What exactly is romantic love? We just don’t know.

Lindsay Kriz

By: Lindsay Kriz

This week, as I dealt with lack of good sleep due to studying for exams, I also came upon something else as well that usually happens to me when I’m stressed: an existential crisis. And this time, it was about romantic love. 

As I was walking down the hallway from class sometime on Monday, I literally had to stop and keep myself calm as I asked myself the question: does romantic love really exist? At this point I’m still not sure.

Let me walk you through my bare-all, maybe not-entirely PC thought process as I worked out this issue. First, I began to notice the people around me, and took a good hard look at my body.

They say that the first thing you ever notice about a person is what they look like, and you can tell within three seconds if you feel you could be compatible with a person. There has to be a “spark.”

For years I have assumed that I have never had a significant other because of my size. It’s one of those facts that I had simply accepted, although to this day it’s hard not to remain bitter from time to time.

I’d had friends who were my size, maybe less, and the minute they began to drop the pounds they suddenly seemed to appear on the radar of the boys around them. I realized that looks didn’t seem to matter, but size did. 

Of course this is not a blanket statement that applies to every couple (nothing here I say is entirely a blanket statement), but in my experience it was definitely true. 

And that’s when I realized: how much of “true love” is simply based on actual body chemistry with another human being? Was it ever real love if our attraction to a person begins to fade the minute their physical appearance begins to change in a manner someone might consider negative?

As nerdy as it sounds, the first couples I began to analyze were fictional ones. Of course, I know these couples are not necessarily realistic, but I surround myself with fictional characters and fictional romances so much it was hard to avoid them. 

And as I analyzed, I realized that the first thing all of these fictional couples I seemed to love noticed each others’ looks first thing. “He was gorgeous,” “She was beautiful,” etc. I started to wonder if any of these fictional people would’ve even noticed each other and eventually fallen in love with each others’ personalities if the other person had no been so gorgeous or so beautiful.

It applies to real life as well. What if a guy never noticed his girlfriend if she was a size 14 instead of a size 4? What if a girl’s “soulmate” was shorter than her? This isn’t to say that everyone out there is shallow, but it’s a question worth asking. 

And what about Hollywood? Does everyone in Hollywood happen to find true love, or do they find someone just as attractive as them and in the same circle as them to be with? Is every model/actor couple written in the stars?

I then started to question those men that I fantasized about in my head. They weren’t anyone specific, just a mashup of the type of guy I’m attracted to in real life. 

I panicked and began to tone their appearance down so as to seem not shallow. In my head fantasies me and the person are always deeply in love, but again, I began to wonder if fantasy Lindsay noticed her fantasy for who they were on the inside as well, or if she just liked them for their looks and reality Lindsay assigned them the perfect personality to match. 

And what if I had ended up with someone in real life who was exactly my type, I wondered? Would they just happen to be my type and I just happened to fall in love with them, or would I have even noticed them if they were not my type at all?

On the bright side, I recently learned the hard way that just because someone is your type doesn’t make them good for you, or even a good person. So while I may not have much luck in the romantic department, at least I have valuable life lessons and people in my life who have taught me what I DON’T want in a relationship. 

So now I’m back to where I was when I froze in that hallway and had a mental meltdown about love and romance, which is still completely clueless. 

As much as I love (fictional) romantic love, I’m not so sure how it works out. With so many people I know having issues and parents who were divorced long ago, my feelings on the subject my always be a little jaded. 

On the other hand, my complete obsession with these fictional romances does make me believe there’s something out there. If these writers are able to capture romance so well, there has to be some truth to it, right? I am hopeful. 

I think when it comes down to, what I’m really waiting for is the “spark,” or the “zsa zsa zsu,” as Carrie Bradshaw puts it. It doesn’t have to be with someone my type. It doesn’t even have to be with someone who’s attractive, according to society’s standards (whatever those are). 

That’s ultimately what I’m holding out for. That, and for someone to finally like me back.

I don’t care if I end up old and romantically alone, because I will do so knowing that I waited for someone to bring me that spark, instead of settling for someone just to say that I have someone. 

If it ends up being just me, my dog, my books and the memories of those great fictional romantic couples and the romantic guys in my head, I think I’ll get along just fine.