Between five and ten seconds. I timed it.
Now I used to be among the pundits who scoffed at the hopelessly unplatonic idea that a person could know enough about another person in such a short time to really fall in love with them. "These are the people who only know lust, and have never felt anything deeper," I would sadly, condescendingly conclude. Any feeling that deserves the name could only come out of a prolonged period of friendship, only after having experienced their personality first hand.
A certain element of that is true. I don't believe it's possible to fall in love with someone just having seen their picture (unless perhaps it's especially descriptive of their personality), because so much of a person lives in how they move, how they speak, and all the mannerisms that accompany them.
But I've managed to fall in love in 5 to 10 seconds at least twice recently. Now of course we're not talking "add a diamond ring to the shopping list" in love, nor "drop everything and abandon my former life" in love, ideas which seem like overkill in alomst any situation. But at the same time, it doesn't seem so insignificant that I could label it "just another crush," and move on.
So in hindsight, what would I tell my former self to try and convince him that it is possible to have real feelings for someone so quickly that it could almost qualify as the sickening idea of love at first sight? I don't know if anything I could say would be convincing. It's seeing her break out into a playful grin or a giggle, and knowing she has enough spirit to meet life head-on. It's hearing her speak for the first time, dance around with the words, with that slight tinge of a northern accent that's so wonderfully charming. And it's plainly obvious that what you just felt could not possibly carry the depraved, base name of lust. Lust could never be this sweet.