Michelle Varinata is the founder behind vintage fashion boutique Soeng Signature and a freelance writer. A voracious vintage fashion obsessee, wanderluster and hopeless romantic, she refuses to live by conventions. Her love column is called Lovin’ La Vari Na-Dah, where she chronicles the flop era of her dating life. Grab a Kleenex and a glass of wine as you laugh and cry.
It was love at first lockdown.
Dressed in a baggy tee and Juicy Couture terry cloth shorts, I waited for my date. Sitting opposite me was a blonde woman holding a wine cup. My screen alternated to a brunette male talking about sports. Split between a barrier, the couple could neither see each other as the camera panned to both of them back to back.
Jarringly eerie to life, the scene mirrored my reality of pandemic dating where I couldn’t see my dates physically. Watching blind dating happen in literal form on screen planted the seeds of my dating show obsession. Since there was nothing else to do at home, I continued to binge the show, Love is Blind.
I wasn’t alone. My friends also started watching Love is Blind, too. When Too Hot To Handle came out, I pushed my sister, a dating show hater, to watch it with me. The summer of 2020, I watched Indian Matchmaking, which my friends and cousin were equally obsessed about as we couldn’t stop laughing about Sima Aunty and her attempts to matchmake prospective suitors.
When Love is Blind’s second season came out, we pored over the pod dates, ‘fessed about our favorite girls and talked about the red flags we saw in the male contestants. Seeing the trials and tribulations in these dating shows felt all too real for us. A guilty, yet therapeutic pleasure, dating shows made me realise that my dating life wasn’t going to be a fairy tale, but rather a journey of hard earned lessons.
Here’s what I learnt.
FYI, huge spoilers ahead if you haven’t watched any of these shows!