As In Life, More "Bachelorettes" Should Do the Choosing
I’ve grown cynical about “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” franchise over the years, but watching the finale where Emily found “the one” last night with Jef Holm reinforces a theme I wrote about a couple of years ago…ABC should ditch “The Bachelor,” if they are to continue with the concept of this show at all, and should only show the female version “The Bachelorette.” Here’s why….(I wrote this post during Brad Womack’s second season- when he chose Emily- this season’s “Bachelorette.”)
I’ve been a mostly consistent “The Bachelor” viewer during its 15 seasons on television. I was hooked when the second season couple, Aaron and Helene, got engaged during the finale. My romantic side bubbled as he swung her around in a tropical location after proposing to her and offering her the final rose. I sat in wonder, tuning out my husband’s cynicism that they’d never last.
I was glued to the TV, just as I was as a girl, when I got up in the middle of the night with my sisters to watch Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s fairytale wedding. And as women around the country have made “The Bachelor” one of the top reality franchises of the decade, I’ve been tagging right along. It’s been my big girl version of romanticism.
I remember that first season I watched, thinking, “Aaron and Helene are going to live happily ever after!” Only to have that opinion dashed the next morning when it was announced he’d callously broken up with her only weeks after the finale taped.
And since then, every time one of the engaged couples breaks up, I’ve thought about a book I read years ago, All the Rules: Time-tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right, by Sherrie Schneider and Ellen Fein.
The authors argue that men only propose to not-so-easy-to-get women. Despite many women calling the book sexist and unfair, some of the rules that stand out as tested over time when people are courting are: “Never Call Him,” “Always end a phone conversation first” and “If he doesn’t call by Wednesday, never accept a Saturday night date.” Basically, despite the measure of equality growing ever closer between the genders over generations, men are biologically wired to want a challenge- to win their woman through hard work.
No wonder, then, barely any of the bachelors on the show’s multiple seasons have found enduring love with any of the contestants. Forget about blaming the fantasy factor — yes, it’s true that the private helicopter jaunts over radiant waterfalls and private concert performances by Train are not real life but that is not why the relationships crumble once the couples navigate the real world. I say the biggest reason these relationships don’t work is that the women aren’t cherished from the very beginning.
Our brains tell us game playing in relationships is bad. The sexes are equitable, right? So who’s to say a man has to hunt the girl? But what thousands of years of animal behavior show is that the male species wants and needs a hunt.
Now, instead of hoping and believing along with the women that they’ll finally find love and a happy ending I want to hurl something at the TV and tell those young women to run! And it’s no offense to this season’s Prince Charming, Brad Womack. I want to shake them and yell, “You shouldn’t have to work so hard to get a man to notice you!” and “Why are you crying for a one-on-one date?!” I watch the show now because it’s like watching a car wreck — it’s just too hard to look away.
I have two daughters, albeit young ones. I’d be mortified if they throw themselves at a man when they’re ready to settle down or cat fight with other intelligent grown women like the ladies do on the show. Sadly, this is what we see all too often in real life and on television these days.
I have sons, too. I want them to think that women are to be cherished and revered, not selected for tight abs or for which ones play tonsil hockey with them first. Those are not rules girls.
Trista Renn was the atypical bachelorette on the show (there have been 9 bachelors and only 6 choosy bachelorettes in the show’s 15 season run.) The gilded Goldilocks at the top of the tower, Trista dazzled her 25 suitors with confidence and charisma. She was coy. She played by “The Rules.” She is also still married to the man who beat out all the others at the time and it’s because he saw her as a prized jewel he had to work so hard to get.
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