Guys. You might know by now that I hate Instalove. Like, with a passion. I hate how Girl gazes into Boy’s eyes, which are a lovely hazel, how his hair flutters in the breeze, and how she knows, beyond a shred of doubt, that she is in love, and that just by virtue of looking at him, her soul floats in midair… and so on and so forth. It’s just not realistic, and it’s downright cheesy, and it’s not even fun to read about.
Seriously. Reading such things makes me want to do this:
Except I don’t. Because I paid money for that book. And even if I didn’t, as a bookworm, it goes against my personal value and belief system to destroy books. So I swallow the urge to shred the pages. And I live with the existence of that book on my bookshelf.
Then I thought, hey, since I bash Instalove in my reviews/thoughts/real life conversations all the time, why don’t I make a blog post about it? GREAT IDEA!!
Except, A) I would rant forever and go WAY my self-imposed word limit producing something that no one would read to its completion, and B) It will just be… too easy. And I’m that kinda person who wouldn’t feel satisfied unless I do something that is hard. I know, I’m weird.
So, today I will defend Instalove a bit: I want to convince you that there is an ounce of truth in Instalove, but that it needs to be portrayed differently in YA fiction.
By the way, you may have known/guessed that Instalove = Instant Love, where two people fall in love at first sight (think Romeo and Juliet).
Some food for thought: Why is there so much Instalove in the books that we read? I mean, I’m assuming that authors and publishers who write/publish Instalove are intelligent human beings, and that they write/publish books that they expect to be popular. Therefore, Instalove must exist because it sells.
Why then, does Instalove sell? Instalove is a fantasy. We like to imagine that we fall in love with the beautiful Prince/Princess Charming, and he/she finds us beautiful and falls in love with us as well. Isn’t that so romantic? Isn’t that so much more romantic, than, say, an average-looking person meeting another average-looking person, both people learning to accept each other’s flaws and work through kinks in their relationship, and either become a successful couple or break up? Maybe we like this fantasy of falling in love at first sight, just like how we like the fantasy of happy endings, or the fantasy of a world with dragons and magic powers.
The more I think about it, the more I wonder: Could it be true? Is it possible to fall in love at first sight?
Yes and no. I don’t believe that we fall in love with a person’s appearance. I also don’t believe that love can be instant. We can be attracted to someone who is beautiful or handsome, and maybe we feel awkward and tongue-twisted in their presence. (Unless you are one of those savvy creatures who are super smooth, in which case I am SO jelly.) But attraction isn’t love.
Love takes time. It means that we know the person’s strengths and their weaknesses, and that we love them for both. It means that we’ve had fights, we know each other’s trigger points, and we know how to deal with future disagreements. How can this be achieved with just one glance? Appearance can attract us to a person, and this may develop into love in the long term, but it can hardly be called love at first sight.
I believe that we don’t fall in love with a person’s appearance, we fall in love with their personality, with how they speak, with how they think.
However, I do believe that there is such a thing as instant connection. You know when we first talk to a stranger, on the subway, or in the elevator, or a friend of a friend, or a new classmate, and it just clicks? Maybe it’s because we have similar hobbies or ideas, maybe we see the world in a similar way. Or maybe we are both just interested in learning about each others’ worlds. For some reason, it is so easy to talk to them. Often this feeling is platonic, and we make a new friend. Sometimes, it may grow into something more.
And you know what? It has nothing to do with appearance.
So I don’t believe in instant love, but I do believe that we connect with some people better than others.
We need to start thinking differently about Instalove. Young Adult fiction needs to focus less on love at first “sight”, and more on the idea of developing a connection through conversation. Love takes time, and it’s really what is on the inside that counts.
How do you feel about Instalove?