As a general rule, I do not watch TV. Raised by parents who refused to buy cable, my only options were the Spanish channel, the Chinese channel, and My Wife and Kids. Needless to say, I did a lot of reading instead. Unless I’m at a hotel where I can rot my brain with shows like Engaged and Underage, How Do I Look, and Jersey Shore (everyone has her guilty pleasure, okay?), I usually opt for a good novel, magazine, or blog instead.
My one weekly indulgence is The Bachelor. Laugh all you want, but I am just one of many, many Americans who loves this program. (According to Entertainment Weekly, 15 million viewers tuned in for the season finale of The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love starring Jake, a hunky pilot, in 2010.) My mom, aunt and uncle, and my cousin all watch on Monday night when it airs, I watch it online on Tuesday—because yes, you guessed it, I don’t own a TV—and we all email back and forth incessantly about it for the rest of the week. It’s weird, but so is my family. (In a good way.) There is something oddly addicting about watching one lucky guy or gal get the chance to pick a fiancé from among 25 eligible contestants, all while going on extravagant international dates and engaging in heavy make-out sessions. I’m totally hooked.
Despite the fact that this show is, at its core, completely inane, there are a few important life lessons to be gleaned from its shiny cast of singletons. Here is what I have learned over my long tenure as a fan:
1) Everyone has gone through that one excruciating heartbreak. If you’ve ever felt like you are the only one who has experienced the pain of a bad break-up, rest assured that you are not alone. Almost every bachelorette competing for the affections of our illustrious bachelor, Ben Flajnik, a winemaker from Sonoma, has her own sob-worthy tale of woe. Lindzi, for example, got dumped after two years via text message. Her ex broke the news with the words: “Welcome to Dumpsville, babe. Population: you.” (Seriously, people actually do stuff like that? Yeesh.) She claims that for the month after the split she felt like the world was ending, but that “You have to experience real old-fashioned hardcore heartbreak to know what love is.” It sounds cheesy, I know—and seriously, she was only depressed for a month? That girl should consider herself lucky—but I have to admit that I think there’s some validity to what she’s saying. I know that my own heartbreaks have felt awful at the time (and for a long time afterward), but have ultimately allowed me to figure out what I’m really looking for. Pothead jocks? No. Beer pong champions? Definitely not. Guys who prioritize honesty? Yes please.
2) Everyone is afraid that they’ll never find “the one.” After the rose ceremony when she was sent home Monica cried in the limo, wondering if love even exists—she’s starting to think it doesn’t because she still hasn’t found it. Samantha tearfully wondered what was wrong with her—it hasn’t worked out with so many guys that there must be something. It’s kind of pitiful to watch these ladies lose it when one dude—who is dating 25 other women, by the way—doesn’t like them, but I also understand where they’re coming from. I’ve been in their shoes before (no, I haven’t been on a dating show; though come to think of it sometimes my life sort of feels like one), and boy is it unpleasant. It hurts like hell. And yet, there is something reassuring about knowing that other people feel this way too. We all share the fear that we won’t meet the man of our dreams, that we’re doing something to repel him, that it will just never happen. It would be hypocritical of me to write something about how it will all work out in the end, because I have the same anxieties. But hey—if nothing else, misery loves company.
3) Wearing too much concealer makes your face look orange. Seriously ladies, don’t do it. In this arena, less is more.
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