The Myth of Love at First Sight & Personality Types

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Biological anthropologist Helen Fisher believes in love at first sight. She has spent her career on this subject and she ought to love the topic. She has written a book about it (surprise, surprise) titled, Why Him? Why Her? Don’t let the politically correct title fool you. Love at first sight is still a heterocentric concept. Remember all the fairy tales? Remember the golden oldie films that feature macho leading men and doe-eyed women? The concept of love at first sight still dances to the same old-fashioned tune. This time with a contemporary academic reigniting the concept with yet another updated list of personality types.

Personally, I lean more toward chemical attraction. But some, like Fisher, explain attraction within a crowded room from a near romantic foundation. Hey, it’s never about ’sex’. But it usually is about sex and this is something I’ve always criticized: authors always try to reverse our primal urges. They prefer to justify them with romance, as though romance were a logical concept. The only way romance is logical is in the way it is used as an economic tool to rake in profits. Think Twilight. It’s just another romance tale using the oldest romance fiction ploy or Barbara Cartland’s technique – sexual tension – to maintain tension and, hopefully, increase reader anticipation (and book sales).

Fisher’s view of dates is dissapointing. She tries to be superficial, but if I substituted some of her words with actual skin tones, it would border on being racist:

”Similarly, that you can be set up on a date and just know immediately that it isn’t going to work. You know: he’s too tall, too short, too fat, too thin, too old, too young, too pink, too green.”

Go on, subsitute “too pink” and “too green”, with two of the most common human colors. According to the article, Fisher has studied human behaviour using questionnaires. Questionnaires tend to be biased. No one wants to be perceived as a romantic failure. But her evaluation of personalities is frightfully uninformed. Personally, I’d like for Nicholas Sarkozy to get back to her and really tell her what type of personality he is.

Fisher divides the human population, some six or more billion of us…or maybe she just focuses on western society, there is no clarification, into 6 personality types: explorers, builders, directors and negotiators. Notice how each label is positive. Could you slot a serial killer into one category? Why not? Serial killers are part of Fisher’s society. According to her types, explorers tend to be promiscuous and may border on being narcissists and are attracted to similar types. It doesn’t make sense does it? How can a narcissistic personality type be attracted to another narcissist? Narcissists -almost, always – prefer to have a meeker partner, someone they torment. And that’s not me saying that, that’s DSM IV saying that, but I’m betting that many women who have endured narcissists will agree with me. Which is why Fisher’s personality types are totally bogus.

Why does everything have to be about love and is it really about love? I’m one to firmly believe in the old fashioned method, the kind of method that goes back to a time before these sorts of relationship guides that dilute the primal sexual urge  – which tends to function without the Helen Fisher arguments. I doubt that men are the ideal market for her book. Books on ’soul mates’, ‘love at first sight’ and other formulated contemporary relationship myths tend to be aimed at women…who…(and I’ll probably be crucified for saying it) will continually experience difficulty in relationships due to these confusing books. These sorts of books should come with a warning.

Finally: Is it really ‘love’ when you feel like jumping someone’s bones in less than a minute after seeing them?

Image: via Sexy Art Gallery

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