It’s well-known amongst my friends and family that I’m not the soppy type. By which I mean I am not prone to overt displays of affection, loving declarations, or doe-eyed gazing. In fact, I’m pretty selective and self-controlled with my affections. Usually. So if you had asked me whether I believe in love at first sight, the chances are that I would have responded with a resounding “no”. I am rational, analytical, on occasions cold, and not inclined towards fairy-tale-esque dramas. They smudge my lipstick and ruffle my petticoats.
But if I’m honest with myself, it’s difficult to deny that something along those lines is possible, at least for some people. And if it can happen to me, with all my repression and rationality, then presumably it can happen to anyone. I’m not saying it’s wise, but I think it’s possible.
It was all rather bizarre and a long time ago. I was out with friends for a dance class and afterwards we went for a glass of wine. The details are unimportant, but the outcome was this: I was introduced to a friend of a friend and I fell instantly in love. All my British reserve, stiff upper lip, and feminist baggage could do nothing whatsoever to intervene – I was sunk. It was, dear reader, entirely beyond my control and I had no idea what was happening. I knew I needed to be near him. I knew I couldn’t possibly envisage a life whereby I didn’t see him again. I repeat – this is not my usual behaviour.
I can remember saying to the friend who introduced me to the unwitting victim of my affections:
Who’s that friend of yours? I think I love him. I mean I actually love him.
And I meant it. I’d never known anything like it before and I’ve never had it happen since. So, I hear you cry, what did I do? I did a crazy thing. I went on with my night out, and when I got home, I used the power of the internet to do something that is usually not in my nature. I asked him out. Not, you understand, in a nice, respectable, private sort of way. Nope. I emailed his boss, which was the only way I could think of to get hold of someone for whom all I had a was a first name and place of work.
I can’t explain it to this day; I have read psychological articles about love at first sight and they tend to say things like:
Love at first sight is not merely sexual attraction. It is an intense form of romantic love that has a good chance of developing into profound intense love, provided that the characteristics that are not seen at first sight are indeed similar to those the lover assumes, and that no external circumstances occur to terminate the relationship.
So, psychologically-speaking, it’s sort of real as long as the impressions you get of that person are correct? Awesome. As it happened, he was equally besotted with me, luckily didn’t think that a crazed stranger who emailed his boss asking for a date with her employee was a danger to society, and we entered into a relationship.
Of course, the “external circumstances” are often beyond our control and can bugger it up royally. For example, you might fall in love at first sight with someone who lives overseas, or who is married, or a serial killer, or as happened in my case, who works every hour that you are not at work and vice versa. Those circumstances did cause the relationship to implode in a catastrophic fireball – perhaps I’ll save that for a different post. But the fact remains. Love at first sight happened. Not in a novel, or a film, or a daydream. Just to little old me. Go figure.