Netflix hit show ‘Love is Blind’ returned to our screens earlier this month. The show follows 14 men and 14 women hoping to find love ‘sight unseen’. For 10 days in a kind of speed-dating format, the pairs all date each other in different ‘pods’ where they can talk to each other but can’t see each other (despite inexplicably getting dressed up). After 10 days the men are able to propose to their selected choice and after their engagement; they meet face to face for the first time.
While I smugly ignored WhatsApp Love Island updates all summer, with the patronising undertones that I’m too busy (read: intelligent) to watch… Love is Blind is an entirely different kettle of moderate to attractive fish.
Yes, the show is hetero-normative and nuclear family orientated to the extreme.
As one guinea pig otherwise referred to as ‘Consultant Natalie 29’ paired up with lovable man-child Shayne claims “I wouldn’t care if he was an ogre” fortunately for them no contestant has a mere tippy-toe on the ogre scale.
I’ve been loyal to Love is Blind since the halcyon days of lockdown 1, it (and Rioja) filled my days with something akin to feeling alive. It seemed relatively novel in the beginning, almost scientific, as the attractive married (to each other of course) hosts kept reiterating ‘’it’s a social experiment’’.
The success of the show and others of its ilk would suggest that we don’t like to see people we consider average or unattractive falling in love. Entertainment execs deftly navigate a fine line between aspirational viewing and the ‘aww’ inducing sympathy views. Average looking people seemingly aren’t what we want on screen despite Netflix trying to sell Love is Blind as average Joe’s and Joanne’s…whilst I can’t speak for other nations, in Ireland they would all warrant a second glance.
Fortunately, there is scientific logic behind why we elevate attractive people to fame, we are biologically programmed to select healthy mates. A study from the Royal Society biological research claims to be the most extensive study to date examining the links between physical appearance and immune function. According to the research – people that are more attractive have better immune systems. The sample included 159 participants, who were photographed following mandatory makeup removal. Facial attractiveness ratings were then given from 492 participants, on an assortment of characteristics which included attractiveness (i.e. ‘This person is physically attractive’), status, wealth, desirability, health, longevity, genetic quality, and immune function.
The results suggested that attractiveness may be strongly related to anti-bacterial immunity…who said romance is dead. There’s nothing new about good-looking people on TV, but in 2022 the era of ‘wokeness’ perhaps I expected more variety from a big hitter like Netflix.
One theory is that Love is Blind, a pandemic era show, unwittingly or not has tapped into the fact that since the pandemic we have all reverted to our primitive roots and what we simply want is someone who can withstand viruses well.. now where is my multivitamin…?