“The only three men I had ever imagined a future with all told me that something was missing,” Oz Johnson wrote in her Modern Love essay. When Oz was 23, her boyfriend said she met 99 percent of his criteria, but she was missing 1 percent. Over a decade later, another man broke up with her via email. Their love was almost perfect, he said, but not enough to last.
What is this missing, unquantifiable feeling? Oz used to be haunted by these rejections, but now she has come to embrace the search for imperfect love.
After: Nancy Cardwell wasn’t looking for love — but then, at 58 years old, she fell passionately in love with tango. Her newfound zeal for the dance took her to Buenos Aires, where she fell in love again — this time, with a man named Luis.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
The last year I was seeing this guy, I called the bartender, and I was in a place where I was looking for something serious and pretty much from the jump. I could tell that he was not. He would take days to respond to my tech
messages. We would hang out like once every three weeks it just it wasn't really going anywhere. So. Finally, I was I not I'm an end. It
I wrote him something like you know. This has been fun but its clear to me that we're looking for different things
and it took him around forty two seventy two hours to respond because it always did and he replied. I think you're right it's too hard to make something work when we live on opposite sides of the world.
This guy does not live in Australia. He lives around forty minutes away on public transportation. Forty five of like the trains are really crawling. So what kind of stung that that was his reason we need to end
things, but the more I thought about it. I realized I was looking for someone who was willing to make a commute, who wouldn't see the distance between us as this.
Like insurmountable problem, but is something we could work out together:
And now I'm dating site
one who lives forty eight minutes away even further. He bikes I take.
Bus, which really means a column lived and were making it work
from the new york times.
this is modern love, I'm Anna Martin and today
I say is about looking for a partner whose willing to work things out with you and commute time is one thing, but the story,
You're about to here goes a lot deeper to the heart.
Of what it really means to choose one. It's called in praise of
ten percent wrong relationship. It's written by
johnson and read by samantha. Does when I went to business school I quietly observe
People from the periphery, which is to say, I noticed him years before he noticed me- I accepted that he and I'd never speak.
and then last spring five years,
after we graduated it happened.
across the union
I was shivering next to an underpowered gas fired head when I heard his voice over my shoulder asking of the seat next to me was taken.
suddenly improbably. We were talking, we nodded vigorously at each others. Take on the
ukraine, palestinian nationalism, institutional failure,
our own failures of political action, and then we slipped into a conversation about our failed tries at love
he told me about his most significant relationships and how close he had come to marriage. I asked what went wrong. He couldn't quite describe
I bet, but as wonderful as those relationships were, something was missing.
I do not have a track record of helping men locate, missing feelings. When I was twenty three,
my boyfriend of four years broke up with me in a mosquito infested washington DC backyard. His verdict.
I was ninety nine percent what he was looking for, a wife, but still
seeing one per cent of perfection on the drive home. I forgot to turn on my headlights, a cop
hold me over and found me sobbing behind the wheel mumbling about heartbreak. He told me I was young and pretty
and would get another man and be ok as
As I remembered road safety over the next decade, I met one man just one. I could invasion Mary
for seven months. We were suspiciously close friends. Then we finally slept together the next day he seemed distant. Two weeks later it was over. He didn't feel enough.
for me he said something was missing so when my classmates told me that his previous relationships had fallen apart all because he felt like something on quantifiable was missing. It hit me as just too familiar.
Maybe it was significant that we'd been talking for three solid hours. I wondered. Maybe this is what
like when a missing feeling is unexpectedly found we lost track of each other at a crowded after party, but
It days later, he sent me a video of himself playing ludovico. I now these move only bianca on the piano followed by an
invitation to new york for alive performance about a plane ticket in the weeks before my trap. We texted daily
he shared his links to his favorite writing about new york and pictures from his brothers wedding. I nervously sent him the dry,
I a twenty paid essay. I had written about my conversion to judaism a week later, a copy of my essay full of thoughtful
and written comments landed and my inbox, I gave myself permission to love him. We met at
brooklyn apartments on Saturday morning and walked across the city talking with the same urgency as that first night, the conversations
Convinced me of our compatibility, we both wanted lives of travel with adventurous children under foot, and then a sexual attention crept in. We tried to drag it out, but it built until we had no choice but to go back to his place.
The next day lying in bed with our legs entangled he said that he felt anxious after a first date as perfect as ours. He expected to feel later
but instead he had an inexplicable hesitation. He needed time to think the rejection came. A week later,
a tenderly written email. He rode our relationship felt ninety percent right right enough that we could fall in love.
but long enough that it would never last. We should end it before the inevitable split got more difficult, it's not,
there were any glaring problems, but
something was missing.
