Just short of two months ago, we all sat down to laugh at the contestants of Love Is Blind, the Netflix dating show that took society by storm. Though the premise of this show shocked me too, it is certainly not just another trashy TV show. Whilst it does sound pretty mad that you should have to propose to a stranger within days of talking, some of us think marriage is a crazy commitment altogether. Perhaps, then, this intense method of finding love is an ingenious way to make that commitment. Coming in with a set of standards and a clear intention seems ideal to figure out your ideal partner. And given our current circumstance, this seems more relevant than ever.
Illustration: Dillen Phelps
Our tendency to be keyboard warriors led the majority of the public to judge and ridicule the contestants of the show on social media. But were we quick to ridicule them? As we now find ourselves in temporary confinement to our households, we are left to question how we are going to maintain our relationships, and all the eligible bachelors and bachelorettes, including me, are probably spiralling trying to figure out how we’re going to find our new boo. So, this is where we ask ourselves, what can we learn from the contestants of the show and what is up with society’s standards of dating and finding love?
The situation with Mark and Jessica tells us how society has become intensely more superficial. With the rise of social media platforms and the creation of a new-age utopia, unlike the classical utopian films that society was used to, we have created an ideal image of a partner in our heads. When Jessica clearly attempted to self-sabotage her relationship with Mark, only one thing persisted and that was her denial. This is the irony with our society: we hold extremely high standards but most of us don’t want to admit that. What we can learn, is while it is respectable that Jessica took a risk, she needed to be more transparent with Mark. In these trying times, the most valuable thing we have is communication. Ultimately communication is what is going to carry our relationships, and whilst there’s nothing wrong with not wanting to settle, we cannot hurt the other person by waiting to tell them.
The truth is, most of us are likely to be like Jessica. The media, television and film, as well as our past experiences, have defined who we want to be with, so the idea of committing to someone without knowing what they look like is terrifying. We might be nit-picky when it comes to the height and build of our partners, which we can only blame on the value of aesthetics in our lives, but when we consider aspects such as race and culture, the barriers may be harder to dismantle.
Which brings us to Lauren and Cameron. It was annoying when all Jessica could talk about was her age difference with Mark, but it was very understandable when Lauren would mention the race difference between her and Cameron. For a black woman who had never dated a white guy, her reservations were just and reasonable. This type of situation can be more deeply rooted and complicated for someone, so we couldn’t blame her for being worried. Yet, the couple taught us about open-mindedness, the value of communication, the sharing of cultures and the acceptance of one another. What was definitely unnecessary, though, was Cameron’s rap…
I feel like we need to let loose a little bit. We did judge these people even though it’s an experience not everyone is built for. Unlike some of the contestants, not all of us are prepared to let go of these standards because they are so embedded within us. Obviously, distanced and non-physical relationships can still be successful, and separation can strengthen our connections massively. Lauren and Cameron, who were engaged in just three days, communicated effectively through their troubles. The reservations were laid out on the table and tackled accordingly. Instead of not openly accepting that there were anxieties about their relationship (like Jessica), they were real with each other. From not knowing whether she’d say yes on the wedding day, to being happily married, Lauren and Cameron have set an example for people. Let’s be honest and willing to try. Let’s learn about each other, and not take genuine, meaningful conversations for granted. Love may not be blind but society truly is, and it’s usually us, ourselves, pulling the wool over our own eyes.