I have an addiction. It’s not easy for me to admit but I want to do so in front of my family and friends. I’m watching The Bachelor. Seek help. Check into a clinic. I know. But you see, I can quit anytime. Like I have been for the last couple of seasons. *Sob* I’m only a social The Bachelor watcher…
But seriously, there is something strangely addictive about that show. Sure, there are some shallow vapid people that make you question the value of humanity… but somehow I can’t stop watching. It’s like a plane had crashed outside my house and I can do nothing but keep looking out the window to see what happens next.
For those cultured enough to be unfamiliar with the premise, the show has 25 women trying to marry one guy. Then an other show follows the first where 25 men try to marry one woman called The Bachelorette. The latter is the funniest one because guys have a tendency to be way more ridiculous in competition for the affection of a lady. It’s just as much of a plane crash as the first one but it’s a funny plane crash.
And the very premise is what brings forth the humor. Comedy breeds in people that take themselves way too seriously. People are ludicrous, especially when they display their peacock feathers for dating purposes. For example, there is a woman named Jenna, who writes for a blog called The Over Analyst. While she claims to over analyze everything, she really doesn’t analyze anything in her blog (really, three line posts that say nothing remotely close to analysis) and can’t even articulate a coherent thought while on the show (the show does involve rampant drinking which may add to inability). Then there was a guy with a mask. Yep, he wore a mask for many episodes and it wasn’t even a Guy Fawkes (which would have been cool in a nerdy way). I could go on but the list of strange things people do to attract mates is abundant and layers an element of comedy to the show.
I think the reason why I watch the show is really because I can see my dating life unfold. Or at least my lack thereof. Each episode unpacks the reasons for why I had a terrible and limited dating experience. I never really dated at all. I certainly wanted too but I was pretty terrible at understanding women. For example, when a women in her twenties wants you to put the moves on her, she will get you alone. I didn’t know this so in my undergraduate years there this woman that I really liked. And here are my three mistakes, all in the course of one party I threw while my parents were out of town (sorry mom, that is of course why the step was broken):
1. She got me alone in my room. Noticed my guitar and asked me to teach her to play the guitar. So I taught her how to play E minor. Seriously that’s it. I didn’t even do the wrap my hands around her move. I pointed to the strings.
2. Then she lured me alone in the basement and saw that I had Legos. So we played with Legos. I made a race car.
3. Finally, she “happened” to be in the garage with me. I stood awkwardly.
For men with more knowledge than myself, she was screaming to make out with me. For me, I was wondering, does she like me? Maybe I should ask her to coffee? The garage is pretty cold. She said she was cold. Maybe I should take her inside where it’s warm.
So that was my dating life… many many sad tales like the one above. And thus we come to reasons why The Bachelor somehow captures what it’s like to date. The men are clueless and make terrible decisions. For example, the men seem to go for the more sexually aggressive women that usually end up being the terrible choice. But looking back to my dating years, I probably would have made the same terrible choices. If she had kissed me instead of trying to play an E minor, I would have kissed her back.
Now the inverse in The Bachelorette is true as well. The women end up making terrible decisions because they fall for the wrong guys. Almost every season has a man that makes me realize, you’re that guy that gives men a bad name! I’ve done this before. While you brag about the break up one liner to your friends, I console her while she wistfully gazes into the night knowing deep down there is something there in your soul when in reality it’s a cesspool. I never understood why the cesspool soul men always got the women while the guys that cared or at least made an effort to care always seemed like an after thought.
I realize the answer to this question is the very reason why The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are entertaining to watch. People don’t really communicate with each other (my guitar lesson would have ended very differently had we communicated our desire). My wife finds the guitar lesson story amusing. As she puts it, we both went home with more self confidence issues that night. And it’s way easier to let someone else make the decisions for you. And when one person is making the decisions (such as the sexually aggressive female or the cesspool man), it’s easy to get hurt when they make a decision that doesn’t have your best interest at heart. They were making selfish decisions in the first place. Why should it change after an established relationship?
At least the comedy will continue. The contestant is after all looking for true love… while making out with multiple people a week… even having sex with three people in a row (yep, the top three have the option of a private room)… that’s true love… at least in the Steven Tyler sense of the word.