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March 6, 2020

Why Love is not Blind.

“Any love that is solely based on physical beauty, is a stranger to longevity.” ~  Edmond Mbiaka

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If you haven’t watched Netflix’s recent reality series, “Love is Blind,” you’re missing out on some quality television right here.

I mean, a bunch of above-average looking single people proposing to each other before ever laying eyes on each other? Then moving into each other’s homes and meeting each other’s families weeks leading up to a potential wedding? What more could we ask for!

But here’s the problem. The show, which is supposedly an experiment testing whether or not love is “blind,” whether these people’s connections can last once things like, age, gender, appearance, religion, race, finances, history, and family come into play, is fundamentally flawed.

For one, if love really was blind, why wouldn’t the contestants be average-looking Joes? I’d love to see that experiment play out. Second, of course love isn’t blind. Why? Because a relationship is founded on all of these things put together. Because, for a relationship to work, love sometimes is not enough. Because, sadly, at the end of the day, people are shallow. And physical attraction is something some people cannot ignore.

In the show, one woman struggled to get over the fact that she was just not attracted to the guy she ended up with who was 10 years her junior. She kept saying, “Our connection in the pod was so different than it is outside of it.” And in one scene after, the poor guy tried to recreate the pod setting so they could have dinner together, talking, not looking at one another, just to see if the connection would come back.

And all I could think was, my god, that is sad. What if love really were blind? What if we could somehow fall for and stay in love with anyone, no matter their outer appearance?

When I think of my own relationships, I’d like to say they aren’t based on looks. For the most part, it is true. But what they are based on is attraction. To me, it doesn’t matter if you have a perfectly symmetrical face or chiseled abs—what matters is that there’s something in you or about you that sparks an interest in me.

What matters is chemistry.

And maybe that’s your broad shoulders, or your height, or the way your mouth crinkles to the side when you smile. Or maybe that’s the jokes you tell, and how you make my belly roar with laughter. Maybe it’s your taste in music. Maybe it’s your smell, when you work out, or right after you hop out of the shower. Maybe it’s the sound of your voice. At night. On the phone. Calling me unexpectedly on a walk home from work.

Chemistry.

There are so many things that make us attracted to another human being. And I don’t think it’s possible to have a relationship without the 3D-version of the other person. I think it’s the entirety of someone that makes us fall in love with them.

“Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that’s a real treat.” ~ Joanne Woodward, on living with Paul Newman

Thinking back to “Love is Blind,” I was wondering why millions of people have found the show so damn addictive (aside from, you know, all the over-the-top drama). Maybe part of what draws us to it is that we have hope. Maybe, even though we know better from reality television, we want to see whether love really can be blind. Whether our faith in humanity can be restored from these 40 strangers looking for love in people they’ve never seen before.

And maybe the message here is that the people on this show aren’t exactly the ones we should be judging society up against. I get that they’re not really the poster children for true love we should be looking up to.

But, what we can take away from the show is this:

1. Know yourself. We don’t have to love ourselves first or fix all our problems before we find love, but when we know what we want and what we’re looking for and what we deserve, we can better search for a potential partner.

2. Looks are not everything. Clearly, it is something. But attraction, chemistry, and compatibility surpass it.

3. Love surprises us. At the end of the day, some of these couples did form connections and (spoiler alert) two do end up together. And they aren’t who we expected from the start. Love can come at us when we least expect it, and when it really does, that checklist we have goes out the window.

At the end of the day, we will grow old; our bodies will change. We will lose our “youthful” selves. Our stomachs will grow and expand. Our skin will sag. We will get lines across our once smooth faces. Our hands will become rough with signs of a life well-lived.

And we will look at the people around us—our partner, our children, our friends, our nieces, our nephews—full of gratitude because love, after all these years, accepts these people for all they are with our eyes wide open.

 

“Once we recognize the fact that every individual is a treasury of hidden and unsuspected qualities, our lives become richer, our judgment better, and our world is more right. It is not love that is blind, it is only the unnoticed eye that cannot see the real qualities of people.” ~ Charles H. Percy

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