Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Is "Falling in Love" only for Beautiful People?

We were having lunch at the office on Feb 14th when someone brought up this topic on Valentine's day. After some heated discussions about the commercialization of love, we started doing a head count of  who had a " love marriage"? Now this is a strange question to any one who is not an Indian. But to most of us whose marriages are "arranged" the concept of falling in love and getting married is a novelty! Well, coming back to this census on love / arranged marriages..  one colleague said " I had an arranged marriage. Love marraiges are only for good looking people". No one seemed surprised except me who has had a "love marriage" and who does not exactly qualify as a beauty queen.

But yes that seems to be the impression that many have... ! I wonder how all this came about? I think we can trace it back to literature ( both ancient classics and popular fiction) which are full of "handsome" men and "beautiful" women. Films with beautiful heros and heroines also play an important role in shaping this kind of impression. Added to the looks angle is also youth- people seem to think that falling in love is only for young people...

I think all this playing up of looks and youth is done simplly to "dress up" this emotion called Love.!

Yes looks do play a role in the initial attraction. But there is no absolute format for "good" looks. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. A person I find attractive might not seem so to another person. Besides, looks as such is not just the physical attributes - it is an entire package of one's personality which includes among other things, the charm, wit, kindness and many other qualities. How many of us after getting to know a "good looking person" have actually found them quite obnoxious in terms of their values ?

Ofcourse,  there is the initial chemistry that brings two people together but for them to stay together there has to be something more than looks. For example - conversation? I remember the hours I used to spend talking on the phone with my husband during our  days of courtship. I could not even see him when I spoke on the phone! Infact, the first time I met him I did not even notice him and neither did he notice me. It was when we met the second time that we realized that we had met before. So did we fall in love once we realize that ? No! I did not even like him much during those days and used to be quite rude to him..! But over a period of time I came to know him better as a person and that was when I found him " interesting"

 I think what passes for attraction or "love at first sight" is the ability of a person to interest us in some way. This may be due to many reason- beauty as is perceived by the beholder, conversation, wit , humour , anything..! Sometimes this attraction dies a natural death when we do not find anything beyond that initial "interesting bit", during other times we find what interested us was only the tip of the ice berg- more inside and the relationship grows as we discover each other and get to know each other better.

But beauty and youth as I had mentioned earlier are required to sell this emotion to the world! These days the media has begun to standardize and format a certain brand of looks ( tall, skinny women with fair skin and light eyes for e.g) and it is these looks that we employ to package love and sell the product in question - be it a film or a romance novel.

Poets have described love- most often it is about the emotion and the description of the beloved from the eyes of the lover-it is an interpretation..Beauty as defined by the person in question. When we try to turn this into a visual it becomes problematic and we begin to use this standard formats of beauty...!

The same probably holds true for youth. As people grow older they do not stop feeling emotions and attractions. It may just be different attributes that attract at different ages.

With media playing such an important role in our lives today, it is not surprising that people should think that  good looks are the entry tickets into the kingdom of love! But linking beauty to love trivializes this wonderful emotion.

Love is for anyone who can find it

14 comments:

Saumya said...

Love is for anyone who can find it.

How beautiful! I agree with all of your words. Love has very little to do with physical attraction. It's important to think the person you're with is attractive but that doesn't mean he or she will be the next actor/beauty queen. Your love story sounds very sweet :)

Ibhade {NG} said...

The media had so stereo-typed how a woman should look like if she really wants her prince charming...so people on the plus size or are not pretty have no chance of falling in love. After all, the eyes must first see before the tongue would taste...it's after the taste, the mouth can either spew out the food or swallow it depending if it's sweet, sour or bitter.

I don't believe in love at first sight...i leave that for the romance novels & films... a marriage where there is much respect would gradually grow to love.

In the days of yore in Nigeria, marriages were arranged, after putting so many things into consideration, & it worked out well for them.

p:s....i watch a lot of indian films, i see all the beautiful heroine & i wonder if they would agree to arranged marriage...was Atabamcha son's [hope i got the spelling right?) marriage to the beautiful sexy actress [former miss indian sorry can't remember her name now..the heroine in the popular film DEVAS? & KRISSH?] an arrangement or love? ....because from the look in their eyes, it shows love.

meerasrajan said...

@ Ibade, very ture- the eys must first see but we seem to all assume that what the eyes see must taste good :-0!!! Interesting that you should see Indian Films- About Amitabh Bacchan's son and the beauty queen he married - who can say whether it is love or arranged? The magazines seem to be suggest that it is a marriage of convinience - for her to be linked to the "film world aristrocracy" and for him to be married to beauty queen. About the love in their eyes- I dont know - when you are in the acting business it is difficult to tell what is real from what may just good acting!

I think marriages whether arranged or through falling in love - require couples to work on the relationship- one cannot just go through life admiring the way the partner looks?

