Quirk. n. A personal peculiarity. We’ve all got ’em.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

It is now mid-June, 2011 here in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  The Harvard students have left town, some for good having just graduated; others making the trek to where all true Harvard students go in summer, to Washington, D.C. — and Power.

The town is now filling up with summer school students who want to buff up their resumes by studying at Hahvud. Of course, bona fide Harvard grads always know the difference… and make you feel your presumption.

… but I’m not here to write about these folks, though they no doubt bring plenty of tales. I am here to comment on all the June weddings taking place in the many churches clustered around the Cambridge Common.  The Puritans who created the Commonwealth designated Cambridge as the theological center of their new land. And while they wanted conformity, they reluctantly accepted multiplicity… so on any given Sunday there is a plethora of ideological choices.

But doctrine isn’t my story. My story today concerns, as stated, the many weddings taking place just now… and just what bride and groom, bride and bride and groom and groom (for Cambridge celebrates its progressive attitude so) really know about each other…

…. their quirks.

Quirks are the peculiarities each of us  has collected over the years.  Passion may quell. Desire wane. Love transmute. But quirks are forever. And ever… and ever. Which, so often, drive your Significant Other to estrangement and Judge Judy.

Be honest with your mate… they’re going to find out anyway.

Along with blood tests and other marriage pre-requisites there should be a full disclosure of one’s quirks… and a frank, honest discussion about whether you can stand the quirks you are about to live with. In the interest of fair play and total truth, I shall write here, right now, a few of my own personal quirks.

Item: I have been known to take 3 showers or more in a day, day after day. If  cleanliness is next to godliness, I am sitting in His lap.

Item: I detest face cloths and regard their very presence as provocative, as likely repositories of germs and bad smells.

Item: If I use a spoon when eating my breakfast, I will use it with only one thing, and must then get another.  It means more spoon washing but the clear separation of food tastes and textures is worth it.

Getting the picture?

Since I am in the vanguard of quirk acknowledgement and disclosure,  I want to push the envelope further, aiming to make the subject a must ingredient in the selection of mates.

As we all know, 50% of marriages, all of which commence in bliss and fairy tales, end in divorce. I feel sure that open acknowledgement and acceptance of partner quirks would cause these lamentable numbers to fall, even plummet.

Let me show you how that could be done.

Each partner is required to submit to the marrying authority, justice of the peace or archbishop, a list of ten of their quirks.

Note: we know that at first go both partners, enraptured by love remember, will not be as thorough and honest as required. So, regard this first list as practice; the fullest disclosure yet to come.

You suggest a quirk: “I run my fingers through my hair dozens of times a day and never have a comb handy”.

Your partner must then rate the quirk: on a scale of 1-10, (1 meaning “no problem”;  10 meaning “absolute deal breaker. Get out”.

Once each of you has run through your first list, it’s time to get serious. Each of you must list 10 quirks of your beloved… and, the key, rate them on that 1-10 scale.


GIs jumpiing out of airplanes in WWII used to shout the name of the great Apache chief as they leapt out. It signified one wild ride was about to begin. Seems appropriate to say it here, too…

Okay, let’s get started.

Partner 1: “When you eat M&Ms (which is every friggin’ day),you count them to make sure you only eat an even number. What’s that all about anyway?”

Now tell your partner (scale of 1-10) just how you feel about that quirk? The lower the score, the less noxious; the higher, the more.

This is a game sure to while away an otherwise unexceptional evening.

Share and share alike.

Remember, good manners and good cheer help this exercise move along.

Take turns identifying and rating quirks.

Remember, honesty is everything.

If the fact that your darlin’ has to count the M&Ms (and line up all the colors, too) really bugs you, say so. And if your partner says, “so what, that’s just the way I am”, that’s good, too. ALL perfect relationships are founded on perfect, total disclosure. What could be better?

Now switch. Identify a particularly aggravating partner quirk?

“You hum ‘Rule Britannia’ in your sleep and have a tendency to kick me when you reach “Britons never, never will be slaves.”

This being a nocturnal habit, partner may not even know. That’s why it’s so helpful to talk these matters out and why Full Quirk Disclosure is sure to catch on.

Nothing but benefits.

By now I feel sure the benefits of ‘fessing up on quirks holds nothing but benefits for all. That’s why this beneficial exercise must be expanded to parents and children; grandparents and grand children; members of Congress and all presidential candidates. You get the idea.

Start now. And never stint in your remarks. After all, love means never  having to say you’re sorry.


About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses.  He is also the author of 18 best-selling business books.

Republished with author’s permission by Graham Lee – The Income Zone

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