Every once in a great while a show comes along that makes me consider tossing my television out the window... and following it.
Unfortunately, a great while is every year or so and the show is ABC’s The Bachelor. This season, it has a snappy subtitle so we can distinguish this group of catty, size 2, 24-year-old women from all the other seasons full of catty, size 2, 24-year-old women: An Officer and A Gentleman. Because Andy—that’s the title character’s name—is just that.
Surprisingly, I have never been a fan of The Bachelor. On the surface, it sounds like a bandwagon me and my questionable television habits would immediately want to jump on, what with my love of The Tyra Banks Comedy Hour (aka America’s Next Top Model) and all. The premise is nothing short of genius: twenty-five "attractive and smart" women make fools of themselves in an effort capture the heart of some "attractive and accomplished" assclown who could—educated guess here—only ever love himself.
But The Bachelor, with its drunk and desperate version of the Cinderella story, has only served to be the television equivalent of nails on a chalkboard for me. Regardless, I always manage to catch an episode or two of this train wreck each season and—perhaps even more of a coincidence—it tends to either the first show (tequila-soaked) or last show (vomit-worthy). Last night it was the first show. This is the episode where all of the "smart and attractive" women get wasted and, in an attempt to stand out from the crowd and win Andy's attention, his affection, and--cross your fingers--a rose at the end of the show, "perform" various talents (one woman did a back handspring; another did the worm) on national television. Oh The Bachelor, how you make me cringe...
I’ll bottom-line it for ya’ll. Me… I don’t judge (except for the women on this show, but I’m pretty sure they signed a waiver that permits me to judge them and gives ABC rights to their first-born children). Who I don’t judge are the people who watch this show. I admittedly watch a lot of sub-par television, including shows where women happily degrade themselves in the name of money, a modeling contract, a job, or whatever the BIG prize may be.
I think my problem with this show is that I am one jaded bitch when it comes to romance and the "L" word (that's L-O-V-E my friends). And (I preface this with, “it’s likely that I need therapy”) while I’ll drunkenly argue with each and every one of you that it’s next too impossible to find love anywhere these days, and as women, we’re better off converting to lesbianism (the other "L" word) if it were just that simple... it is possible that in the harsh light of the next sober day I will admit that I was a bit hasty in my remarks.
And so, I will suggest here with nary a hint of optimism that it is also possible—though unlikely—that some of these women are actually hopeless/helpless romantics, desperately searching for the “one,” and would do ANYTHING to find him... that includes becoming a contestant on a reality show ("It's fate!") And… it is possible—though again unlikely—that one of these women will find "true love" (whatever that is) on The Bachelor. I just threw up in my mouth a little.
I realize now, it’s not really you—Andy and the crazy women of The Bachelor—it’s me.
There's just one nagging problem... it’s kind of hard for me to buy into the fate/true love/fairytale/reality show proposition when the average age of these women (back of the envelope estimate) is 24. That’s too young to be desperately searching! You’ve got years of sleeping around ahead of you. Then, once you've been around the block a few times, ruined a few lives--maybe your own at some point--and you’re bitter and cynical about men, around say, the age of 28, you can decide that you won’t actually work for a man’s attention, but that he should work for yours. See how far that kind of attitude has gotten me? These 24-year-olds can't possibly be looking for love... so then what are they looking for? Hellloooo.... it's like sooooo obvious. They are looking for an opportunity to be famous... if only for 15 minutes. Because when you're 24, 15 minutes of fame gets you laid a whole lot more than 0 minutes of fame does. Not to mention that being a contestant on the Bachelor is like receiving a certificate that says you meet the society's standards of hotness... and being hot is the only thing that matters when you're 24. (Let's be honest, being hot is the only thing that ever matters.)
In essence, The Bachelor is actually mocking me mock it. It knows that I know and it's flaunting the fact that the vast majority of women on this show don't care about the fairytale, they just want their moment in the spotlight.
Now here's the real question: Is that actually more or less respectable than thinking you can compete for and win a soul mate on national television?
That may possibly be the most profound question I have ever asked. It definitely tops, "Who am I?"