Love at first sight: Is it possible?
I had thought this would be an easy subject to handle. How could one possibly set eyes on someone for the first time and fall in love instantly. Admire the person? Yes. Like him or her? Yes, it is possible. But love, the true sense of love? Haaaaaa, impossible!
That was my take some weeks ago. Not so now. Not with the evidence before me now.
Love at first sight is an experience and a common figure of speech in literature in which a person, character, or speaker feels an instant and extreme romantic attraction for a stranger on the first sight of them.
Carla Bruni was once reported as saying that it was love at first sight between her and the former French President Nicolas Sarkozy. She said that what happened “between Nicolas and me was not quick, it was instant. So for us, [the wedding] was actually very slow.”
This account of a Femi I know is very funny but instructive. Femi had gone to a First Bank branch on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos for a transaction. As soon as he took his position on the short queue there, he said he saw a beautiful curvy lady at one of the counters in the process of making some withdrawal.
He stood there gaping at her, as a little voice in his head kept on saying, “I must get this girl, I must.” He said his breadth become shorter and he noticed he was sweating in the AC. He was struck by a loving feeling, tender and wild.
As the lady finished and headed for the exit door, Femi decided to wait a little in the banking hall before rushing out to meet her. Too bad for him! When she dashed out to catch up with her, she was already driving out, a female companion with her in the car. He watched helplessly as they drove off.
Four good months after the encounter, Femi still talks about the lady. “I love that girl,” he says.
Why it is impossible
Wasn’t Femi confusing sexual attraction with love? Is love “at first sight” possible? Seeing the woman only briefly did not afford him enough opportunity to assess her well enough. Hips don’t lie, they say, but curves have short market life.
Indeed, it has been observed that in many cases, when we get to know others whom we admire from a distance, we may even come to regard them as downright repulsive! In this age of body shape enhancers, where the boobs that make some men ogle may be non-existent, love at first site may be a risky business.
Also, since loving is described as an activity involving a set of caring activities including being loyal, consistent, candid, trustworthy, considerate, empathetic, tolerant, beneficent, and being there, then it goes without saying that “loving is an intimate, personal activity that seeks the welfare, happiness, and safety of another.”
What therefore must have happened is that Femi admired the lady or even liked her. But liking her, even liking her a lot, is not the same as loving her.
It is possible
On the other side of the heart, another school of experts counter frantically that love at first sight is possible. Some people even say that the first intense love you ever feel is the one at first sight. That is rather simplistic.
Other people give it a mystical dimension. They believe there can be a mystical experience of unity that accompanies the mere sight of the beloved for the first time; that the person may have been know in a prior lifetime.
The scientist has also spoken: they say the fact that love at first sight may be based upon unreliable information does not mean that it is not an instance of intense love. Research indicates that romantic love is often based upon idealization and positive illusions, and this is also true concerning love that lasts many years. This is also the case concerning other emotions.
According to Dr. Aaron Ben-Zeév, although love at first sight cannot be profound as there has been no time for creating such profoundness, love at first sight should not be described as shallow; it is just that the issue of profoundness is not yet relevant.
Ben-Zeév goes argues further that the assumption that we cannot attribute to a person characteristics that are not seen at the moment to fall in love is flawed since we often spontaneously attribute such characteristics, by using certain stereotypical evaluations. Accordingly, attractive people are more likely to be the object of love at first sight.
Research has also shown that the attractiveness of a person can be very quickly determined, with the average time in one study being 0.13 seconds; and that the first few minutes, but not the first moment, of a relationship have shown to be predictive of the relationship’s future success.
In conclusion, although it must be said that love takes time to cultivate, and love at first sight is unrealistic, we must not be hasty at dismissing it because full- blown love starts somewhere.