Photo Credit: The Kennedy Center
A look into the concept of love at first sight, using the tragic tale of Romeo and Juliet
Tannaaz Zaraineh, Features Editor
Romantic love is such a weird concept; it’s all hormones and chemicals and yet we’ve collectively romanticized it. It’s an all-consuming entity — we practically see it everywhere! I was recently listening to Charli XCX’s new remix of “Welcome to My Island,” where she openly admits to being difficult in relationships, but her new lover caught her sight which felt like “a total eclipse.” Does this song, like other forms of media, count for anything? Romeo and Juliet, an all-time classic, is questionable when it comes to love at first sight. With this example, we ask ourselves, is love at first sight the real deal?
I equate love at first sight to romanticization. You’ll never get the best results when you romanticize someone. I’ve had fleeting crushes with strangers, but never more than that. And dating apps of today basically ask us to idealize who we match with before meeting (until we’re disappointed).
In Romeo and Juliet, the couple’s love at first sight scenario may swoon readers, but in the modern world, it really isn’t all that.
Obviously, modern dating has drastically evolved from Shakespeare’s time, but Romeo’s behaviour indicates clear toxicity. Setting the infamous age difference between them aside, I think Romeo had an unhealthy relationship with love itself. He’s more than infatuated with Juliet, he’s obsessed, and it’s only for his own benefit.
If you revisit the story, we’re first introduced to a mopey Romeo trying to get over Rosaline, a woman who wouldn’t reciprocate his affections. In a short span of time, he sees Juliet and instantly forgets about Rosaline. There’s a mutual attraction between them, but there’s no foundation for their relationship. Romeo is jumping from one lost hope to his next potential victim. He doesn’t leave room to mourn whatever was going on with Rosaline. He doesn’t try to get to know Juliet, the girl he supposedly wants to marry, failing to grasp that chemistry wouldn’t keep the relationship intact.
Romeo’s “love at first sight” was more along the lines of desperation, hasty to lock down Juliet and fulfill the whole enemies-to-lovers scenario. Not realizing you’re not ready never ends well for anyone, claiming you love someone so early is usually detrimental, and people need to figure themselves out first before latching onto someone. Sooner than later, you’ll realize that you aren’t able to handle it. If not early on, then maybe when something major shakes up your relationship, if you realize it at all. Sometimes, those who have crossed the line of infatuation and are obsessed with being in a relationship or with their partners don’t even know it. After the relationship ends, they’re left wondering what went wrong, even if the signs were clearer than ever.
Even though the phrase has its problems, may love at first sight never die because it’s a lovely concept. That being said, I’m really hoping more people become self-reflective and understand the nuances of what it means to fall for someone.