Love Is Sight-Impaired

What is your take on the concept of "love at first sight"? Personally, I think it's hooey, but I know a lot of otherwise sensible people who are convinced it exists.


Hooey is right! (And kudos to you for shaking the mothballs offa that word!) Like you, I also know a lot of otherwise sensible people who equate that welling up in the chest and groin upon meeting someone spectacular with love. In fact, back in my teenage years, I was one of them.

In most cases, when people talk about "love at first sight," it's more a case of lust at first sight. Easy enough to understand: You meet some magical person who embodies all that you have ever been geared to find attractive—why not decide you're in love with them before even bothering with something so unromantic as a conversation? Who cares if they talk exclusively in baby talk, say "nucular" instead of "nuclear," and haven't cracked a book since they dropped out of the sixth grade; they've got Brad Pitt's abs, Jenna Jameson's ass, and Jon Stewart's twinkly blue eyes (or some combination thereof).

My first boyfriend looked just like Sid Vicious, and on that alone I proudly declared my love for him. Unfortunately, he had more than looks in common with Señor Vicious, but I was so convinced it was true love that I stuck it out long after his psychosis had been revealed. (In all fairness, I was a teenager—I honestly believed the love of a good, albeit slightly retarded, girl could help curb the sociopathic violent tendencies. I was wrong.)

Because the people prone to LAFS are generally less sophisticated about their emotions—as well as splashing around in the shallow end of the pool—these relationships can last a good long time. So I guess we can't say they're complete hooey.

Besides the immediate, physical LAFS phenom, there's another, slightly more complicated version. That's the chemistry-gone-wild LAFS. This is the one that tends to suck me in. The alcoholic Lithuanian was a more recent case of LAFS. So were the clinically depressed forensic scientist and the twisted herpetic bass player. I'm sure there were more, but going through my old journals will only embarrass me, so you'll have to console yourself with these. What did all these men have in common? They were all out of their fucking minds.

Their assorted mental illnesses made them more like gurgling, smoking chemistry experiments gone horribly awry than men. My arguably nutty brain receptors tuned into their crazy frequency, latched on, and then all hell broke loose. The phero­mone exchange between us (all separately) was intense and dramatic. I never knew what they were thinking (or if they were thinking, though none was remotely stupid) or what they were going to do next: kill themselves, craft ugly sculpture, or quit speaking to me for reasons only the voices in their heads would know. For the time I was involved with any of these guys, I became as loony as they were. Friends were frightened for me. There were talks of inter­ventions. I'm over all that now. No, really.

So you see, these things are never really positive. LAFS is swell if you're either super shallow or really fucking nuts. For the rest of us (I include myself these days), love is a calmer affair that sneaks up on you after you get to know someone. Love doesn't make you want to insert a tracking device into your beloved's scrotum or creep around in the bushes outside her house; it fills you with a beatific, trusting feeling. Love doesn't make you psychotic, it makes you want to be a better person than you perhaps are.

Perhaps the biggest reason I'm skeptical about LAFS is because my most long-term relationship was with someone I disliked on sight. He looked like a rock critic and made no secret of how much smarter he was than anyone else on the planet (again, kinda like a rock critic!). It was only after cracking the snarky veneer that I realized there was something to love. That took me a few months, but it lasted over half a decade. (OK, so then he cheated on me, kicked me out of our home, and later died, but it was OK for a while.)

Got a bad case of it? Write Dategirl at

dategirl@seattle­weekly.comor c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave., Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.

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