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On love at first sight: A not-so-forgotten cliché

Amanda's Approach,

Have you ever causally met someone, or maybe even just made contact with them, and then started planning out a whole future life with them? Between the breaths of hi and my name is, you picture an entire Odyssey-lengthed love story starring you as the female lead.

It happens to me sometimes. I think it comes with the territory of being a girl who's watched When Harry Met Sally one too many times.

So, it might go like this. Seconds after this person shows up in my line of vision, I'm mentally picking out furniture for our townhouse together, which is slightly off the city limits of some southern town. I can instantly see it all, from the jittery first date to the flicker of candles at our one year anniversary dinner. I imagine our lives together, me and this stranger. I imagine driving to the mall together in his Jeep and framed photos on the mantle and and wearing matching Christmas sweaters that are only cool in my twisted romanticized head. Well, this whole thing is only cool in my head though because, just a reminder, it's all in my head.

I'm about to consider venues for the wedding reception when it hits me: I just met this person and I need to answer them about what kind of milk I want in my latte, because yes, he works at Starbucks - and the line is long. The woman behind me is tapping her too-tall high heels and my soon-to-be husband is looking at me with a sneer of annoyance. He just wants to know what letter to write down on my paper cup; he has no idea what's going on inside the big bag of weird that is my brain. What's his name again?

I know what you're thinking. There are certain clichés that belong in the back corner of the English language, that deserve to be tucked away in a lost library drawer and forgotten about. There are some flowery ideas too worn out by time, too overused in storybooks, too predictable after repeating plotlines from girly novels. And on the top of that list is the notion of love at first sight.

This kind of happily-ever-after ideology, most of us young people tend to believe, probably doesn't belong in our modern world, much less to printed in a newspaper. Love at first sight isn't real, we easily say, end of story. Even though talking about this kind of thing elicits immediate eye rolls and apathetic chuckles from my friends, there's something about it I can't let go of.

So, I'd like to dig this "love at first sight" notion up out of the forgotten pile, if you don't mind. Because I think it's time to call out everyone's bluff - well, at least a handful of us. As much as we play the nonchalant card, we tearfully watch these moments unfold on screens and wish they would crawl out of their fictionalized medium and into our lives.

Love at first sight is everywhere. It's at the heart of the songs we dance to on the floor of Brick Street and at the core of the quotes that clutter our Pinterest boards and in between the thoughts that keep our our minds ticking at night.

You may think that love at first sight is painfully old fashioned and only belongs in the confines of made-up stories, but wouldn't it be nice if it actually happened? If somewhere in the span of seconds of meeting someone, you just knew. If you could look back and pinpoint a moment that started it all.

Sometimes I get caught up in fake "love at first sight" moments. I fall in love twelve times on the way to the grocery store, while I'm tying my shoe in front of the student center or when I'm glancing across a particularly spacious room. Maybe not with an actual person, but I fall in love with the stories that bounce into my head.

I'm not saying that love at first sight is a sane way of forming relationships or that every girl is constantly waiting to be struck by a bright-red arrow. But I am saying we should probably own up to the fact that we want it to be true, that we look for it sometimes. It's the reason we've shed far too many tears while watching Pride and Prejudice and the reason our insides sort of leap when we meet a new face. We are embedded with the slight hope that something, well, magical will come of it.

Don't we all secretly crave someone to run across the city at midnight with a melodramatic song playing in the background or to wait for us atop the Empire State Building? Aren't we conditioned to want that on some level?

So don't be so quick to poke fun at that part of yourself - that inherent desire to believe in little, fleeting moments of sudden, not-quite-love. And I promise you this, if you do take ownership of that childlike thought, you can count on at least one person to nod her head and say, "me too."