The Problem with The Bachelor
ABC's smash hit The Bachelor follows a group of women competing for one guy's heart. The women competing will go to any length to win the guy's heart. They'll catfight, sleep with him at the drop of a hat and God knows what else. On top of that, the show features over-the-top dates, such as a helicopter ride over Aspen complete with dinner at a five-star restaurant. I didn't watch the show much growing up, but when I did, it wasn't only the cat-fighting that drew me in (cmon you know you secretly love it),
It was also the fantasy of it all.
The fantasy that I’d be swept off my feet (or wheels) by a ridiculously and unrealistically buff, rich, perfect guy. That over-the-top dates would become our everyday life That he’d spend every minute or every day googley-eyed over how much he loved me.
News flash: most reality TV has absolutely nothing to do with reality.
REAL relationships take work
REAL relationships are feeling comfortable talking about things that I won’t repeat on this blog because you both have the same medical condition.
REAL relationships are laughing at the most inappropriate jokes you tell each other.
Let me begin a fascinating case study of the show using one of the most infamous Bachelors.
On the surface, Juan Pablo seemed to be what the show dreams of in a star. Tall, handsome, six-pack abs, and to top it all off a Spanish accent and from the looks of it, an excellent kisser. Oh yeah, he was also a single father to a kindergarten-age daughter.
In short, he was SEXY AS HELL.
He turned out to be the show’s worst nightmare. He was a sleazebag, and that’s putting it politely. He would talk to the women as if they were kindergartens and crudely describe sexual encounters with other contestants to the contestant he was currently trying to get in bed with. It was so bad that fans actually applauded contestants for quitting. Juan Pablo’s season was also the only even somewhat realistic season in the show’s history because the women stood up to his BS.
In an excellent article about the nightmare that was Juan Pablo, Juan Pablo Is the Worst Bachelor in History the author describes a particularly telling trait. The author writes:
And while The Bach has always involved a strong undercurrent of Madonna-whore complex, Juan Pablo has made it more apparent than ever before. On group dates he’ll dry-hump one woman in a hot tub while the others look on, then turn around and tell other women he won’t kiss them because he has a daughter and must be careful. Fatherhood — the very thing that must have made him look like an appealingly domestic Bachelor candidate — has actually made him seem even more despicable since his child is most often treated as currency to help him get what he wants out of women.
She also tells of the crudeness described earlier, writing:
Another contestant, Andi Dorfman, preemptively dumped Juan Pablo: She couldn’t abide his general shallowness after their overnight date in Saint Lucia. For the uninitiated, an overnight date includes an invitation to the Fantasy Suite — where the final contestants get the chance to spend a one-on-one night in a hotel room with the bachelor and without cameras, for a night of “whatever.” Historically, the contestant will walk out the next day glowing with post-coital bliss, jabbering on about having the best night of their life and how they have never felt more complete or connected or certain that this man (who is scheduled to hump two more women in succession in that same suite) is THE ONE. Dorfman, a feisty 26-year-old assistant D.A. from Atlanta, emerged from the suite with a forced smile, a chilly peck, and declared it “the worst date she had ever been on.” She added that Juan Pablo had spent a considerable amount of time bragging about his previous night with Clare. Subsequently, after Dorfman was informed that she had “barely made it to the final round,” she told JP he was an asshole and left the show. Twitter erupted in support.
I use Juan Pablo to say two things:
If a guy seems too good to be true, he probably is.
If a man treats you like that, he’s total BS. Call him on it.