Hana Shafi What Are These "Sparks" You Speak Of?*

Sparks. Fireworks. Butterflies. All feelings that mildly entertaining romance novels and movies have told us we’re supposed to feel when we meet that special someone. Even when those specific cliche terms aren’t used, there always seems to be talk of some instant connection, some knowing feeling right from the start that this is the person you will love.

I call bullshit. 

Although we may crave the magical, instant feeling of love that stories present to us, it’s hugely unrealistic. Instant attraction, I understand. But sparks, butterflies, some kind of rushing sense of euphoria that could indicate love at first sight? That is not part of what we call the real fucking world. That’s a fairytale, and it sounds really lovely, but real life is not a fairytale. Real life love stories can be charming and lovely too, as long as you don’t naively compare it to some cheesy love story. 

I can’t help but feel worried for the people who do expect those instantaneous “sparks” because it’s highly likely that their real life encounters will continue to disappoint them time and time again. Sure, there can be a great sense of compatibility right away, but I don’t think you can meet a person at a bar, have a great conversation and then go home with the feeling: “yup, that person is the one.”

 Being attracted to a person, liking them a lot, and then beginning to fall in love with them can certainly invoke those feelings, but it’s a process, a gradual build-up where the more you spend time with that person, the more you come to love them. Isn’t that the beauty of love? That all the time you spend with that person seems to be more amazing than the last? Seeing a person and knowing you want to fuck them right away is one thing, seeing a person and feeling this strong, yearning, loving connection to them right away is another. 

Lots of people are looking for love, looking for the person that will give them that giddy, bubbly, stomach-dropping-into-your-butt-out-of-excitement feeling, and that search is perfectly normal. But expecting those feelings right off the bat will, more often that not, lead to disappointment. Love at first sight would certainly be more convenient- you’d get to skip the awkward beginnings bits of dating someone- but love at first sight, sparks and the like, are simply story-telling concepts that capture the desires of some of our deepest fantasies; they are by no means a way to actually structure and go about your dating life.

Besides, for me, butterflies in my stomach is usually my feeling of anxiety and wooziness, so I’ll stick with feeling comfortable, happy, and free of nausea, thank you very much. 


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