“Um, my longest one is probably … this one, and her name is Marla.”
-LaRue, referencing Marla, her approximately 17” fingernail, on TLC’s new series, Strange Love.
I’m pretty creative, you guys, but even I can’t make this s**t up.
The first 2 episodes of TLC’s new series Strange Love premiered tonight. The series, in TLC’s words, “follows the lives of people who prove there’s someone for everyone.” We all have our quirks, but some people are quirkier than others, and sometimes that makes finding love a bit more difficult. This show looks at people looking for love, as well as people who have found love, despite (or because of!) their quirks. I’m not sure yet whether I’ll do weekly recaps of this show, but while I ponder that decision, here’s a look at episodes 1 and 2:
The premiere episode of Strange Love follows LaRue, a single lady whose long, long, loooonnnngggg nails are her pride and joy. She has never been married (my guess: because there’s no way a man could get an engagement ring on her hand without risking losing a digit of his own to her sharp talons) but got out of a 22-year relationship about a year ago. LaRue is a sweet, friendly woman who wants to find her knight in shining armor, but has lately been kind of a homebody, scared to start dating. She’s hoping to find someone who likes her for her, including her nails, but not solely because of her nails. Fun fact I learned from the show: there is apparently something called Onychophilia, which is a sexual attraction toward people with long and/or painted nails. See? Now you’ve learned something from my blog. It’s important to keep learning.
LaRue’s best friends are her knuckles; she uses them for everything. She has names for her nails: Marla, Miss Independent, Miss Attitude. She gives her nails weekly milk baths, and spends over $300/month on manicures. (And on this episode we meet her nail tech, who also has insanely long nails. I am vexed at how someone with 8” nails can perform manicures – that seems so tricky! – but she was inspired by LaRue and thus grows her own nails now. LaRue, you’re an inspiration to someone!) It takes LaRue 2-3 extra hours to get ready for anything, which she says is frustrating, but it’s clearly a trade-off she’s willing to make. I don’t think she mentions her occupation in the show (I would really be interested to know) but she does talk about how frustrating it is that when people first meet her, they ask how she goes to the bathroom. That’s private business! (Yeah. It is. But, full disclosure: that’s the first thing I thought of, too. It just seems downright dangerous.)
LaRue decides to try speed dating. (That’s still a thing?) On the way to the date, she is flustered and breaks a nail in the steering wheel, and it is awesome, because in all honesty that’s all I’ve been hoping for the whole time. At the date, most of the men she meets are not too keen on her nails. And a few are downright rude to her. Like, REALLY rude. I might be the self-crowned Queen of Snarky Blogging, but I don’t condone face-to-face meanness. That’s her thing, guys. LET HER DO HER THING IN PEACE. (Even though it seems kind of unhygenic and, well, owie.) OK, she does ask one man to help her fix her nail with some spray epoxy, which I will admit crosses the line just a tad, but still, be cool, guys.
Finally, after a few frogs, she meets her prince, Steve. Steve loves her nails, but not in a creepy, fetishy way. Steve likes her for her. Steve thinks she has a gift. Steve doesn’t ask how she goes to the bathroom, but rather inquires about how she cooks. Steve calls her a week after the speed date. (Steve gets extra points from me for calling instead of texting! Yay, Steve!) Steve asks her out. YAY, STEVE!
Steve brings LaRue flowers, and takes her to a cooking class, where everyone stares at her like she’s some sort of freak. (I mean, I think she kind of is, but to each her own, right?) She uses her fabulous knuckles and demonstrates that she can, indeed, cook, wowing Steve and the instructor. SHE NAILS IT! (I would be doing this blog a great disservice if I didn’t use that pun.) Steve holds her hand at dinner (and doesn’t appear to need Neosporin afterward, so he’s already got his technique down), and, awwwww, he kisses her! At the end of the show, we find out that LaRue and Steve are officially dating and she hopes that he’s “The One.” I hope so too, LaRue. I hope so too.
Whereas episode 1 focuses solely on LaRue and her nails, episode 2 follows 2 different people: Cathie and Madison.
