BRB, omw to romanticize every person on campus who looks like me
Opposites attract: a two word statement that has sculpted the storylines of countless films, presented itself in music and shaped our view on relationships. We’ve grown up hearing the phrase so much that it’s been taken at face value. Well guess what, “it was all a lie.”
We’ve all done it before – “it” being the slightly embarrassing “squint and check but don’t be too obvious'' stance you make as what you assume to be the hottest person alive walks toward you. Chances are they’re actually cute. Other times you’ll notice that they aren’t as attractive as you made them out to be. In my experience, the recipient of my squint stance doesn’t live up to the version of themselves I created. It forces me to ask myself one question: are they actually cute, or did I just think that because they’re a person of color? More often than not, it’s the latter.
According to UF’s demographic, white students make up 55% of the university’s population while each minority race falls below 20%. As a minority at a predominantly white institution, it can be discouraging when you don’t often see members of your community in passing. So when you finally do, it’s kind of instinct to assume they’re Gainesville’s personal Keith Powers.
Fear not besties, you aren’t going crazy. This reaction is a psychology phenomena known as the mere-exposure effect.
The mere-exposure effect states that people are *usually* attracted to what they’re accustomed to. As Dr. Sabina Read, along with other psychologists, said, it boils down to familiarity. “There's something in our DNA that [has] us attracted to people who look like us.”
This isn’t to say that people are only attracted to those they share a race, hobbies or personality traits with. It’s 2022 for crying out loud and I would like to think our society’s more evolved than that. However, whether it be conscious or not, similarities are a big part of how we choose who we want to be with. As Dr. Read would tell you, “seeing something familiar in someone else often forms some kind of attraction.”
At the end of the day, it’s beautiful that we have such an intense desire to be connected to our communities that we delude ourselves into romanticizing every person who looks like us. Or maybe we’re just so conceited that we think anyone with a look and vibe that resembles ours is hot. Either way, no harm in carrying out your investigative squint stance while scouting for a potential partner. Although the chilly weather is turning us all into walking icicles, let’s not forget that hot girl summer is just around the corner.
Kaicha Noel is an Online Writer at Rowdy Magazine. When she’s not daydreaming about her future, you can bet she’s somewhere spending way too much money on mediocre coffee, adding to her already lengthy list of Spotify playlists and writing poetry about every experience she’s ever had. You can find her on Instagram @kaichanoel or reach her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.