What is Love (At First Sight)?
So after nearly two and a half weeks of searching, reading and interviewing, I am happy to say that my research is complete! This is what happened:
I asked 3 males and 3 females from the ages of 13-21 to help me answer a simple question and give their two sense on why they chose the answer that they did. Before I get into what the question is, let me paint the scenario on how this came to be.
I started asking for interviewees right around the time that I heard this conversation. It was at Chapters, and I was looking for another poetry book. As I scoured the shelves trying to find this book, I heard giggling. It was loud and shrill, and though this was not a library, I could feel all eyes on these two teenage girls. With teenage girls, I have to say they were maybe 15, but of course it is so difficult to tell these days.
They each were holding a copy of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and laughing madly. When their laughter subsided, one of them whispered, “What would it like to have a guy fall in love with you, knowing that you were the one for him? And he didn’t need to look for anyone else. All he needed was to convince you that you were the one for him.”
That touched me, just a little bit.
I grew up with the age of Disney princesses meeting their one true love, usually some guy with a good head of hair on a horse. They did not know it then, but by the end of the movie we all knew that Cinderella and the guy with the awesome shoulder pads were going to get married. In contrast, many chick flicks usually revolve around two people that maybe first hate each other, then eventually grow to love each other.
So which is the norm, and which is just pure fantasy?
This brings me to the simple question I wanted to ask all my interviewees:
“Do you believe in love at first sight?”
I asked all my interviewees to answer with yes or no, and then to substantiate further. Of course, there is no right or wrong answer. Some were quick to answer, while some pored for hours and hours. The verdict? 81% of the people do not believe in love at first sight, and here are some of the reasons why:
“Love at first sight is basically what it is; it’s what you see” (F/14)
“There is such thing as infatuation at first sight, but I can’t believe that people could fall in love with someone that they barely know” (M/16)
“People are difficult to figure out – you can never tell a person entirely at just a glimpse” (M/17)
“You need to be able to feel love and grow with it. It requires patience” (F/18)
“In 0.5 seconds, you can’t know a person’s past, baggage or life story” (M/19)
“First impressions can be really different from reality” (F/21)
While the majority voted against the possibility of love at first sight happening at all, there were some hopefuls: the rest of the interviewees (19%) believed that it was possible to fall for someone that they just met.
“When someone catches your attention, the feeling is hard to explain. You want to go after that person because you never know when you will see them again” (M/13)
“Try to make it work. First person, first impression” (M/15)
“There have been many people in my life that have experienced it, and I am willing to believe that it could happen to me” (F/16)
“Love at first sight happens on eye contact. We would both know it right away” (F/17)
“Blame it on romantic movies” (M/20)
It was interesting to see what people had to say and how that correlated to their age and gender. Going into this, I had a bias that males would definitely be against this whole idea of love at first sight. However, 25% of the boys believed that it was possible, while just 13% of girls believed that it was possible. Generally, most of those that said ‘yes’ were on the younger side, though there were a few exceptions.
While I was interviewing a 13 year old girl, we had a deep conversation about books and TV shows and movies. She was all for love at first sight, determined to find that one “movie moment” where she would meet the guy of her dreams. She thought about this in silence for a bit, and then turned the tables on me. “Do you believe in love at first sight?”
Though I had this question bouncing around in my mind, I never took the time to answer it internally. I thought and thought. I told her that eventually, I would get back to her. Today, I will get back to her:
For me, I am not entirely sure. Even in the movies, the people that eventually fall in love do not love each other at first sight. As mentioned above, they probably get annoyed with each other. Examples I can use are the main characters in “Letters to Juliet” or “27 Dresses”. Even Hazel Grace did not feel Augustus Waters right away, even though he knew in his heart that she was the one.
Is it possible? Maybe. There are plenty of stories out there that suggest that love at first sight is possible, and I have talked to many people whose parents, grandparents or other relatives have met “the One” and stuck with them ever since. My personal experience with what people identify as “that slow motion moment” is plenty. I have met several guys that I have crushed on and eventually became just friends with, and others that I have eventually dated and still others that have later proven that they are nothing like what I thought they would be like. And of course, there are many that I will forever have undying feelings for, like Jimmy Fallon.
So back to those girls at Chapters. While the one girl was fantasizing of how she would meet the one person she would spend the rest of her life with, her friend asked her if she believed in love at first sight. She said yes and returned the question. “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
And maybe, that’s all you really can do.
The Bible tells us that “love is patient [and] love is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4). 27 Dresses taught me that:
The journey of love, and I am beginning to learn, is more than just good looks and first impressions. It is how you grow with the person and how you learn to love them in return that makes it worthwhile and exciting. You learn so much from these experiences and gain new insight. And even though you may lose your mind once or twice, what is important is how you pick yourself up and get back onto both feet.
So love the ones you are with! Love the person in front of you, behind you and beside you and enjoy the moments you make. There is only one week of summer left (boo!), so make the most of it and spill more ink while you do.
Thank you to all who let me steal a bit of their time so that I could talk to them for this article. I am truly blessed to have gained new insight from so many different people. x