ones started out trying to fake it, but then later on realized they believed it. That’s what made them so good. They weren’t faking it.

Maybe if we start all faking those feelings we want, and do a good enough job, we will actually believe it.

It’s worth a shot.

As for the two other thoughts that helped reinforce this. I’ll tell you about those later in the week. But one thing I will say now, they’ll have you laughing till it hurts.

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