I read, the email and bad thankful that there was no cop to see me crying when my tears dried. I sank into me.
Hello. I closed my eyes and was overcome with the conviction that this whole missing feeling thing was a scam. Men had used it with me too many times as a reason to break up or at best a polite excuse, a blameless way to end a relation
the only three men I had ever imagined a future with all told me that something was missing. I have let their words haunt me for years,
I have come to admire their audacious belief in a more perfect love. They deserve to find partners who are one hundred percent right, but that is the kind of love I want from myself.
I believe that life feels, while most of the time and its enough to find someone who
be fine humour humor in the wrongness, this
who will bear witness to loneliness
rather than relieve you love it entirely. I believe that the most passionate love as experienced by two people who embrace the imperfection of their relationship, who see it as a fix her upper with
bones. I believe that when you are with a wonderful person, but something is missing, you take your partners, hand and search for it together,
eyes has embraced the search for a partner who isn't perfect, but is perfect for her and after the break a story from a woman who found that kind of love,
She found a life partner and a dance partner. That's next.
And the look or sea and of our own, the host of first person from new york times, opinion on the show. I talk to all sorts of people about the experiences that shape their beliefs, some of my
and got shamed and called out in school board meetings. You start ones
Ours is going to happen to me believe
that can be polarizing, but the emotions behind them are central to understanding the world. We live in, oh yeah. I've had my concealed weapon and I've had a gun on you, but now and in my later age, switching over to a classroom. That's.
new ballgame. I want to explore opinion in all of its complexity and every opinion starts with a story. I'm an ass you this! Could this
like a very little period and you decide to become a politician. I really want to address
and how that had then? What inspired you to run for office? First person
from new york times opinion listen to new episodes wherever you get your pockets.
Nancy card well has two great loves in her life. The fur
is her husband, the and the second is the tango.
Her to love stories are intertwined. If it wasn't for dancing, Nancy would never have met. Louis.
She wasn't even looking for a relationship at each fifty eight
Nancy had never been married, and that was just fine with her. Her life was full. I had never been happier than I was the day before I met Louise. I had spent my life as a doll being a happy single woman, and then I took up tango dancing and my whole life changed. My whole focus just shrunk down to the dance, and so I was looking for anything and I was very happy nancy. When did you first encounter tango? I had friends who had been tango dancers for years.
would invite me to come to their house to tango parties, and I never will. I certainly did not want to go out someplace where everybody's in couples in your alone and then one day in February, two thousand and five, my friend Jim called me up any says. Well, I need you to do me. A favor there is
strong about a mile from your house where they have a tango band and we're worry that not enough people were coming and you don't have to dance. I know you're not interested in dancing, but please we need you.
Ok, so you you agree to go to this tango night, very begrudgingly. It sounds like because you did all the,
assumptions about like people wrapped up in each other's arms, but
walk in. Were you right here through the course of the evening? People would get up and dance with each other at the table, then they would say to me: would you like to dance? I kept saying no and
finally towards the very end of the evening, one of the guys leaned over to me at the table, and he said to me- look if you would just get up and come out on the dance floor with me. I will whisper in your ear what to do, and I thought well, I'm fifty eight years old
you do. I really care with the world thinks about me. Not particularly south.
I got up and went out on the dance floor, but we came back to the table at all. The other people said to me. The band is here again in a month. You should come back so the month went by and let it go back. Why did you go back? You you'd been so kind of resistant. I just love doing it in every opportunity to do. It was more funding than the last time it was a creep. It was that you looked around and all of a sudden, you were taking five classes, the weak, that's a lot of classes. You know it was just you couldn't get enough of it, but it was a passion. It wasn't an obsession, those first few weeks and months. Can you tell me what your body felt like
when you were dancing the thing that really grabs you. I've got a surfer, but I've been a body surfer. When I was a kid in the near, you always want perfect way. The perfect that- and there are moments of such absolute union and bliss, while your dancing.
The two of you together, you are one being forelegs just totally together, and that is such a wonderful feeling that you want it again and again, so you keep going back looking for it and you don't always fight. In fact, it is rare to get it totally, but you
always thinking this is going to be the dance. This is going to be the dance yeah. I used to look at men and judge them on all kinds of things, from height to age, to social standing and entangle. My focus
narrowed. I began to judge people only by whether I would like to dance with them for the next twelve minutes.
