Warning: Spoiler alerts ahead!
I don’t typically watch a ton of television, but during this stay-inside time, I succumbed to the draw of “Love is Blind,” the smash Netflix reality show where couples fall in love and get engaged before even setting eyes on each other.
Posed as an “experiment,” the question the show attempts to answer is: “Is love blind?”
In the show, a group of singles looking for love are introduced to each other — in seclusion — holding no-holds-barred conversations with one another behind (separate) closed doors. There’s no access to cell phones or social media, and after a period of time, if connections grow, the couples exchange “I love yous” and get engaged before they meet each other in person.
Of the handful of the featured six couples who became engaged, only two couples made it past the altar — the other relationships crashed and burned with varying degrees of drama.
So: “Is love blind?” Honestly, I don’t think it’s the right question, but the show results do affirm what I have experienced to be true: that lasting love requires both the emotional and the physical. The successful couples had physical chemistry. The unsuccessful couples did not, which was not only painfully obvious to viewers but eventually confessed to by the participants.
But still, the show is on the right track: it removes the judgments and pre-conceived notions caused by sight and the distractions of the modern world — leaving participants fully attentive and focused on learning and understanding one another’s interests, goals, values and worldview.
Given that we’re all in self-quarantine, the idea seems apropos. As isolated people look to connect, should we take a cue from “Love is Blind”?
The answer is yes, if it brings us to being vulnerable, breaking down walls, and truly getting to know someone.
Love in a time of quarantine
Bumble, touting their video and voice features, encourages: “You can still date — just do it virtually!”
Assuming we all follow the keep-your-distance rules, a “what’s up” and its pathetic, ambivalent buddies (I’m talking to you, “Hi” and “Hey”) — will not keep any swipe matches engaged enough to eventually date. Until it’s safe to meet in person, people will have to try a little harder. We’ll have to really talk to each other. We won’t be led off course by looks and surface conversation. The first kiss will wait.
So while all of that may be a benefit, by itself, it won’t be enough. It will only get singles so far. As “Love is Blind” has shown us, as well as my own personal experience, in-person is key.
And to fully clarify — I’m NOT talking about looks. You can find someone attractive via photos and videos. But ATTRACTION happens in person. Love is not confined or flattened into a single sense. Love encompasses all our senses: sight, touch, smell, taste, and hearing (and the sixth sense being the butterflies in your stomach). All of these things together can only be experienced in the presence of a person.
If this situation drives singles to start communicating on a deeper level, that’s a positive. Connections can be sought and relationships started virtually. But they cannot be proven or sustained without being physically together.
Here’s hoping we all are able to find viable connections that will be around post-pandemic!