Do you believe in “Love at first sight?”
No! this is not going to be one of those “mushy” pull on the heartstrings type of blog posts, engineered to bring tears and feelings of heartbreak and lost opportunities. Rather it will be the kind of blog post that makes you wonder. On Sept 11 we ran a poll with that exact question. The results were exactly 50% Yes and 50% No. Our sister station KOOL98 poll results were somewhat different, with 68.57% saying Yes and 31.43% saying no. That was enough of a difference to pursue the question in more depth.
According to a 2017 Harper’s Bazzar poll, 61% of women and GET THIS 72% of men think that “Love at first sight” is real! So what does this all mean? Well for starters we have a current real life example to use. Prince Harry, in a BBC interview, reportedly experienced it, saying he knew Meghan Markle, was the one for him the “very first time we met.” But there is more to it than that. Science tells us that there is an actual chemical reaction that makes you feel love. The brain is creating dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals change everything. They make it real.
In the classical times, the phenomenon of “Love at first sight” was understood within the context of a more general conception of passionate love, a kind of madness. The Greeks had an actual phrase, theia mania, meaning “madness from the gods.” This love passion was described through an elaborate metaphoric and mythological psychological schema involving “love’s arrows” or “love darts,” the source of which was often given as the mythological Eros or Cupid. At times, the source of the arrows was said to be the image of the beautiful love object itself. If these arrows arrived at the lover’s eyes, they would then travel to and ‘pierce’ his or her heart, overwhelming them with desire and longing creating a love sickness. The image of the “arrow’s wound” has stayed with the notion of Love ever since.
“Love at first sight” was explained as a sudden and immediate beguiling of the lover through the action of these processes, and is illustrated in numerous Greek and Roman works. For example, Achilles Tatius’s Leucippe and Clitophon, the lover Clitophon thus describes his own experience of the phenomenon: “As soon as I had seen her, I was lost. For Beauty’s wound is sharper than any weapon’s, and it runs through the eyes down to the soul. It is through the eye that love’s wound passes, and I now became a prey to a host of emotions…” “Love at first sight” was not, however, the only mode of entering into passionate love in classical texts; at times the passion could occur after the initial meeting or could precede the first glimpse.
William Shakespeare pays a wonderful “Love at first sight” tribute to Christopher Marlowe, who himself wrote “Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?” in his 1598 poem Hero and Leander, by citing him in As You Like It: ‘Dead shepherd, now I find thy saw of might: “Who ever lov’d that lov’d not at first sight?”
In more modern times our stories point toward the same direction. According to Forrest Gump – he fell in love with her the first time he saw her get on the school bus. The prince fell in love with Cinderella the first time he set eyes on her. In the blockbuster, Titanic, Jack immediately falls in love with Rose the instant he sets his first gaze upon her. One could go on and on about books, and movies that talk about ‘Love at first sight” but it is far from a romantic trope.
Research has shown two bases for love at first sight. The first is that the attractiveness of a person can be very quickly determined, with the average time in one study being 0.13 seconds. The second is that the first few minutes, but not the first moment, of a relationship have shown to be predictive of the relationship’s future success, more so than what two people have in common or whether they like each other. Strangely enough it is usually the male. Infatuation, not to be confused with love at first sight, is the state of being carried away by an unreasoned passion or assumed love.
In a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, scientist discovered that people are capable of deciding almost immediately if they find someone attractive. Obviously the phenomenon of “Love at first sight” cannot happen without this initial attraction. Within Moments the chemicals released in your brain, let you know if you are interested. Ultimately this is what often leads to developing a lasting relationship. Yet it reminiscent of the song “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”…
It goes without saying that a bond that keeps people together requires a much deeper connection. Keeping that in mind it is also worth noting that there is scientific evidence that says “Love at first sight” is real.
So the next time you feel your heart flutter, skip a beat or have butterflies in your stomach…take notice. Remember the “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”…