Today might just be another Friday to you, but it’s a special day for a lot of people with Netflix subscriptions.
It’s the day that the streaming platform airs the finale to Love Is Blind, the reality TV show that millennials (or at least, the ones I know) refuse to stop talking about.
For those not in the loop (oh, how lucky you are), Love Is Blind sets out to prove just that. It gathers a bunch of single, millennial Americans all hoping to get hitched and lets them get to know each other — with a wall in between them. The participants don’t get to see who they’re talking to in the pod next to theirs unless, of course, they propose to them and receive an affirmative “Yes”.
The arrangement makes sense when the show’s co-host, Nick Lachey, points out in the pilot episode, “Psychologists believe that emotional connection is the key to long-term marital success, not physical attraction.” Standing next to him was his co-host and wife of 8 years, Vanessa, who is just as conveniently attractive as he is.
I don’t disagree with the psychologists. At 23, I’m not going to pretend I know a thing about what makes a successful marriage. Hell, my favourite film revolves around a divorce filled with guts and gore. (It’s no Marriage Story, believe me.) I can foretell all the ways a relationship is doomed, but ask me for the secret to marital bliss and suddenly I am third eye blind.
What I do disagree with is how Love Is Blind believes that appearances shouldn’t matter when judging a potential love interest.
Before you call me shallow, let me clarify: I don’t think that looks, race or height should be the grounds on which you rule someone out. Sure, you can keep those factors in the equation. We’re only human. However, as cliché as it sounds, what makes someone a keeper is on the inside — good old personality. But it’s also on the outside.
I’m talking about style. The clothes you wear. The shoes you put on. The bags you carry. And I know what you’re thinking: “Of course the fashion writer cares about this stuff.” But so did one of the world’s most important novelists, Virginia Woolf, who wrote, “Vain trifles as they seem, clothes have… more important offices than to merely keep us warm. They change our view of the world and the world’s view of us.”
It’s true. Do you realise how much what someone wears reveals about themselves?
Love Is Blind was brimming with case studies. That’s really the only reason I watched, because I am, as Damon Albarn put it, a professional cynic. Love? In the time of dating apps and hookup culture? I’ll take the red pill, Morpheus.
Let’s start with everyone’s favourite cast member: Cameron “I’m a scientist” Hamilton. He speaks like a narrator on a meditation app, always in a measured, gentle tone. And it’s obvious that he picks his clothes just as carefully as he picks his words — and his wife.
On the first day, he wore an impeccable blue suit, complete with a red tie and a tie bar. The fact that he, a barrel-chested man as a tailor later calls him, got one that was neatly-pressed and fit him perfectly told me that he cares about the details. You can tell he’s thoughtful and conscientious, even before he wins everyone’s hearts with how he treats his partner.
That’s not to say that every guy who wore a suit was a gentleman. Take, for example, Carlton, who had two blue suits in the pilot episode. They had the opposite effect of the understated elegance of Cameron’s suit. In his interview, Carlton wore a sky blue blazer and a printed floral shirt. Already, his bold colour choice made him stand out — something he clearly intended. “[The women] can’t see how fly I am,” he laments, “they have to rely on my personality.”
Carlton’s personality shone through in the pods, all right — through his dark blue satin tuxedo. Again, there was the floral print. His shirt had ruffles with black lining. On his wrist, a gold watch. A pair of shiny loafers topped off his already over the top ensemble.
Carlton’s outfit was, in the words of Paul Thomas Anderson, “just too f*cking too”. His flashy clothing also suggested that he’s self-centred; it’s textbook psychology. Later on in the show, the tantrum he threw along with his wedding ring pretty much confirmed my theory. (Poor Diamond — both the ring and his then-fiancée.)
Another cast member who clearly loves attention is Giannina Milady Gibelli. G, as viewers learn, is a total diva — and not in a Marlene Dietrich way. She delivered the only drama I cared about on Love Is Blind, mostly in one pink, figure-hugging dress or another. None of them were more telling of her princess syndrome than the very first one we see her in: a sheer, glittery bodycon dress, just as shiny as her blonde locks.
And before you think, “I don’t care about dressing up like these people; my clothes don’t say anything about me,” please refer to Matthew Barnett. In the pods, he was as dressed down as can be; T-shirts, shorts, and even sweatpants made up his outfits.
Barnett put as little effort into what he wore as he did into his dealings with the women on the show. A typical “f*ckboy,” as one of those he led on called him. (Perhaps even a Gemini?) When he finally proposed, he did it in a creased white button-down and a pair of dark blue trousers, a look as non-committal as he remains throughout the show.
I’m often asked by the people I’m seeing what I think about their style: is it good or bad? How can it be fixed? Those questions baffle me. Style is so personal; they might as well have been asking me to rewrite their music taste.
And no, I don’t think clothes can tell you if someone is bisexual or has a huge student loan debt to pay off. But they’re not strictly superficial, either. Style can be an aperçu of someone’s personality, interests and tastes — all revealed to you before they’ve said a word. A band tee can spark a connection just as much as a witty comment.
So follow your heart, but use your eyes. Go ahead and judge the book by its cover; you might be left with an impression as poetic as Nick Cave’s upon meeting his wife for the first time.