3/16/2010

Finding the Perfect Mate, Reality Style?



Last night I watched a show about where have all the past bachelor, bachelorettes and potential suitors gone from past reality shows. This reality phenomenon, the Bachelor and The Bachelorette is about finding your mate, your one true live, in prime time. I have watched it a time or two but not been an avid viewer. Why not? My reasons have a lot to do with not buying it, the whole concept. When I saw this episode pop up on network television last night, Where Are They Now, I sat down to take it all in. If it is on during prime time, I must be missing something by not checking it out. So, I watched it with an open mind.

What I learned during this two hour program is that the same thing happens every season. Women with incredible bodies wear bikinis and flaunt their assets, and I don't mean anything outside of their physical attributes. Forget the fact many are gorgeous and should have no trouble getting folks lined up on their dancing cards, apparently they are now looking for love. I wondered, why if they were so hell-bent on finding love, were they not looking in the real world? Could it be getting air time on national television in prime time was more appealing, you think?

Last night was all about giving insight into the show’s premise, the rave over it and updates on all involved. But to me, learning every season has it beach show, its visit the parents show, its steamy hot tub scene and its overnight date episode seems too contrite for my taste. It was amusing to learn even the host has questioned the scriptedness of continuing to say the line "This is your final rose" when only one rose is left on the table. Come on, as if no one can count. This is sheer dramatics and ridiculous to point out the obvious. Maybe the thinking in repeating the verbiage over and over each time the contestants on the show are so star struck and dumb founded in love they can’t count roses. One never knows how love strikes others.

The premise of this show is just an updated fairy tale. Each season has its modern day prince or princess who gets to pick out from the crowd of avid admirers that swoon over them who they want as a permanent fixture. Put another way, they get to pick who gets to make the show circuit with them after the show airs, appear on the celebrity mags and tout the show. Oh yeah, the ultimate price is they are to be committed for life, in holy matrimony so they can grow old together. The only problem with this concept is that most of the relationships from this show barely last long enough to be together when the next season's show starts.

Is this representative at all of what it is like to fall in love? As my husband sat next to me half watching this show with me, it became clear to me to question his dating style. Why did he not treat me like royalty when we were dating? If he had taken me to the Caribbean, or on a carriage ride and a picnic overlooking a beautiful mountainous view, I would have fallen in love with him quite a bit sooner. Actually with any man that had courted me in that fashion. That scenario of romance is conducive to creating an environment wet for love, or as my husband said, lust. And most of the shows, from the recap last night, involve drinking and I do not mean soft drinks and water. Altered states can cause red flags to be ignored as many country songs can attest to. Drunk with love or just plain drunk?

I freely admit I have watched a few episodes during past seasons. Occasionally I got my husband to even watch a few minutes with me. We enjoyed taking turns poking fun at the folks on the show. That certainly, for us, made it worthwhile. He duly noted just out how many pharmaceutical reps and general marketing women were on the show. Oh also, the "I still live at home with mom" or as he put it the 'token virgin.' In turn, I pointed out the men that were rich. Come now, we all know it is easier to fall in life with a rich man than a poor one! I also commented on the physique of the men, the standard typecast for this show. Requirement: must look like a cover model and appear to be every girl’s knight in shining armor. And there was always a token minority too. Why, we both wondered, are no minorities picked as the bachelor or bachelorette? Could it be about ratings and demographics and not about real honest soul search mating?

Back to my reality, I have never dated a pilot, a millionaire or a guy with abs that look better than Janet Jackson in her prime. In fact, most of my friends haven’t either, male or female! I do however love the concept of romance and roses but want to know is this a real portrayal of the way to find true love? I mean really, the statistics of survival rates of the couples off this show are worse than the national average (which is not good!).

I am writing this with tongue in cheek as I do not chastise anyone who watches these shows. I do think though there should be some caution. Reading romance novels obsessively may set the reader up for unrealistic expectations for a union with a soul mate. Most of us do not get swept off our feet nor taken on a pirate ship and held hostage by a dashing man built like GQ's best prospect. This reality show may do the same for your dating scene expectations. Dates like those on this show, bungee jumping, helicopter rides and couple massages may happen once in a blue moon but do not except this to be the norm. And ladies, just because he doesn’t do this does not mean he does not love you! Relationships are more likely built on dates to Taco Bell, catching a movie or sharing popcorn in front of the tube. Exciting dates are going to a gala in town, attending a football game, going clubbing or big scale parties. In fact, about the closest most of us get to getting dolled up for our dates in princess like dresses or sexy get ups is to attend a wedding, someone else's!

Shows like this are apparently, according to the show's statistics given last night, getting high viewer ratings. Hence, folks are watching it. My bet is mostly women! My husband has never heard of one single man watching this show from his man cave. I can see some merit to this venue for it is certainly a person watching at its best. But please don't get so drawn in that you are writing hate letters on the web about people on the show. I mean, really, you are only seeing clips that the producers want you to see. Let me state the obvious, people it is just television not true reality. The behind the scenes editing is meant to make you love and hate contestants.

For example, on last night’s recap, it was shown how one bachelor, when he was on the bachelorette version was likeable, funny and just an all around good guy, your guy to bring home to conservative mom. Later, this gentleman got his own opportunity to be the prince, the dashing eligible bachelor. Thus began the rumor mill, which worked overtime. Apparently, Mr. Clean and Wholesome was known by all as Mr. Kissy Face, even at his own admission. That is not the bothersome part but how about the fact that he consistently pushed for more than just a light hearted kiss to be sure, as he put it defensively the 'chemistry' was there. Note, gentlemen wait and do not invade ladies space. Which image is closer to the truth of who he is. Who knows who cares?

My thoughts, if you are avidly watching this show for its entertainment value, for a relief from stress of everyday real life, no harm will be done. However, if you are watching it to figure out what true romance is and how to find your Mr. Right or Mr. Wrong, do not take notes. Your time might be better spent reading by experts in the field, conversing with well versed honest friends or just getting out there and experiencing life firsthand! At the end of the day, only you can decide if it is truly worth kissing frogs to see if they do turn into princes.
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