Love at Second Glance

In theory, people make decisions about becoming involved, romantically or

otherwise, with other people based upon a number of criteria with which they

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evaluate the qualities of the other person. In some situations an individual may

consciously think about the criteria, or qualities, they are looking for in that

individual and then evaluate if the person meets the criteria. In most cases

however the person does not consciously think out this process, but simply

"knows" if he or she likes the other person or not. In some cases, the

most important criteria, at least initially, are surface type attributes, such

as race, appearance, or material wealth. In addition, the individual will

sometimes intuitively know that the other individual is not appropriate to start

a relationship with but is overwhelmed with the surface appearance. For all of

these reasons relationships will sometimes fail since the initial evaluation can

be based upon qualities that are not truly the most important for a long lasting

relationship. I will try to show that based upon two characters in American

Knees, their relationships failed, or at least struggled, since they had not

explored the most important qualities of the other person. A second sub-thesis

of this discussion relates to relationships that are chosen for individuals. For

example, a mother, father, sibling would fit into this category. In these

situations, the individual does not do the same type of evaluation since there

is no decision needed to become involved in the relationship. However, at some

point in the life of an individual they actually do recognize that a relative

meets, or does not meet, the most important criteria for a long lasting

relationship. In these cases there can be anger and frustration since

individuals may conclude that this person does not have the qualities you want

and yet by definition they are chosen for you. I will show in Comfort Woman,

that characters find-unappealing qualities in relatives, and this causes them

frustration and anger, since they had no choice in establishing the

relationship. There are a number of theoretical criteria that the average person

uses for developing a relationship with an individual. This includes a vast

array of items such as appearance, race, intelligence, friendliness,

personality, humor, dedication, and overall pleasantness. In the book American

Knees, there are two main characters named Raymond and Aurora, who exemplify

this process. In particular, Raymond was attracted to his first wife Darleen, as

well as Aurora, based primarily upon heritage. The entire subject of race and

heritage is critical to each of them. There are many complicated feelings they

each have about this subject and to some degree it overshadows all of the

aspects of their lives. In many ways they do not learn more about each other

since the complications of race are all encompassing. It appears as if Raymond

initially neglects considering other important qualities about Aurora. His first

thoughts are about race, "Was she part Korean or Japanese? Maybe he was

altogether wrong and she was native Alaskan, Indian or Latino. What a relief

that would be." He is almost joking to himself here, saying that this would

simplify the entire thing. It seems that he is overly concerned about this



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