I swear it started out innocently enough. I was just doing a little research. After all, I write about happily ever afters. HEAs specifically in the realm of contemporary romance.
Surely it was an obligation to turn on the television and see just what the marriage of contemporary romance and reality TV had spawned?
And so I began to watch Season 20 of The Bachelor.
At first it was oh so seductive. The exotic locales, (Mexico City, the Bahamas, Las Vegas) the helicopter rides, the parties, the cocktails, the clothing, the gaggle of excited women all hoping they would be the one to earn the coveted rose.
And that bachelor. What guy wouldn’t want to choose a fiancee from among 28 beautiful women of diverse backgrounds and career paths? Ben, a tall, white smiled, software salesman seemed sincere enough as cameras followed him on group dates and one to one dates and even over nights (!) with his potential brides.
Then as the weeks wore on, major cracks began to show in the personalities of some of the contestants. (Ah, those brilliant producers.) As the ladies backstabbed each other during alcohol fueled confrontations, it was still must see TV for me. Yes, even though now I wanted off the rollercoaster that was careening wildly down in a nasty slide to the bottom of the track, I was still emotionally strapped into my seat. I needed to know how it would end.
It ended badly. Ben was not quite a prince. Poor, confused Ben told two of the women he loved them. (That’s a different show Ben, called Sister Wives.) When he called to ask Lauren’s father for his permission to marry his daughter, Ben told her dad that he “was about to make Lauren the happiest woman in the world.” No Ben. Tres tacky. She’s going to make you the happiest man in the world.
I wish Ben and his fiancee Lauren the best of luck even though history shows that The Bachelor and its sister show, The Bachelorette’s matchups have only resulted in a long term unions 20% of the time. Much lower than our national average. But oh those TV ratings!
Still, I choose to think that most of the contestants are there because they are looking for happily ever after, or maybe happy for now, as opposed to a career boost. I mean would you really sign on to swim in the ocean with pigs if you weren’t convinced it might lead to a lasting relationship? Or is that just the romantic in me?