Proximity Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

Andrew Sullivan —  Nov 3 2012 @ 7:37pm

Heidi Julavits contemplates love and lust on the television shows The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Bachelor Pad:

I honestly believe that people fall in love on these shows. I do. Here is why: Crushes thrive in small spaces. Humans must be programmed to respond in a certain way when faced with a small sampling of other humans in, say, caves. You’re stuck in a cave with three other people—all mankind, presumably, was hidden away in such tiny groups during the winters until the thaw—and so, in order for the species to thrive, you must biologically be compelled to fuck at least one person in your cave, despite the fact that, when surrounded by a plenitude of Neanderthals at the Neanderthal summer barbecue, none of them struck your fancy. Without the element of choice, and in conjunction with captivity, you find love, or at least you find lust.

She describes how she isn't immune to the phenomenon:

This is also why I get nervous going to art colonies, especially now that I am happily married to a man I met at an art colony. I don’t want to fall for anyone else—I am pointedly not looking to fall for anyone—but these situations conspire against our best intentions. Art colonies, often located in remote woods or on beautiful estates, are communities that sever all ties to the real world within hours of arrival; they are like singles mixers for the married or otherwise spoken for. (I was married when I met my now-husband, who was otherwise spoken for.) When I arrive at a colony these days, I take a measure of the room, I identify the potential problems, I reinforce my weak spots, and then I relax.