Why is Season 3 of “Love is Blind” So Heterosexual?

Season Three of Love is Blind is, somehow, remarkably heterosexual, despite its premise retaining deep roots in lesbian cultural practices: falling in love with someone you’ve never met, moving in together after a week, idealizing someone you barely know, socializing with all of your exes, your friends talking behind your back about how much they hate your girlfriend, sharing your trauma on Day Two, rampant alcohol use disorder, love triangles, and your parents fundamentally disapproving of the relationship before even meeting your partner. This was detailed extensively by me following Season One:

19 Lesbian Cultural Practices Appropriated By “Love Is Blind”

For those unaware of the concept, in the hit Netflix reality show Love is Blind, marriage-ready singles are challenged to spend time speed-dating each other in “pods” where they can connect emotionally without viewing each other physically. During this time they often manage to “fall in love” and are only able to see each other after a marriage proposal has been accepted, at which point they run down a red carpet of love into each other’s arms and are shipped off on a romantic beach vacation, where they also meet the people they once dated. Then, they go back home to see how they’ll integrate into each other’s lives before their wedding. At the altar, they can say yes or no and most of the time, someone does say no!

After the sizzling lesbianism of Season One, Season Two continued to carry the homosexual torch. Nick made his own toothpaste and was marrying Danielle, a costume party enthusiast with emotional baggage sitting right a the very surface of her epidermis. Natalie was a girlboss trying to tame a bourbon-loving Golden Retriever named Shayne into a suitable husband. Salvador played Mallory a f*cking ukelele serenade!!!

Initially, I’d set out to rank Season Three’s contestants by lesbianism, assuming that there’d be plenty of material with which to do so, but quickly found myself thwarted by what can only be described as a season riddled with absolute heterosexual tomfoolery. Most notably, while the show has obviously always trafficked in the potential fallout from one partner meeting their fiancee for the first time and realizing they are not actually attracted to them — a situation less frequent in queer relationships because all gay people are hot and recognize each other as such — this season has taken that particular situation to an uneasy and honestly very rude extreme that leads you to ask “why did this man sign up for a show called Love is Blind????” Let’s begin with Cole and Zanab.

Cole and Zanab: 99% Heterosexual

Love Is Blind. (L to R) Cole Barnett, Zanab Jaffrey in season 3 of Love Is Blind. Cr. Patrick Wymore/Netflix © 2022

Patrick Wymore/Netflix © 2022

Cole, who initially reminded me of my ex with his childlike enthusiasm for life, specific style of eyeglasses and penchant for jumping on the couch like a child bowled over by the possibility of presents, was set to be #1. After he confessed that he’d in fact, at the age of 25, already been married to someone he only knew for two months and then got divorced four months later, I thought “that right there is a lesbian!” HOW WRONG I WAS!

After Cole met his betrothed woman, Zanab, who is objectively one of the hottest women in the world, he somehow, to our collective bafflement, was unable to summon a “physical connection,” instead reminding her and the cameras and his cast mates, at every opportunity, that his “type” is someone else’s fiancee, Colleen, an alleged ballet dancer.

Here is telling Alexa about his first impressions of Zanab:

Cole saying to ALexa "She's not the first girl I'd pick out in a crowd and said, "I think she's hot."

Here he is telling Zanab for the first but not the last time that she’s not his usual type:

Cole saying "the majority of girls I've dated have looked more like Colleen"

HERE HE IS RELAYING A CONVO FROM THE NIGHT BEFORE IN WHICH HE GAVE ZANAB A NINE OUT OF TEN AND THEN GAVE COLLEEN A TEN OUT OF TEN AND THEN TOLD ZANAB SHE SHOULD BE FLATTERED BECAUSE HE GIVES 80% OF WOMEN LESS THAN A 7 OUT OF 10:

I was like, "you're a nine out of ten"

Here’s his voiceover regarding how he is emotionally in love with Zanab and trying to summon the physical, which is already present with Colleen:

"I'm already physically in love with Colleen and so it's like"

Here is Zanab at a gathering of the cast in which this all came up again:

"So Malibu was really hard 'cause like, Cole's very attracted to Colleen"

"I, unfortunately, will never look like Colleen."

In the pods, Cole and Colleen had a connection, until Colleen told Cole that, in typical heterosexual fashion, that she wasn’t looking for a “deep” relationship but a “shallow” relationship. Cole expressed dismay at this revelation, and I subsequently expressed dismay when Colleen went back to the girls and cried that Cole had called her “shallow.” Justice for this lesbian man with deep feelings, I said! But now, after witnessing Cole’s overall personality and absolutely hogwild reaction to his smokeshow fiancee’s physical appearance, I curse the day I ever considered this man one of our own. In fact, I feel deep, pervasive shame around it, which is enhanced by my girlfriend reminding me that she hated him from the very beginning.

