It seems ridiculous to binge out on a Netflix reality show, and start to justify the authenticity of the concept. Especially on shows like The Bachelor, or this latest beast, Love Is Blind.
It’s been a while since a show snagged my attention like this. The last time I remember being this invested was Outback Jack. How long ago was that?
But these reality shows open up questions, fodder; water-cooler conversations. I caught an episode of 90 Day Fiance, and asked the same thing – could you marry someone in three months? How about My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding? Even Say Yes to the Dress, these shows provide narrative among colleagues, and friends – could you do it? Did you hear what she said? Could you marry a guy like that?
The nattering goes on.
In Love Is Blind, the group of 20 & 30 somethings are corralled together to find love. It’s a round-robin, speed dating sort of set up with one catch – you don’t get to see whom you’re talking to. Each person is put into a “pod”, a wall separating them from the other person. You’re then forced to build a relationship off an emotional connection versus a physical attraction. In four weeks, if the connection is strong enough, someone will propose and then – and only then – do the fiances get to meet one another in person. Then they get to spend time together in Mexico, meeting one another’s families, before ultimately getting married two weeks later – should they actually make it down the aisle. And in some cases – should they not get left at the altar. And all this happens in – get this – six weeks. From pod to honeymoon. Six weeks.
It’s a crazy show. The synopsis is riveting. The characters are ridiculously fun. I’m hooked.
But introspectively, I’ve started to ask Jan some of the same questions I’ve heard asked by the various family members on the show – “are you sure?”, “do you really want to give your whole person to someone you barely know?”, “are you ready?”, “isn’t this a little fast?”
And I’m asking him because we never asked them of ourselves. We’ve beaten down and weathered every battering storm that’s been presented to us. And we’ve been asked. When we changed our relationship status on Facebook, Lord help me, we heard it all. We’ve been privy to the rumours, to the gossip. Someone will get brave and ask us to our face. We have our previous relationship(s) thrown at us. We have commentary in the background. Sometimes, it bubbles to the surface and we’re forced to face the music. We’re forced to say – yes, we’re still getting to know each other. Yes, we’re in this. Yes, we know we didn’t wait three years to move in together. We didn’t wait for what others perceived would be the right time for us to take the proverbial next steps in our relationship. Some people still feel entitled to their opinions. And we let them. Because we don’t dance in the darkness – we wear this relationship way out in the open; good or bad.
And sometimes it’s bad. And sometimes it’s rough. And we’re not afraid to say: we are still learning, growing, understanding, figuring things out.
When I watch a show like Love Is Blind, I equate myself among the characters that went from never seeing one another, to falling richly in love, engaged and ultimately married in such a short period of time. Arguably, Jan and I went from a couple of friends who supported one another online, and through events in the community, to becoming best friends that took a leap of faith. We trusted that our friendship had built a strong enough foundation that we could handle the intensity – and sometimes the scrutiny – of a new relationship travelling down the rails at mach speed. We’ve lost friendships. In some cases, even family ties. And we know that not everyone is going to understand, and so we have to accept that some people have chosen to walk away from us rather than support us in the next chapter of who we are and what we’re doing. In some cases, we even have to remain reserved in our plans.
(I’m being so diplomatic. I really just want to say – listen, we’re in the back nine of our dating lives. If we know this is what we want, support us or don’t. Walk, or talk. We’re going to do this, because we’re far too old to be looking for permission.)
The bottom line – like the characters of this realty show (which, by the way, I cannot wait for the reunion and I’ve been staking out every spoiler article I can find to see what’s in store), my reality show isn’t that far off the mark. Sometimes I try to keep Jan from posting monthly “anniversaries”, but the fact is, it makes him happy. And who the hell cares if we’ve been together three months, or twelve, one year or five hundred. The fact is, love is blind. And as a dear friend told me this morning “crazy, beautiful, mad, love. Love can be messy. It can be difficult. But it does what it wants to. Love doesn’t always have to make sense for it be beautiful.”
How true. That’s reality.
— c ☆