June 11, 2012
The November-December issue of Skeptical Inquirer contains an article called "Love at First Sight," and cites a survey by marketing expert Earl Naumann that almost two out of three Americans believe in it.
Over half claim to have actually experienced it and over half of those went on to marry the person they had instantly fallen in love with. Astonishingly, 75 percent of those couples were still married at the time of the study, a figure far higher than the national average.
So it is quite possible that if you meet his or her eyes, one fine day, you will meet your soul mate.
It makes it a little complicated if you’re married, but you can work it out.
In another series of studies, Griffiths and Kunz in 1973 and Hinz in 1989 came to the same conclusion: It seems that the dominant factor in the process of falling in love is the face, and people unconsciously identify the "right" face as one with a certain resemblance to their own, undercutting the folk wisdom that opposites attract.
Is it love then or narcissism? In Ovid's Metamorphoses, Narcissus becomes immediately spellbound and charmed by his own (unbeknownst to him) image.
Some psychologists say that it all depends on your psychological state at the moment. And if you’re vulnerable, 30 seconds is the estimated time, with men usually falling at the speed of light. (We’re easier.)
For the ancient Greeks, the phenomenon of "love at first sight" was a kind of madness or mania ("madness from the gods"). Love’s arrow, in the form of Eros or Cupid, would plunk you and that was that.
History provides us with many examples. Some of which may even be true.
The first eye contact between Rebecca and Isaac led to a love of a biblical proportions. Prince Paris of Troy fell instantly in love with the face that launched a thousand ships. Romeo and Juliet locked eyes and launched thousands of productions. Barbra Steisand spotted Robert Redford on a bar stool and everyone knew. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan clasped hands and America weeped.
And my favorite couple Homer met Marge (née Bouvier) in detension and the rest is history. And look how well that’s doing.
Oh yes, logically you can explain it all away. Puppy love, lust at first sight, "falling in love with love is falling for make believe." The cynics are out there.
Dating services believe in love at first profile and will provide you with at least 200 degrees of compatibility. Might as well select the color for the bridesmaids dresses now.
Do I believe in that split second where you know, "You're the mate that fate had been created for?"
I think Oscar Hammerstein said it best.
“Who can explain it? Who can tell you why? Fools give you reasons. Wise men never try.”
Allow me to be wise, for just a moment. (I know it will pass, so indulge me.)
I not only believe in love at first sight, I think it essential.