To get serious for a second, Cole is obviously racist! It’s clear he only sees white women as beautiful, and cannot recognize the objective beauty standing before him. He even tells Zanab that he “usually dates girls named Lily” and knew getting engaged to “Zanab” that she wouldn’t be his usual type.

Do not even get me started on this man’s apartment! Unacceptable! Clean before you go on a trip, you are the human equivalent of a broken printer.


Colleen and Matt: 90% Heterosexual

Love Is Blind. (L to R) Matt Bolton, Colleen Reed in season 3 of Love Is Blind. Cr. Patrick Wymore/Netflix © 2022

Patrick Wymore/Netflix © 2022

Similarly to Cole, Matt gets some lesbian points for the fact that at his relatively young age, he has already been married and divorced. Furthermore, his ex-wife cheated on him, and he now appears to possess intense, deep-seated trust issues that he may never get over, which is incredibly relatable to me, personally, a practicing lesbian. However, the way these trust issues play out is TOXIC AS FUCK. This man needs to calm the hell down.

Meanwhile, Colleen is giving me “front row of the viral TikTok dance for Alabama rush” vibes and as aforementioned, has explicitly stated her desire for a “shallow” relationship that doesn’t go too deep. A lesbian would never!!!


Raven and SK: 98% Heterosexual

Love Is Blind. (L to R) Raven Ross, SK Alagbada in episode 304 of Love Is Blind. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

As soon as Raven started doing pilates while Bartise was confessing his childhood trauma, it was clear that Raven was going to be last on my (as aforementioned) thwarted list of cast members ranked by lesbianism. Eventually, Raven ended up getting engaged to SK and despite her cold body language when they first met, they’re shaping up to be one of the chillest and most respectful relationships on the program. But SK did indeed fall asleep during a “sound bath,” which is not gay.

That said, Raven gets one small queer point for her impeccable reaction to Bartise’s inappropriate advances, telling the camera that physical complements are great and all, but she really wants to be loved for her mind, and telling him directly that she doesn’t think they’re compatible and that she feels secure that SK is more qualified to give her the love she wants to receive.

Raven tells Baptiste that "honestly we are so emotionally incompatible"

SK also gets one small gay point for thinking that going to grad school across the country shouldn’t impact the viability of their relationship.


Bartise and Nancy: 95% Heterosexual

Love Is Blind. (L to R) Bartise Bowden, Nancy Rodriguez in episode 303 of Love Is Blind. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

Cole and Bartise have the shared honor of being the people I hate most on this show, and I think both of them should be abandoned at sea. Nancy, who carries a heterosexual desire to birth 10+ children, gets some queer points for owning multiple properties with her ex. Bartise’s feelings about Nancy apparently shifted dramatically after Raven showed up to Meet the Exes night in a tight outfit:

"I loved seeing Raven for the first time"

"Like Raven's.... She came down, she was wearing these tight clothes. I was like 'Okay, she's a fucking smokeshow.'"

"Raven's the typical girl that I would go after in the real world."

Here Nancy is telling Andrew what Bartise told her:

Nancy to Andrew: "Like Bartise told me that I wasn't his "type"

Nancy to Andrew: "He wants tall. He wants blonde. He wants a fitness model"

Here he is after apparently not touching Nancy for two days:

"The physical attraction is just not really there for me anymore."

Nancy saying "Like I.... I want him to love me."

Here he is, still talking about Raven to Nancy:

Like, gorgeous girl. I told her this. I was like, listen, like

on paper, me and you make sense. You're fucking gorgeous. You're fit."

Meanwhile, Nancy is building a real estate empire and is a speech pathologist and is also incredibly hot and fun and delightful and loving. I am now, against all odds, shipping Nancy with Fake Tears Andrew, I think they should buy a spaceship and get the hell out of Dallas.


Alexa and Brennon: 75% Heterosexual

Love Is Blind. (L to R) Brennon Lemieux, Alexa Alfia in season 3 of Love Is Blind. Cr. Patrick Wymore/Netflix © 2022

Patrick Wymore/Netflix © 2022

Apparently these two are having fantastic rough sex and Alexa is a queen who gives off light bisexual vibes. Also, Brennon’s family has a garden and chickens. Probably the gayest moment this season is when Alexa’s Israeli Dad unfurled a set of knives with which he was implying he would circumcise Brennon on the spot, because knives are gay. Alexa’s Dad also told Brennon that he expected him to be able to give Alexa the expensive lifestyle to which she is accustomed — treating Brennon like his economically underprivileged childhood was an inconvenience rather than a lived experience that could inform his present circumstances — which is a very straight attitude.

In conclusion, this show needs to get its shit together and make an all-lesbian season already! Logistically it would be impossible but I don’t care, men have been to the moon, women deserve a shot at the pods.


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Riese

Riese is the 40-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in California. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2986 articles for us.

