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
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
aspect. Aurora also thinks of this subject from the start. Aurora thinks,
"... hoped to god, he wasn't an insecure Asian male who would talk only to
her." And " ...-just Asian enough to bring home to mother..." She
next thinks through about what their first conversation would entail. She
specifically thinks through questions, he will ask her, in order to determine
her ancestry. Aurora was also giving significant thought in these first few
moments about what she thought of him. The area that she is preoccupied with
relates not only to race, but also to his physical appearance, and the garments
he was wearing. She even tries to determine what part of the country he is from
based upon his expensive and sophisticated clothes. During their first meeting
the book describes in great detail, each of their thoughts towards the other.

Some of the thoughts were prior to any conversation, and of course some are
during their conversation. It is fairly clear, that the most significant thing
that each is contemplating relates to surface issues, such as ancestry, where
they work, how much money they earn, or sexual appeal. This is not uncommon in
many people and if these qualities are appealing this can lead to a relationship
before determining if the individual has other attributes that they like. The
book indicates how quickly Raymond and Aurora