In the decades since “The Dating Game” debuted, dating show contestants have become increasingly fanatical subscribers to such logic. Daters on “Sexy Beasts” appear to regard visual input as at best a red herring, at worst an impediment to finding true love. In introductory interviews, they express guilt that their attraction to other people can be influenced in any way by physical appearance.
“I would hope I could fall for someone without knowing what they look like, but honestly, just knowing me, I don’t know if I can,” laments one “Sexy Beasts” participant on the show.
The nobility of this aspiration is unchallenged. Sacrificing knowledge of a partner’s appearance, the reasoning goes, is an act indicative of an openhearted and honorable spirit.
But is love blind, as heavily suggested by the title of Netflix’s 2020 dating show juggernaut “Love Is Blind,” in which 30 men and women spent 10 days conversing in various combinations while individually sequestered in adjoining womb-like pods that allowed them to hear but not see their interlocutors? (Couples were not permitted to see one another until a proposal of marriage had been offered and accepted, after which the engaged pairs were whisked off on a group vacation to Mexico, then forced to live for a month in the same Atlanta apartment complex as their fellow contestants — who were also their former potential romantic partners, or former competition for romantic partners — and then made to plan their weddings and decide on camera whether to enter a legal union with the person to whom they had become engaged weeks earlier. One contestant gave her dog wine.)
Or, if love is not blind, is blind love, at least, truly more noble?
Fern Lulham, a radio broadcaster whose TEDx talk recounts her experience online dating as a blind woman, finds the idea nonsensical.
“It sort of assumes that you would be so bowled over by the way somebody looked that nothing else would matter,” said Ms. Lulham. “This idea that you’re going to see someone who’s drop-dead gorgeous, who completely blindsides you, and you don’t care about anything else.”