Have you ever watched MTV’s Catfish? Basically, the synopsis of every episode is some poor fool ends up finding out the person they have had an internet relationship with for a long time is not who they say they are. In an episode my wife and I recently watched, some dude fell in love with a beautiful woman online without ever having met her. The Catfish Crew ended up finding this purported vixen, hoping to unite the two star-crossed lovers. Turns out, she was, in fact, ratchet. (Am I using that right, kids?)
I have some questions for you, dear reader:
If you fell in love with somebody, but they ended up looking very different from what you’d thought, would you stay in love? If everything else about the person was the same, i.e., personality, voice, occupation, life story, would looks matter? Even if you could get past this, it’d be a pretty big breach of trust for somebody you fell in love with to lie like that, right?
Let’s set the obvious trust issues aside for a moment.
Humor me, and consider the following unrealistic, hypothetical. Think of the person you love most. Husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, whatever… If that person went through a dramatic surgery, “Face Off” style, and completely altered their appearance, while retaining every thing else that makes them the person you love, would your feelings for the person change or remain the same?
By the way, spare me the “That’s superficial!” hyperbole. I’m not talking about the same person maybe gaining a little weight or going bald after previously having a full head of hair… I mean, a dramatic change in their appearance! What if they didn’t remotely resemble their former appearance? What if they stayed within the same range of “attractiveness” but looked completely and utterly different?
My theory is that in most cases, a dramatic change in looks would be a game changer for a relationship even if the person was similarly attractive but looked completely different (Nicolas Cage to John Travolta). I think physical appearance and facial features are closely tied with identity. We bond to that image. When we fall in love or attach to a person, we obviously fall in love with all the wonderful things that make up a person’s personality. It just seems all of that love for a person’s personality and characteristics are encompassed within the “snap shot” image we have of that person in our own heads.