I’m fascinated by The Bachelor. Even for smart, well-read girls who know better, there is something captivating about this show. Part cat fight, part romantic comedy, part train wreck, it’s ridiculous, but it’s never boring.
I admit I mostly watch it for the stupidity. The things these girls and guys say are GENIUS. And crazy. Reading the re-caps the next day is often even better than the actual show. I have forced myself to suffer through many a terrible episode, simply because I want to be able to laugh through the recap. (My favorite recap here– speaking of which, how does one get THAT job? Being paid to watch crap TV and then write a snarky post about it? Sign me up.)
But of course, there is a part of me that wants it to work out, that wants the guy to pick the RIGHT girl or the girl to pick the RIGHT guy. Even though I know better, it’s still a tv show, and I do like a happy ending.
So I was watching the most recent version. And the girls were all crying, except for Michelle, the crazy one. And I got to thinking. What kind of Bachelor Girl would I be? Because this is a TV show, which means the writers and producers make you a type. And you have to have a “character” on the show. And in this particular show, you have to either be a total psycho or totally comfortable and willing to a) fight for a guy with twenty other women, and b) make out in front of tons of people. For those reasons alone, I don’t think I would even get on the show.
But let’s say you make it on the show. And you know all of this. You know half those girls have watched previous seasons and think “Oh, I’d never act like that.” But they all do. Does the house itself make the girls crazy? Do they put something in their drinks? Are they hypnotized upon arrival, to suddenly be crazy in love with some dud of a guy? Because really? Brad? Get a group of ten of my best girlfriends together, meet this guy at a bar, and I promise you, none of us would be crying and chasing after him and begging him to make babies with us.
And it’s clear that there are girls who don’t, in fact, feel a “connection” with the Bachelor. There are girls who would go on a date with him and think, he’s a nice guy, but maybe he has too many muscles and just isn’t for me. And she would either politely decline his next invite or ignore his phone calls. But what she wouldn’t do is keep dating him even though she didn’t like him. And she certainly wouldn’t hang in there just to see if he might propose. You know, for fun. I watch the show and every season I think, this will be the year that ONE of these girls stands up and says, you know, living in a fantasy house with twenty other crying women sure has been fun and all, but both you and I know that we aren’t meant to be and let’s just call it what it is. Then maybe she could pull him aside and tell him the real scoop on all the crazies left in the house. Then she’d skip out of the house, conduct her “exit interview” with laughter and grace and go home to meet someone she really might fall in love with. Or probably get her own reality show. But that never happens. Never.
Is it the competition? Now that I might understand. In fact, I participated in my own version of The Bachelor. It was summer camp, circa 1989. All the girls in my cabin decided that “Michael” was THE guy. So we all liked Michael. We all tried to make eyes at him over our punch at afternoon refreshment time, to make a “connection”. We all tried to stand out and get him to notice us, even though the boys camp and girls camp were separate and we only saw the boys in passing at meals and nightly campfire. Which meant none of us had ever talked to Michael. One girl knew him from back home and said he was “fine” and “cool”, which was enough. So the last week of camp, the big dance arrived and we were all posing on one side of the tennis court. We all stood around, hoping Michael had noticed the way we had jauntily carried our tray of sloppy joes, or maybe the adorable way we sang “One Tin Soldier” at campfire. And like most boys at the age of 14 or so, he stayed on his side of the tennis court. Until the last song of the evening, “Stairway to Heaven” when Michael walked over… to me! He picked me! We DID have a connection. We slow-danced to Stairway To Heaven. While everyone watched and the other girls in my cabin cried, because they thought they had a connection. And then he kissed me. In front of everyone. And I like, didn’t care, because he picked ME. Also I was 14 and had no ability to be embarrassed. And then we left camp and Michael called me and we talked on the phone for like, hours. A whole weekend, in fact. I realized that though Michael was indeed, “fine” and “tall”, he was quite boring and we had nothing in common. And that was the end of that.
So maybe I do understand the Bachelor. It’s really a psychological study about girl-think and how girls can get so wrapped up in the idea of something that they don’t ever ask themselves if this is something they really want. Because at the end of the day, those girls spend way more time with each other than the Bachelor. And after the fake emotional high of not getting picked fades (like in the limo ride home), I wonder how many of them wish they’d spent more time making friends instead of fighting. Because who else will understand the totally hype-induced drama that you just went through? Who else won’t judge you because you went on a reality tv show and tried to win a husband? Who else can you call when some real life guy says he’d really like to date you, but he can’t because he watched you make out with some doofus on national television?
So I keep watching. For the fauxmance and the crying, sure, but also I keep watching, and waiting, for that girl to stand up and say enough is enough. Cause THAT’s the Bachelor girl I hope I would be. But maybe I’d wait till after the fabulous vacation part. I’ve never been to New Zealand, after all.