Friday, December 20, 2002

Love at First What?

Do you believe in love at first sight? When did you "first" fall in love with the person you are/were/will be in love with?

I don't. I believe in lust, attraction, and that intangible "something special" that draws you to someone immediately, but love? Nah. It's just too complicated of an emotion to be pegged as such instantly. Personally, I think most of what people call "love at first sight" can be attributed to their current feelings for someone--looking back, it can be hard to imagine a time you didn't "love" him or her.

I once dated a guy who was a staunch believer in love at first sight. He further claimed that the reason for this belief was that he had fallen in love with me at first sight. (Hmmm...) According to him, he saw me from across the room (forgive me as this morphs into an Air Supply song....); laughing as I loaded my plate at the dorm cafeteria salad bar, clad in a "Let Pretzel Boy Play" t-shirt (remember those Rold Gold commercials with Jason Alexander?) and cut-offs. I was tall and red-haired (those are really the only 2 things that stand out about me, and BOY do they...), and oozing confidence like syrup. He said later "You were just so....alive. I couldn't take my eyes off you. I wanted to know you more than I had ever wanted ANYTHING before."
(Yeah, he gave good verbals...)

We met a few days later, when by chance a mutual acquaintance invited us both over; and he was apparently like "Oh. My. God. It's her."

Well, as much as I liked being the her in this story, I still don't buy the "love at first sight" thing.

Later, I asked him if he had set out to fall in love with me, right from the beginning. If it had been some sort of plan on his part. He replied "No, but I hoped."

I didn't like that. It was as if everything about me that made me ME was negligible. He had already caught a five-second glimpse of me, and decided that he hoped we'd fall in love. What did it matter if I was a bleeding heart liberal, a vegetarian who ate ribs when drunk enough, an ex-artist psych major who equally loved the concrete jungle and the clorophyll one? Why did he need to know my hopes, my dreams, my successes and failures? I was the tall, smiling redhead in the funny t-shirt. That was all he needed.

That's another reason I'm not a fan of the love at first sight concept. It reduces us from whole, fascinating, self-actualizing beings to a simple sum of parts. When you "fall in love" upon first glancing at someone, do you ever really see more of them? Or do you spend the entirety of your relationship trying to reconcile what you imagined them to be with that first look and who they actually are?

I think it's the latter. Call me unromantic, but I think we deserve more than to forever be a shadow of a snapshot on someone's psyche.

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