Bachelorette Investigation: Do you believe in love at first sight?

The Bachelorette kicked off on Tuesday but it may already be over for 29 of Clare’s men. Do you believe in love at first sight?

Clare Crawley said she was going to break the mold. Before even receiving the call to be this season’s Bachelorette, she tweeted that she would be the first to eliminate most of the contestants on the opening night. ABC called her bluff, but as it turns out, she may not have been bluffing.

Through the first episode, our bachelorette seems to be playing by the rules. However, after meeting Dale Moss for the first time (for the first time…) she claims to have just met her husband. She even said as much to Chris Harrison, who conveniently came scampering out of the bushes to check on her right after Dale’s entrance.

For a minute, let’s just assume that Clare and Dale truly met for the first time on opening night, ignoring rumors, the fact that he seemed to know about her mother’s ailments, and everything on Twitter about the two. Is it possible that Clare fell in love with Dale at first sight?

Love at first sight

The feeling of love at first sight – the real kind, not the getting home from the bar with a fresh pizza kind – is something we’ve all experienced before. Instant attraction to someone for reasons buried deep in our psyche, often spurred by a certain look, style, personality or familiarity.

It’s a feeling that makes us comfortable enough to start mentally planning out what type of terrible gender reveal party we’ll force our friends to sit through. We’re so sure it’s love that we skip right from “Would you like to grab a coffee?” to “What should we name our kids?” or “How can we avoid inviting crazy cousin Tommy to the wedding?”

From the moment Dale bear-hugged Clare, she felt this way about him. She skipped a few more steps than most of us are accustomed to – most importantly, that she signed up to be The Bachelorette – but she was very clear that this man was her future husband. Clare was open about her intentions from the jump so we can’t fault her for acting on them. Is it scientifically possible, though, that she is truly in love with Dale?

Science!

Our bachelorette isn’t the first to experience love at first sight. This phenomenon has become a topic of study with psychologists for some time, and a recent 2017 study from the Netherlands shed some light on how this happens.

In the study, summarized here, Zsok et al. discovered some key points, each of which we’ll try to apply to Clare’s attraction to Dale.

“Love at first sight isn’t just biased memory.”

In some cases, your brain fills in gaps that aren’t there to help support your initial attraction to a person. Basically, to boost your initial infatuation, your brain creates a feel-good vibe about someone. In some other cases, Instagram DMs does most of that work for you (I said OTHER cases, not necessarily this one).

“You’re more likely to feel love at first sight with beautiful people.” 

No issues here. Dale is a rocket.

“Love at first sight isn’t usually mutual.” 

The study suggests that shared instant love is not very common, but that one person involved can shape the other person’s thoughts and recollections to create a more mutual feeling. In the Bachelorette microcosm, Clare holds all the power. There’s no reason to believe this wouldn’t happen naturally between her and Dale even if he wasn’t all the way committed to her from the start (Re: Virtually every Bachelor/Bachelorette season).

Essentially, Clare is reading a choose-your-own-adventure book and she’s doing the thing where you bookmark the decision pages and go back if you aren’t on the path you want (Dale).

“Men report love at first sight more than women.” 

This is perhaps the least surprising point. As a whole, women are smarter than men. Taking the time to get to know a potential life partner is important, which is why Clare did so in the DMs before the show even started filming. Whoops. Disregard that last bit, moving on.

“Love at first sight isn’t really love.”

Shut up, science.

Regardless of how they got there, it’s clear that Clare and Dale are very attracted to each other. All we want is for them to be happy while we simultaneously enjoy the drama ensuing from an unhinged group of contestants left in their wake.

Love, at first sight, is definitely a real thing and Clare is giving us quite possibly the ACTUAL most dramatic season of The Bachelorette because of it. For that, we all owe her a big ol’ bear hug.

The Bachelorette airs every Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC.