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Monday, February 21, 2011

Why I Watch the Bachelor

I watch the Bachelor, and I hate myself for it.

I never used to watch the Bachelor. I always thought it was ridiculous. I mean, seriously? The whole competing for a man--crying over some dude you just met--national TV humilation thing just never appealed to me.

And then I tuned in.

It was kind of an accident. I had been watching Jeopardy! because I'm convinced that I'm smarter than everyone on that show (except for the computer. That was just creepy) and left the remote in the kitchen. Now seeing that the kitchen is approximately 8 feet from the living room, it wasn't a major stretch to go get it. But it was, and I found myself sucked into the train wreck of hair extensions, boob implants and Forever 21 dresses that was these 25 women fighting over Jake Pavelka. (which . .. really?) It took less than one episode to get sucked into the drama and catfights, and soon the DVR was set.

Now I should backtrack a bit and say that I do believe in love at first sight, or at least early in a relationship. My husband and I were engaged 6 months after we started dating, which was 6 months after we met. I knew the first night that we hung out, talking for hours, that I wanted to be with him, even though our first real date wasn't until months later. But it was just me and him. I wasn't fighting with 24 other women in bikinis and cocktail dresses who interrupted every 5 minutes with a giggle and a "Sooooorrrry . . .can I steal him away?" At least that I know of.

Anyway, as much as I enjoy the entertainment value of the Bachelor (I mean come on, some of those girls are batshit crazy and fun to watch) I also feel a little dirty watching it. With each episode, it sets the women's movement back about 50 years and this coming from someone who doesn't define herself as a feminist ( but that's a post for another day.) My favorite contestant ever was the vampire-girl from this current season, who basically said "You know what? This is ridiculous. Buh-bye." What seemed like a good idea at the time, and a way for her to get her 15 minutes, was exposed in about 15 seconds and she just couldn't deal with it. I cheered when she walked away, not only because she was one of the more interesting "characters" they had come up with, beut because she had a spine.

I hate seeing these girls get caught up in the yachts and the resorts and the "fantasy dates" with rappelling, helicopters, volcanoes and caves. You want to have a real dating show? Show these people waiting for a table at Chili's on a Friday night, or playing mini-golf. These crazy "dates"--which, newsflash, girls, are planned by the producers, not the Bachelor himself--are bound to create conversation. Even if it is just "This is so pretty/awesome/scary/incredible." So let the Bachelor plan his own dates. I want to see him take a girl to a Star Trek convention or a UFC fight, just to see how she'll react. I guarantee you, more girls would run for the exit when they find out the supposed dream guy is actually into action figures and watching grown men roll around punching each other in the head.

And yet I watch. Every week, I tune in, and spend two hours rolling my eyes and making fun of the Bachelor and the women who make fools of themselves to get his attention. I managed to get my reality TV-hating husband to watch with me, and we actually discuss what's happening on the show and who we think is going to stay or go--and then make fun of ourselves for caring.

So I've been trying to figure out why I watch. I know that if one of my daughters went on the show, I'd be mortified if she thought that she would actually find lasting love while the cameras were rolling, never mind participated in the champagne-fueled hot tub meltdowns. I be embarrassed for her as she stood in a group of women waiting for some schmuck to offer her a rose to stay in the competition--just like I'm embarrassed for the girls on the show now, all of whom left behind their family, friends, homes, careers and in some cases, children, for the chance to humiliate herself on national television. Sounds like must-see TV, right?

I've come to the conclusion that I watch because 1.) there's not much else on during that time slot and 2.) I'm a sucker for a good fantasy. After almost six years of marriage, two kids, a mortgage, and all that comes with it, the idea of spending a defined period of time focused entirely on developing a relationship sounds kind of fun. I miss the days when a weekend away meant a change of clothes, a toothbrush and a tank of gas, and not a babysitter, dog sitter, diaper bags and daily kid checks. I miss staying up talking all night about something other than whose turn it is to get up with the baby, or why that child just won't go to sleep already.

I realize we're not the only ones who struggle with the romance/adult relationship aspect of life. There's an entire industry built around rekindling the marriage spark. And it's not that I'm unhappy. I'm anything but. The thing is, it's kind of nice to live vicariously through reality show contestants. It's sparked a few serious discussions with the hubster, and inspired us to dream about places we'd like to visit. So while I roll my eyes at the behavior and wardrobe choices of the girls on the show, I silently thank God that I'm not single and competing for a guy that will probably humiliate me in UsWeekly, and for the good guy that I did marry.

And for that, I guess it's good TV.

Hello, World

I've thought about starting a blog for a while. And every time I have the thought, another, more insistent thought takes it over. It's the nagging little voice that's says, in a snotty tone of voice sounds an awful lot like a certain girl in my 7th-grade Spanish class, "Who cares what you have to say?"

I've also thought a lot about what the blog would focus on. I had another blog for my scrapbooking and crafts a while back, but well, I just didn't enjoy it. And those are a dime a dozen. The couponing/saving money thing? Done--by one of my good friends, no less. Ditto for the cooking, things to do, absolutely hysterical observations on life thing. In short, it's pretty much all been done.

And then it occurred to me that it doesn't really matter. It may have been done. And as much as I would love to be the next Dooce, we'll have to see. Even she started off just writing snarky observations about her co-workers. So here I am. Who knows what this little slice of the interwebs will wind up being? It might be a combination of all of those topics above, it might be something else.

To start this off, a little about me: I'm in my mid-30's, live in Maine (obviously) and I'm married with two girls, ages 2 and 9. I'm a grad student, a writer, and wannabe fashionista. I dream of Manolos and Christian Louboutin's, but I wear Dansko's and carry a Vera Bradley bag. I'm a reality TV and chick lit addict, and spend far too much time on Facebook. My favorite authors are the aforementioned Dooce (aka Heather Armstrong), Jen Lancaster, David Sedaris, Emily Giffin, Jennifer Weiner, and a host of others that I plan to emulate at every possible turn.

Oh, and I love me some boxed wine.

So here we go . . . and so begins my sarcastic, perpetually perplexed and hopefully interesting take on the world . . .