Could ‘Love Is Blind’ Actually Be A Genius Way To Find Love?

The tackiness of this program does not disqualify its contestants from finding something real.

Love Is Blind Netflix

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When I first started watching Love Is Blind, I was immediately obsessed with it and no longer cared about anything else in life.

It’s a “social experiment” in which hopeful Americans must interview strangers from behind a wall and get engaged without having seen their fiancé in person. It’s ostensibly to test whether you can fall in love without the distraction of physical attraction — and then stay in love once you’ve seen that person.

The premise is obviously deranged and yet, within minutes of watching this horrifying, fantastic program, I went from thinking “these maniacal bastards have created flawless trash television” to asking myself “could this actually be a romantic way to meet someone?”

It’d be a hell of an origin story and if I were single, I cannot promise I wouldn’t apply.

Have I lost my whole damn mind or could Netflix’s tackiest new reality TV show actually produce real love?

A Virgin, A Tank Mechanic, And Countless Christians Walk Into A Room

The contestants on this godforsaken program (long may it air), are told from the beginning that they have 38 days before actual weddings will take place.

Their task, before then, is to offer or accept a proposal of marriage, without knowing what that person looks, smells, or feels like.

A virgin, an ex-tank mechanic and many, many Christians sit on plush sofas in purpose-built little pods, chatting to people they cannot see. To their credit, they make themselves vulnerable. They’re candid and honest about what they’re looking for in a partner. They talk about wishes, dreams, flaws and secrets.

They take notes in little notepads because they’re dating so many strangers simultaneously.

They ask confronting questions and answer mostly truthfully. I know people who’ve married and had children without having conversations this open. These people are not messing around; they’ve deleted their dating apps and gone all in on finding love.

Underneath the kind of bravado it takes to go on reality television, all these people just want to love and be loved in return. Against all rationality, I cannot help but hope they’re successful.

Four days in, we get our first “I love you”.

In under a week, there are several marriage proposals. Anyone who doesn’t become a couple disappears from the camera’s view, never to be heard from again (Hello Rory? Where you at?). All the men get down on one knee to propose even though their betrothed cannot see them.

All the women deserve a modelling contract or at least an Instagram sponsorship (which somewhat undermines the whole thing because the producers are essentially rewarding basic emotional compatibility by handing out hot spouses to everyone, but by this stage we don’t care).

There’s a truly shocking level of sincerity and hope, given that one man proposes by yelling “Woooo! Let’s do this!” and another simply grunts and says “shit… will you marry me?” It’s absolute trash, yeah, but these people think they’re in love and who are we to say they aren’t?

Could This Be Love?

We, culturally, believe in love at first sight — the entire rom-com genre depends on it. So why not love at first reality television program?

An earnest gentleman with a bold chin sums up the virtue of this show, when he says of the woman he will marry in a few weeks: “She’s touched me without touching me. For the first time in my life someone has seen me without seeing me.”

That’s kind of beautiful, no?

The separation of vanity from emotion! The forming of attachment without physical chemistry! The commitment to another person without knowing you’ll fancy them! This guy feels like he’s genuinely had an emotional connection with someone and it’s powerful enough that he’s ready to promise her forever (you could get very drunk taking a shot every time someone says “emotional connection”).

He is rewarded for his bravery when it’s revealed that the woman he is engaged to could easily win a Kate Upton lookalike contest. Just days later, they fight over something inane on board a yacht in Cancun, but that doesn’t mean they’re not the loves of each other’s lives.

“I’m Having Fun And Scared At The Same Time!”

A woman who accidentally gets into her first interracial relationship later exclaims from inside a helicopter that’s been painted to look like a tiger, that she’s having fun but she’s scared at the same time.

And couldn’t that apply to all experiences of marriage?

Committing to one person for the rest of always is scary and fun at the same time. Love is mad and there is no formula for it. Time doesn’t guarantee happiness. Arranged marriages have a weirdly high success rate.

Who’s to say love is not present when a man with a surname for a first name says of his new fiancé: “Two weeks ago I had no idea who this Amber chick was”? The tackiness of this program does not disqualify its contestants from finding something real.

Sure, some of these relationships fail spectacularly. Some of these people behave atrociously. There’s plenty of scope for superficiality and rejection and heartbreak.

In one episode, a lithe, dissatisfied woman takes off her engagement ring because the 24-year-old she chose is actually shorter than she wishes he was. In another, someone reacts less than ideally to the revelation that her fiancé has slept with men.

But also, but also, there’s a sweet moment where one person says to another: “We’re both here because we took a leap of faith”. Really, she’s talking about all marriage, any marriage, whether or not you met on an unhinged reality dating show.

It remains to be seen whether her relationship will last, but I have to say, I’m more hopeful than I should reasonably be.

The wedding episode of Love Is Blind is available on the 27th February. It could be a complete disaster. Or, just maybe, just possibly, it could be a celebration of real love.

Kate Leaver is a journalist, speaker and author. Her first book is The Friendship Cure. She tweets @kateileaver, mostly about TV, dogs and Harry Styles.