You know a fifty eight year old woman doesn't normally look at the twenty five year old guys. I now was making friends with twenty five year old guys because they wanted to dance, and I wanted to dance
it free you in some way, except that resonate yeah. It changes. What's important to you so
your dancing. More and more, you can feel yourself getting better and you want to take it to the next level. So you go to the tangle capital of the world. When us I race and used, are going to these dances,
The city, which is where you meet Luis, tell me about the first time you saw him.
I was out of them a longer, which is why the tangled answer is called.
and at any longer is set up normally kind of like an eighth grade, mixer both to the manner sitting on one side.
Most of the women are sitting on the other side
and the men invite the women to dance with a slight nod of the hat. It's called the kaaba sale, and so I'm sitting here watching and I notice louise dancing by with this other,
women and I'm thinkin about leaving its toward the end of the dance. I look up and his approaching my table, so I got up and danced with him. He was a lovely day. Answer
I was glad to be dancing with him, but in my mind it was nothing special to the next week. I go back and soon as I get there, he pops up and asks me to dance and he nods at me like say yes, because damn I know him and so ideas with him and I dance miserably so
Nobody else asked me to dance that dance even worse and maybe a dance with one other guy, and I realized I just feel rotten, I'm just sick, so I'm going home cause. This is no pun, and so I tried to say to him: look you're not going to be stuck with me all afternoon, because I'm going home and he's like. Oh no, no, no, don't leave don't leave. You can't leave.
Were you reacting to this? This guy clearly really wants you to stay and dance with him. What does that mean to you? Well, you see. You're kind of responding like an american would respond. Oh okay, I had been told before I went that these guys
all talk? Oh blah blah blah. He starts being nice to me and I'm thinking, okay, just just what you would expect huh. You know part of you like wanted to believe it. No no part of me believed that at heart, so finally he says to me: I'm going to tell you a secret. It's not you these!
And they don't know how to dance, hmm you're dancing, fine. What does that mean when he said that or how did you respond was like what a sweet thing to say. That was when I decided I really liked the sky hm
So I left in the following week of Saturday afternoon when it would have been a dancing. I wrote him a note from my kitchen table than virginia and said you know. Thank you so much. My trip was much better for having that you
I told him that I would probably be back in the far he then in september
I got an email from them that says you set your coming back. When are you coming back long?
Well, I came back in november and I we made an agreement to meet them at the mill.
Go where we had now, so we were up on the dance floor dancing and he says to me. I think you were going to be one of the great blobs of my life. It just seems so outrageous wow. Can I ask you then eighty when someone says something like that
which is a big thing to say to someone when you're wrapped up in an embrace. You know spinning across against four did part of you believe it
in a sense, as I hardly knew him, as
I knew he was a nice guy sure, but am he claims that was love at first sight.
So he says this thing to you. I think you're, one of the great
of my life tommy. What happens after that? We balance
in the belong on friday. We laughed, we walked three four blocks. One of the biggest oldest peter
he is in downtown buenos aires, so this was a date that was kind of like yeah. This was a day dismissed the day you could tell. This is a day.
So we had a very nice time and I lived maybe ten bucks away, and so he walked me home
and when we get home by now, I'm thinking that this guy could be fun
but I'm thinking of a more I'm on vacation. Would this be fun? So I asked him if you want to come upstairs than he did
And- and he never left- we've been together ever since he wanted him to stay, we did not break up. Is he the best answer? You've ever danced with best answer or the one I enjoy dancing with must. Have you tell me actually? No, he is a great dancer. He is a wonderful dancer, but the thing is that, because he is so protective of me and so involved with me that when we dance he holds me too tight. He worries about what's going to happen and he doesn't have the freedom to dance morse. The sense do
Why? Because he's just so concerned about me, so you might danced with other people, but you always come back to each other. You dont have seven or eight hours to talk about what happens on the deck. Maybe I'll just come in
you in buenos aires? How does that sound your like news
Nancy, and these have been met.
for nine years. These put their time between
argentina in america and they consider both places their homes. Their life together is full of dance
modern love is produced by julio taro, christina Josiah illicit dudley enhance buteux, its edited by Sarah saracens. Our executive producer is Jen plant.
this episode was mixed by Sophia landmine
Our show is recorded by mattie masilo. The modern loveday music is by Dan power original music, and this
sued by dan power and marion Lozano digital production. By
image, blarney and now globally, special thing
to Anna diamond at autumn. The mob
of column is edited by Daniel Jones. Merely is the editor of modern those projects
I met a martin thanks for listening.
Transcript generated on 2023-03-17.