As the Bachelorette nears its “most dramatic final rose ceremony ever” I find myself thinking back to the Bachelor debut in 2002. Twenty-five beautiful young women vied for the heart of one alpha male. Many weeks later, he whittled it down to one. Kind of like a harem in reverse. I was horrified. I couldn’t stop watching.
If I had teenagers, I’d encourage them to watch this show. It teaches how to behave (and not behave) with your dream mate. When your love is unrequited, you’ll know how to read the signs and graciously bow out. Wait, I know a few people way past their teens who need this primer.
I’m sure a lot of my addiction comes from the horse race thrill of it; divining who will cross the finish line, in this case, last. Or do I still crave the Cinderella fairy tale? Am I intrigued by the bizarre psychology that takes over the contestants' brains that’s a combination of Lord of the Flies and Stockholm Syndrome? If I was stranded somewhere with only one man around I’d probably fall hard and fast for him, too.
Or am I just at that age (42 forever) where I’d much rather watch other people go through Dating Hell and feel smugly wise than to subject myself to that mess. One woman’s adventure is another’s headache.
A bigger question is why do these people go on the show in the first place knowing that they’re opening themselves up to massive public embarrassment and heartbreak? Is it the idea of wanting romance, wanting it now, and all the seductive trappings? There is a certain appealing efficiency to it. And there’s the fame. Can’t discount that.
Here’s what I find most fascinating about the Bachelor/Bachelorette. It always comes down to two strikingly different people capturing the chooser’s tormented heart. Every single time we hear: “I never thought I could fall for two people . . . This is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make . . . I have no idea who I’m going to pick.”
I’ve been in that place before. It wasn’t tortuous. It was head-swirling delicious. Unfortunately, it didn’t last. But just once, I’d like to see that final rose sliced down the middle, the Bachelor/Bachelorette give half to each finalist, and say, “Let’s try time-sharing.”
No one under forty would ever say that.
Causes Jo Maeder Supports