Shallow Lessons ABC’s “The Bachelor” Taught Me About Dating & Men.

I’m ashamed to admit it, except not so ashamed that I won’t write about it: I am an avid fan of ABC’s The Bachelor. I remember being 15 years old and watching Andrew Firestone on television and thinking, “I’m in nothing but head-over-heels LOVE right now,” and ever since then, nearly a decade later, I’m still hooked on the popular, overwrought, ridiculous TV show. I hang onto every word, I scathingly hate the “villain” girl (or guy, in the case of The Bachelorette, which I also adore), I fall prey to the romantic proposals, exotic locales, perfect first dates, and cinematography-laden sunsets and skylines and blue waters of Fiji. I love it all.

Sure, The Bachelor is, at its worse, incredibly trashy, sad-sack TV. However, I feel I can defend my decision to continually watch season after season. I believe that buried beneath its silly, tacky surface, there are real lessons there about marriage, love, commitment, and lessons in general about the nature of the opposite sex. Perhaps you could argue that watching The Bachelor allows you to avoid dating mistakes of others as depicted on national television, and learn a thing or two to increase your savvy understanding of the dating scene.

So here are some things, for better or for worse, I picked up from the show in the many years that I’ve watched.

Type

When people ask me my type, I think, I don’t really have one. I think of all the men I’ve dated or been interested in and all of them have been a little bit different, though also a bit of the same. In the past, I’ve typically gone for the sarcastic, goofy nerd type who is wrought with wit and can carry on a good conversation about movies from our collective childhood. I guess that’s my type, right? But then you watch The Bachelor and you realize, “Hey! I don’t like Jake, or Brad – I like Andrew Firestone and Ben F.” And you look back at all the people you’ve ever dated or been interested in and realize, first of all, none of those guys worked out, and second of all, none of them live up to the charming, sensitive, open, honest personalities of the bachelors you’ve loved watching on TV. The word ‘type’ to me connotes an ideal you live up to and seek in those you meet that could potentially lead to romance. Your future husband may not entirely live up to that idea, but what attracted you to them in the first place is probably their similarities and/or aspirations to live up to the ideal you hold so dear in your heart. The Bachelor demonstrates idyllic people. So, Bingo. The bachelors you love and fantasize about could be your ‘type’, and help you to avoid failed attempts at relationships.

Getting Male Attention

To get a man’s attention, even a quality man’s, according to The Bachelor there are a few things to do; first of all, be chesty. Sometimes, really chesty (*cough*Blakely*cough*). If you’re uber-chesty and you show off your friggin’ huge jugs, your chance at a metaphorical rose in every day life increases 10-fold. It’s not a good thing necessarily, but hey! On the show, it works like a charm. Secondly, be forceful. It seems the villain girls are the most hated by the other girls on the show, and those watching, because they force themselves on these poor, unsuspecting bachelors and they make the biggest impressions by doing so. Conversely, it’s usually the girls who hold back as not to be like the forceful, chesty girl who throws herself at the bachelor in question, are the first ones gone. Sorry, sugar. You didn’t make a huge enough splash from the get-go… The villains make you SCREAM at the screen because in their interview, they’re going on about winning, crushing the other girls, how they’re “not here to make friends”, and so on and meanwhile they’re flirting like a cat in heat and pouncing on the man, claws buried deep. But, it works, to get attention. And lastly, wear a bikini. Can you imagine a one-piece swimsuit on The Bachelor? Not bloody likely.

The villain doesn’t win in the end… most of the time

We all love a happy ending, and we strive for a happy ending in our own lives as well, however we define ‘happy ending’. That’s why, when Andrew Firestone ends up with Jenn at the end of the series, instead of that repulsive “Tina Fabulous” or any of those other incredibly annoying, ditzy losers, or when Jillain chooses the handsome, low-key Ed and finally comes to her senses about Wes, the king of the ubiquitous “not here for the right reasons” statement on the show, we sigh with relief and think, “Maybe one day, sweet little me can meet my Ed!” And as long as you’re sweet, nice, inoffensive and charming as a vintage button, according to The Bachelor, you have a real shot at your life with Prince Charming. Unless you’re Jake, you don’t choose the evil villainous cow; you usually choose the sweet one, with her heart in the right place, who gets on with her family and has a decent job and smiles a lot and makes claims that she’s in love with you and wants to have a family with you.

Talking Smack About Others Gets You Nowhere

There’s a real pattern on The Bachelor that girls who bring up the flaws and intentions and deviance of the obligatory villain are always sent home. Like clockwork. I’m sure there are many reasons for this (denial perhaps, being one of them) but also, people (who are quality) don’t enjoy petty drama, little cat fights, talking behind someone’s back, and potential liars. To get ahead in the world, you shouldn’t have to put others down to get ahead. And to get ahead on The Bachelor, this is true. FYI, the villains of the world KNOW you’re going to do this! They purposely get under your skin and torment you into dishing all their dirt; but their smoke-and-mirrors two-facedness is difficult to see through. Your catty honesty is right in front of their face. Think about it.

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