Anyone watching First Dates Ireland can testify to the awkwardness of the search for love. The inexplicably popular programme follows two young hopefuls, searching for love in a restaurant full of blind dates. The programme might seem like a simple case of cringe viewing, but it also taps into a deeper obsession with romance in people everywhere. From the music we listen to, to the films we watch, love is an underlying current in almost every piece of art. In 2015, 80% of Hollywood films had some form of romantic plot. Paul McCartney’s 1984 lyrics, “You’d think that people would have had enough of silly love songs/ I look around me and I see it isn’t so” ring as true today as they did thirty-three years ago.
Love, as the popularity of blind dates suggest, is not as preoccupied by physical appearances as the rest of modern society. From disabilities to illnesses and other social factors, there are a myriad of couples who have overcome obstacles to be together. One of the most popular films of 2016 is the Oscar nominated ‘Loving’. The film is based on the famous and aptly named ‘Loving v. Virginia’ Supreme Court case of the 1960s, which overturned anti-miscegenation laws and ruled to allow interracial couples to wed. This landmark case went on to be used to overturn similar laws all across America, and prove that ‘love is love’.
Another more recent case of love trumping the barriers of physical appearance is the announcement of one of the victims of the Boston massacre being affianced to the fireman who saved her. Roseann Sdoia’s leg was amputated after the tragic terrorist attack, and she first became aware of her finace’s existence when her mother pointed him out in the hospital where she stayed. In an interview with the New York Post, Sdoia claimed that her mother said, “Oh, did you see that firefighter? He’s so cute.’ And I was like, ‘Mom, I just got blown up.” However, despite these difficulties, the couple now plan to wed in the winter of 2017.
The commonly held phrase ‘love is blind’ is often said alongside the more cynical adage that ‘marriage is an eye opener’. Perhaps this suggests that while there is a naivete to the idolisation of a partner. It might be more honest to accept the imperfections part of the person that you happen to be in love with. Nobody is perfect, after all. While many of us will be celebrating this Valentine’s Day with a loved one, it can also be a time to appreciate couples that have overcome difficulty to be together. As the 2015 gay marriage referendum proved in Ireland, love is love, no matter who you are.