Sowmya thanks for the compliments..I wish someone would make a film about ordinary looking people in love - there used to be many in the 1970s and 80s Amol Palekar used to be your typical "common man" and ofcourse "Jaya Bhaduri" was your typical girl next door ( Ibade , Jaya is the mother in law of the beauty queen- just imagine!)

anindita said...

How true. Love is for the one who finds it....! Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, or else how do we find our grannys with wrinkled-face, shivering-hands, the most beautiful person in the world, how can a mother be the most pretty faces in the whole world..love is not defined by the looks..but ofcourse, attraction is..

The media plays a great role in shaping the understanding of the youngsters about love. I just hope the ads of Fair and Lovely likes could be different. And Barbies would not be tthe beautiful helpless women waiting for a Prince to rescue them after being awed by her looks and hairs..

Heavenly Muse said...

good looks really doesn't have to do anything with love...may be its not love it would be infatuation....
love is a sweat delicate emotion its just require charm of personality.....a personality that be a soothing factor for its loved one.

Heavenly Muse said...

good looks really doesn't have to do anything with love...may be its not love it would be infatuation....
love is a sweat delicate emotion its just require charm of personality.....a personality that be a soothing factor for its loved one.

Deepa said...

I'm going to go on a slightly different thread here about the attitude towards love that develops inside the beauty's head.

For all those people who are tagged as beautiful, they come to EXPECT that people will fall in love with them - taken for granted. Appreciation and love of the opposite sex are considered a natural due for their superlative looks. Maybe it is the rant of a disgruntled not-so-attractive female, but in my growing up years, my peers were mostly more attractive than me. And any male attention was immediately appropriated as their own! Casual acceptance of 'he fell in love with me'. And that mindset continues to this day when some of them have changed physical appearances caused by child birth and advancing age. And all this because they have been conditioned to think that as 'beautiful people' they have first dips in the love department.

Rachna said...

I agree with what Deepa wrote and also with your views. We have a certain stereotyped view of beauty in India -- tall, fair, slim. Personality, humor, smile etc. don't seem to fit the bill. In older days, when the guy and his parents came to "see" the girl, I guess these were the most important criteria. The family and the girl and guy hardly got to know each other as people, so the other really important traits hardly mattered. The girls were brought up to manage the home, in-laws and husband's idiosyncracies at all costs, so the marriages worked fine. In our generation, we were brought up with no such shackles, openly interacted with males and realized how different facets of personality were so attractive,and looks were just a small part of the attraction. This whole taboo on male-female interaction in Indian society creates such stereotypes. And, rightly pointed by Deepa, those people fitting in traditional beauty stereotypes reinforced from childhood felt that they were superior and deserved attention like their birthright. But love and beauty are two different things altogether. And, beauty is so subjective -- it is impossible to categorize.

Destination Infinity said...

Beautiful people fall easily... That's their weakness which is being exploited by the media and everyone else.

Destination Infinity

Ibhade {NG} said...

Really?....her mother-in-law?.. yeah! i can just imagine...the magazines MIGHT be right..but like the case of Dharmadra & Hemalin, their marriage was of love because He was already married but still married her but when he wanted to contest for a political position, he went back to his first wife.., is polygamy allowed in your country as in Nigeria?.
Indeed, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder..you see, am a 5'4 PHAT & very plain woman & got married a 6'4, fair, attractive guy which made people to wonder what he saw in me when he had beautiful ladies at his beck & call...one spitefully asked me: WHAT DID HE SEE IN YOU? People then to forget that beauty fades away gradually but not xter & EVERY WOMAN is beautiful if she has access to good clothes, make-up & pampering.

cloud nine said...

Happy to see one more blogger coming out in support of love with brains. There are many out there who believe love is for the Bold and the Beautiful. Nope, its certainly not. Love nurtures and grows only if it is between two like minds, not between a hunk and a beauty queen:)Nice reading your blog Meera:) Btw, this is my first comment in your blog:)

IRFANUDDIN said...

agree with you that "Love has very little to do with physical attraction or beauty for that matter".... but this is for those who are in true love.... and TRUE LOVE is endangering species, very rare to find now a days.. so ultimately its physical attraction that count more these days.... instead of Feelings..Emotions.. and Romance...

nice read... very well written post....

BTW glad to see u at my Blog, i m honored.... hope to see u more often there.... thanx a lot !!!

Aman Raj said...

But true love is not for everyone...so no one can ever found his true love if he/she get physically attracted with some one.....after all love is come from one's deepest part of heart...it is a name of sacrifice...and I think true love is still alive in our country... Is it????

Aman Raj said...

'True love' is not for every one...it is really tough to get.. Off course it is because it come from the deepest part of heart...and after one can pays a lot of sacrifices...one can never find it if he/she gets physically attracted with some one...these days it loosing its list.. But I must say that it still alive in our country...like yours....lucky one...

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