Do you believe in love at first sight? Personally, I don't — but for a self-proclaimed soulless pragmatic like me, it's hard to remain cynical in the face of Jordan Oram's social experiment "Kiss Me Now, Meet Me Later." Asking strangers to kiss after a brief introduction is a conceit that has been done before and no doubt will be done again, but what separates "Kiss Me Now" from the rest of the pack is the impeccable editing. These experiments often rely on the element of unfamiliarity juxtaposed with the intimacy of sharing a kiss; by necessity, the majority of such videos focus on the actual act of kissing.
Oram's video, however, focuses on far more than just strangers making out. Before they kissed, the eight participants in the video were blindfolded and given the chance to introduce themselves to their future kissing partner — on camera, of course. Here, above all, is where the magic happens.
Unsurprisingly, it starts out pretty awkwardly. There's the requisite exchanges of names, a seriously cringeworthy handshake, and an excruciatingly awkward silence as one couple runs out of things to talk about, other than the fact that they're going to be locking lips in less than five minutes.
As the participants warm up to each other, however, sparks begin to fly... Well, for some couples, that is. Everyone gets the hang of it it eventually, although the blindfold makes for a few false starts, but it quickly become obvious who has a connection and who's just going through the motions.
There's a little more awkwardness when everyone takes off the blindfolds, signaling a return to reality, but for the most part, everyone seemed to enjoy the experience. "I felt like a little kid," one man reflects.
At the end of the video, Oram says he was prompted to create "Kiss Me Now" because he felt similar videos didn't discuss the reason why people kiss. "What if you meet the person you fell in love with from the first kiss?" Oram asks. "What if you met someone, you kissed, and then you built chemistry from that?"
It's a question that people have been trying to answer for thousands of years: Can you fall in love the first time you meet someone? A wealth of anecdotes over the centuries either support or contradict the idea, but mere anecdotal evidence doesn't sit well with the scientific community. Recent advances in technology, however, have allowed researchers to get to the heart of the matter — or, rather, the head.
According to the Economist, brain imaging has shown that falling in love is associated with reward centers in the brain, which release neurotransmitters to trigger happiness and bonding associated with the loved one. These same centers are used in pathways associated with addiction; although it doesn't affect your brain to the same extent, some say it is possible to "crave" someone's presence. Furthermore, research indicates that we can tell whether we're sexually attracted to someone almost instantly.
That being said, only around one in 10 relationships claim they fell in love at first sight, which means that the majority of couples were less Noah and Allie and more "the dude you met in history class in college." Research indicates that passionate love transforms into less effusive, although no less important, attachment over time, which some claim is an indication that "love at first sight" is merely a gateway to deeper relationships. Studies have also shown that people who believe in love at first sight are more likely to experience it — basically, if you're looking for it, it will come.
So what's the bottom line? Simply put, love at first sight may not necessarily mean a long-term relationship, but that doesn't detract from the instant connection between some couples. Sure, it may or may not last, but why not enjoy it while you can?
Images: Jordan Oram/Vimeo (3), Giphy (2)