Madison (AKA Maddie) is a little person. I feel a little bad that she’s on Strange Love, because I thought the show would be more about quirks and differences that people choose, and she didn’t choose to have a bone disorder that causes dwarfism. Maddie is a 4’1” college student. She’s gorgeous and bubbly and intelligent, and my heart breaks a little when she tells the camera that a lot of guys just want to meet her and hook up to cross “having sex with a little person” off their bucket list. (What the hell kind of bucket list item is that? My bucket list includes going to South America and learning to water ski. These guys are making me question my faith in humanity. But I digress.) So far, Maddie has really only dated other little people.
Maddie has tried online dating, and hasn’t had much luck. (I’m of average height and I have had terrible luck. I can only imagine how bad it is for you, Mads.) She also hasn’t met many guys at college, aside from the aforementioned bucket list d-bags, so she decides to see a matchmaker. Her parents aren’t super-cool about this matchmaker business; her dad is a bit protective, and rightfully so. He questions how she can defend herself physically against an average height guy. He also wants to make sure she finds a good guy, overall. He says, “Don’t you go to a bar or church or something” to meet these guys? Ugh, Maddie’s dad: maybe a church, but not a bar. Have you been to a bar lately, Mads’ dad? I’m pretty sure that a bar would just be full of “wanna-cross-this-off-my-bucket-list” guys.
On her first blind date, set up by the matchmaker, Maddie meets Cyrus. Cyrus is an average-height guy that talks too much about himself. (I suspect that’s because of nerves.) He thinks there’s a spark and would like to see her again; Maddie says there will be no date number two, because she’s bored. There’s no chemistry. (It’s always interesting to me when 2 people have totally different viewpoints of the exact same situation, be it a date or not. It’s a good study in perception, and human nature, isn’t it?) The matchmaker sets Maddie up with Lamont for her second date, and this time there is a spark. Lamont has never met a little person and admits that at first, he’s freaked out, but once they start talking, he realizes that the height thing doesn’t matter. ATTA GUY, LAMONT! They have a great date, though at the end of the show we find out that Maddie is still single, though going on dates, and is hoping for a call from Lamont to set up a second date.
We also follow Cathie on this episode. Cathie is in the Guinness Book for having the smallest waist on a living person. Through the use of corsets over the past 35 years, she has whittled her waist down to between 15” and 18” – she holds a CD in front of her midsection to demonstrate just how tiny her waist is. (By the way, she’s whittled down from 26”! That seems tiny enough to me; I can’t imagine wanting it any smaller, but then, that’s HER thing, and as I’ve said before, people should do their own things. To each her own.) She first wore a corset on her wedding day, 55 years ago, and both she and her husband Bob found the whole corset thing to be elegant and attractive — it bloomed from there.
Cathie gets a lot of attention for her itty-bitty waist. She says that she loves being different and doesn’t know anyone that doesn’t think it looks good. (I would beg to differ, but the important thing here is that she likes it, and so does Bob.) Husband Bob is a physician and tells the camera that the use of corsets to whittle down a waist that small is not dangerous, and likens it to the organs shifting during pregnancy. Bob finds Cathie’s tiny waist incredibly attractive, and to surprise him for their 55th anniversary, she puts on a special corset – a replica of a Victorian corset – for him. “Lord have mercy,” Bob says, as they head out to meet their friends Betty and Jerry for dinner.
Betty and Jerry seem visibly alarmed by Cathie’s corset – especially Betty, who also seems alarmed and a bit put off when Bob mentions one of the secrets of their happy marriage: have sex once a day. Yeah, I guess that’s TMI, but really, it’s also pretty sweet. Bob is especially endearing to me when he says that though he finds Cathie’s measurements to be extremely attractive, the waist is just “an ancillary thing.” He talks about what a loveable person Cathie is. That melts my heart. That’s what it’s all about.
Even though I’ve basically gushed about this program in this posting, it’s not exactly highly intellectual viewing. It’s filler TV, good for time-wasting. I’m not sure it’s something I’d DVR, but it’s not on my Do Not Watch list, either. It’s not great, but it’s … eh, not bad (shrug). While the first episode (those nails!) was just kind of out there, I thought the second episode was a bit tamer and more … endearing? … I guess. The overall message of the show is nice for hopeless romantics like me who believe that there’s someone out there for everyone, and it makes me happy when people find each other and fall in love – flaws, quirks, and all. (Awwww. Sigh.)