This Is What Keeps Me Up At Night is a series dedicated to trending memes, pop culture moments and film/TV scenes that stir the very foundations of our being and stop us from getting a single peaceful night’s sleep.
Must love dogs. Must be a certain height. Must not have a bigoted worldview that could silence a dinner party with friends. All completely reasonable checkboxes to keep in the back of your mind when looking for love. But must be utterly obsessed to the point of blindly devoted to you? Since when did being a simp top the list of non-negotiables in a potential partner – and why does it make for such compelling, car-crash television?
Love Is Blind season 2 helping me realize that possibly my worst nightmare situation is a man who loves me unconditionally simply not knowing when to put down the ukulele— caitie delaney (@caitiedelaney) February 19, 2022
Of course we're talking about Netflix’s Love Is Blind, which returned for its second season a couple of weeks ago and dropped its second batch of episodes last weekend. The premise is simple but wild. A group of singletons speed-date people of the opposite sex and after a couple of weeks are expected to whittle down their choice to just one and propose to each other – all without ever having laid eyes on their prospective partner. Only if a couple gets engaged are they allowed their first face-to-face meeting – an element that no doubt accelerates the speed and thoughtlessness of the proposal – and then the couples go on holiday and move in together before they have to decide whether they’ll actually wed their partner at the end of it all.
It’s marketed as a social experiment and a foil to the disposable, looks-focused merry-go-round of dating app culture, exploring whether people can actually fall in love based on emotional connection alone. Sounds nice, Netflix but we call lies! It's a format guaranteed to attract individuals who are desperate for love and affirmation, and the result is predictably drama-filled and juicy. This season, something bizarre keeps coming up as a desirable trait among this year’s cohort of singles: people want their partner to be step-into-oncoming-traffic gaga for them.
I mean, I get it. It’s important to be loved and respected and supported by your partner. But when did it become more important than, say, compatibility or aligned life goals? When self-proclaimed "tool" Shayne meets Natalie’s parents for the first time, her mum asks him: "What made [Natalie] stand out?" I mentally spouted off all the things I expected him to say. She’s career-driven so maybe he’ll say she’s ambitious and intelligent. No, surely it will be something about her nurturing personality. Caring? Patient? A multitude of traits flickered like a rolodex through my mind. With signature goofy smile and eye-popping intensity, Shayne sincerely tells the woman who birthed her: "She made a point every single time to give me reassurance and say, 'You're my number one person'. Yeah, she staked her claim right away." WHAT.
I was Medusa’d in my tracks. Open-mouthed, scream-suppressed, I turned to my boyfriend, who had the same horrified expression on his face. How can that be the main point of attraction between two people? That you are land and she has stuck a little relationship flag on top of you? Firstly, having borderline creepy-obsessive relationship dynamics only works if you're celebrities and it’s mutual (see: Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly). Also, having someone worship you on a pedestal never went well for anyone. It’s how the #ick hashtag on TikTok was born!
They’re not the only couple. Let’s talk about poor Sal – who is never not on the brink of tears – because it’s obvious: Mallory just isn’t that into him. This man has played the ukulele for her and serenaded her with original Sal-OST love songs not once but thrice! (Three times too many to serenade someone who doesn’t love you with a miniature stringed instrument in my opinion.) Elsewhere, we have Jarrette, who literally proposed to someone else first, got rejected, then proposed to back-up option Iyanna. Their relationship is only propelled by the fact that Iyanna adores him enough for the both of them. And who can forget Shake, who has been openly telling other contestants that wife-to-be Deepti reminds him of his auntie. The utter disrespect has been called out by his own mother, who went in on him, saying: "She’s a wonderful person. She doesn’t deserve someone who gives her even half a percent less." Say it like it is, Mum Shake!
Now, like anyone, I can appreciate the narcissistic giddiness that can come with having someone choose you and love you intensely but certainly in the case of Shake, Jarrette and Mallory (who, upon clocking Sal for the first time, instantly said he wasn’t her type) it’s clear that they’ve substituted the intense, one-sided affection of their partner into the space where mutual attraction should be. Like, I’m not really feeling you but if you feel me more then maybe that will multiply my feels? No! The jig is up.
And the sheer blindness of the poor people on the other side of it. Okay Netflix! We get it now! Love Is Blindly loving another person and making the viewer balk at them ignoring not only their partner’s shortcomings but things that are widely recognised to be red flags. I mean, the fact of the matter is that a large part of the reason emotionally stunted man-baby Shayne turns down Shaina is because rather than stroke his ego, she accidentally insinuates he isn't the best option for Natalie. Tut tut, Shaina – that is not how you win over a narcissist.
Netflix is dropping the three remaining episodes this Friday and we frankly cannot wait because it's wedding time. In the previews we see resident Ned Flanders Nick perspiring a disturbingly unhealthy amount – literally like he’s being interrogated by the CIA – except it's because he’s clearly going to reject Danielle at the altar. Right? RIGHT? And there are lots of tears. The night before the wedding it's revealed that Natalie and Shayne have had a monumental falling out. Who can predict what the argument could be about? Obviously who loves him more.