I can't look away
I tried really hard to look away this season. But a friend of mine asked if I was watching it and for FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) I feverishly caught up with all of the viewers in a few days. I waver on it every time. I think, you're a smart, level-headed woman, don't watch the Bachelor. But it's like the best car crash.
I read that women who watch the Bachelor believe more in love at first sight, that love is going to be some magical pony that farts rainbows and feeds you chocolate. It doesn't. Love is great, but it's work, not begrudgingly awful work. Sometimes I think couples make relationships seem like they are torture. The work isn't hard, it's just consistent and tedious. For example, talking about how my sleep was every morning is a routine that my husband appreciates. You put in the effort and get some rewards.
Back to the Bachelor.
What sucks me in over and over is that people come on the show with expectations. No one starts out by thinking: I'm going to meet a person, see if it works, and date them along with 30 other people, we shall see what happens. Instead, people come in with the expectation that I COULD GET MARRIED. Then that statement slowly morphs into "this person could be my spouse". Then it morphs into, pseudo-love, because you're put in all of these places that create a euphoric high convincing you that you are in love. When, oh man, who wouldn't "fall in love" on a private tropical island?
My husband spoiled me rotten during the courting process. We had a very real moment while we were dating when he asked me, "do you want me to shower you with gifts now, or spread them out over the years of our relationship?". It was very considerate because he didn't want to set me up for years of disappointment in our eventual marriage. He is still very romantic, however, he doesn't show up in an airplane on a regular basis to fly me over a stadium that has my name scrolled in 20 metre tarps.
If I expected that in our relationship on a monthly basis we would be bankrupt.
But that's what Bachelor does. And it baffles me that the contestants (let's be honest, that's what they are) often don't see it. It is such an interesting window into the human psyche. Expectations lead our thoughts, that turn into our belief systems, and we seek validation to fulfil those systems. The Bachelor is like a magnifying glass for this cycle.
The show is like a press, it brings out the good and the ugly in hearts. If all I had to do was wait around for a guy to take me on a date once a week, I'd go a little stir crazy too. I'd probably talk too much to a camera, paint my nails a billion times, and come up with new theories about each person as they were out on a date. Wouldn't you? I'm sure it's boring waiting your turn for a date, even if it is in paradise.
The other aspect that drives me crazy is that introverts believe that there is something inherently wrong with them when they are on this show. Hearing those men and women say, "Maybe if I had put myself out there a bit more", which when you are watching you know that it goes against every thing they are about, it makes me cringe. The Bachelor(ette) is often extroverted and bubbly, that's why they have been chosen for that role, they will spill it all in front of the camera, and they tend to pick the person that does the same thing. Because they have been conditioned to believe that the person that loves them most is the one that is gushing all over them. When, in reality, introverts and extroverts have the same amount of emotion, it's just expressed differently. And at different times.
I'm an extrovert. I told my husband that I loved him after two weeks of dating him. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but if we were too similar and he was as open with his feelings we would have gotten into some hot water along the way.
There is no balance in a show like the Bachelor. It is so extreme. Every location is a great location to fall in love. Every glance, every touch, every moment that you speak to a person is scrutinized and over analyzed because you have a week in between dates to sit around and do nothing. And because time is limited, or exaggerated it's a pressure cooker of emotions and expectations.
And that's why I can't look away. The voyeur in me has to see what it does to people, and how the producers spin and edit things to give them a slant. We are manipulated to like certain people and loathe others, based on the amount of airtime they get. It's awful. Why am I watching again?