18 Comments

  1. This was the queer content I needed today. I wanted gay vibes from this season and didn’t get them!

    ALSO, I do propose that our dear SK qualifies for one additional gay lady point because of a Green Velvet Couch. Anyone else, confirm or deny the viewing of this couch? It went by so fast, as if the producers had no idea this was a key plot point

  2. haha I wrote into the AS comment box and requested some Love is Blind content so I’m so happy to see this piece!!

    I’d like to add the bananas exchange between Raven and Batiste as more peak sr8 stuff.

    Raven: I just…need to confess…at the weekends…I do something that can be really hard for men…I work in the service industry…
    Batiste: Wait, like a stripper?
    Raven: What, no? I’m a bartender.

    hahahahahhaha WHAT. Since when do you need to “confess” that you work as a bartender? This was one of the most batshit things I’ve ever witnessed om reality TV.

    • Yes! When I watched that scene I wondered if maybe “bartender” was a euphemism for something? Or is it just that she’s hot and men tip her more because she’s a hot bartender who uses her hotness to attract more tips?? I don’t know anything about the bar world.

      But then it was Bartise who had the dollar bills spread around her pod to “joke” that she was a stripper, right? I think?

      • 1. yes that’s why i wrote this!!! we got your comment / request lol and i was like I WOULD BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO

        2. i was so surprised by that whole exchange and was like… who are the men you are dating that can’t handle you being … LITERALLY in the service industry???

  3. I also cannot understand why Nancy sooooo wants Bartise to love her? I keep getting so confused because they have seemingly rlship ending convos (like the one about abortion), and then afterwards she says a weird (untrue) thing like “Oh he listens so well and is like open to what I have to say and wants to learn and grow”. And I’m like m’aam WHAT?! That’s…not what happened! Bartise is like a parody of all the entitled and mean traits of a man. The audacity!!

    Absolutely LOVED it when Nancy’s brother saw right through Bartise and called his proclamations of love ‘bland’. I was like finally someone is seeing sense. Someone get Nancy’s brother to talk some sense into the whole cast tbh.

    • I actually thought the abortion conversation wasn’t that bad – he had clearly NEVER thought about any of those things before (despite buying Plan B, possibly multiple times?). He’s very young and immature but it did sound like he was open to considering aspects of the issue that he, unlike Nancy, hasn’t had had to consider. But that might be too generous an interpretation!

  4. Hahah wait, I have more. The way that Cole treats Zanab is making me see RED. I actually think that the way Love is Blind approaches race is beyond nutty. It’s treated like ‘window dressing’ on top of what makes a person a person, instead of something that deeply informs the way a person sees and is seen by the world. It’s clear that Zanab hasn’t directly said to Cole ‘hey your comments are racist and are hurting me’, or worse, she has and he doesn’t care enough to stop! I just think that Zanab has such a weary energy and I wish she had someone better than Cole the racially insensitive child man.

    ALSO WHEN IS A LESBIAN VERSION COMING I BEG!!!!

  5. ha WAIT, one more thing.

    It’s sooooooooo funny how Bartise multiple times tries to make a list of the things that he and Raven have in common and it’s always ‘You know, we’re both fit, we love fitness’ End of list.

    It was extremely satisfying when Raven was like ‘hahahah NO, what would we do? go to LA fitness together?’. Bartise’s face was so crestfallen.

  6. I feel like they *could* make a gay version of this show if they really wanted to, it would just require housing all the contestants separately instead of in women’s/men’s quarters? Which would remove the “we know we’re after the same guy/girl” aspect of the drama and be harder emotionally on the contestants BUT it could be done lol.

    Also I feel like Raven is just not into SK at all! And I haven’t watched ep. 7 yet so I don’t know if this is addressed again, but the fact that she thinks he should help pay her rent while he is in grad school presumably paying rent on wherever he is living in California feels wild.

    (Also Colleen needs to leave Matt ASAP bc his reactions are scary, ffs.)

    • right i don’t feel like anything is really accomplished or gained by the genders sharing living quarters during the pods — i think maybe they thought there’d be some drama there but there really isn’t, it’s definitely an unnecessary element of the show

    • I absolutely agree its 2022 and not to include the LGTB communuty is not only insensitive but could also be considered rasist as well as non reality in my opinion.

      I personally am not gay but have family members that are and are just as deserving as myself to find true love.

      It truly sadden me that a show of this popularity & shear creative intution misses the point of the type of message that a show like love is blind should be about in all honesty.

      I remember the insensitive nature that a gay in season 1 I believe revealed that he had been with a man once before which of course caused his female partner to treat him immediately different. Just shameful that mans honesty took courage. This show should encourage that type of honesty and not have it now seen as taboo or a direct shameful act. Not suggesting the producers didnt try to help him but to say thats not what this shows about is the actual confusion in my mind. Thank you for ypur consideration and time.

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