Why I'm Not Ashamed to Watch The Bachelor
It would be easy to say that I was bamboozled into hopping on The Bachelor bandwagon. I could blame my addiction on the excuse to drink champagne with my girlfriends on a Monday night (a perk, for sure), riveting click-bait articles, or my chance to finally win at a fantasy league, but that, my friends, would be a lie. Real talk: I've watched The Bachelor since day one, when the fantasy suite actually was a surprise and ABC's budget for date nights meant ice skating in the park instead of helicopter rides in exotic destinations.
Sure, I get all the reasons I should feel embarrassed when watching. Trust me, I've heard them all before. But rather than quietly record each episode and pretend like I don't live for the moment Neil Lane makes his yearly appearance on national television, I'm going to yell it from the rooftops right now. It's time to tell you all the reasons I'm not ashamed to be in the fan club of this 15 year phenomenon.
The women actually create long-lasting friendships.
Any true fan knows to immediately stalk all the women on Instagram following episode one—it's the best way to find out the real scoop beyond what they show on television. Let's put aside the fact that these women all met because they're making out with the same guy (typically a no-no in the BFF rule book), because here's the plot twist: Most of them go on to be best friends even after their ten minutes of fame.
Sure, there's plenty of drama too, but I personally love the moments when the women talk each other through the harder parts of the experience and offer support or make each other laugh. It's like one big dysfunctional family, and isn't that just like any other?
As contestants, they travel far and wide on ABC's dime (and we do too, vicariously).
I admit that getting "left" on a deserted island after not receiving a rose isn't the end of a perfect vacation, but the destinations these people travel are seriously incredible. Some places I've never heard of before (Bimini and Curacao were both new to me!), while others are high on my bucket list.
I savor the footage of them jaunting through Switzerland or on safari through South Africa, so even if I cringe or close my eyes during the make-out scenes (granted, there's a lot of those), the scenery makes it totally worth it.
The show gives you hope (in the weirdest way).
Dating in any circumstance can feel like a total crapshoot at times, and more often than not, you find yourself wondering where all the good fish in the sea have gone. Even if it's simply a result of clever editing, The Bachelor (and even more so, The Bachelorette) have brought through a lot of (seemingly) eligible men over the last 31 seasons, reminding us just how many potential partners are out there (even if it means we have to go through the Juan Pablo's in the process).
The art direction is on point.
It's easy to forget this amidst all the drama, but designing the elaborate and "make-out friendly" dates for The Bachelor is all part of someone's actual job description. In fact, there's a whole Instagram account dedicated to what goes on behind the scenes to create the ambiance we see on a weekly basis. I find myself on the edge of my seat to see how they turn a random, remote location into the perfect scene for a date (or proposal!). It inspires me to be more adventurous on my own dates with my husband and ditch the standard dinner and a movie (or worse, takeout and TV). We might not be having dinner in the middle of a candlelit barn anytime soon, but at the very least, we'll leave our living quarters in clothing that involves actual buttons and zippers.
It makes you appreciate your own relationship.
While I am fascinated by the formula behind The Bachelor dates (helicopters, ball gowns, private concerts, and dinners with champagne but seemingly no food), I can't help but be grateful that I fell in love with my husband with little to no pomp and circumstance. Perhaps the reason so few of these relationships survive after the cameras stop rolling is because there are no more extravagant distractions to outweigh the parts of the relationship that are missing. Who needs easy conversation or connection when you're scaling the side of a building or watching fireworks on a European rooftop? Not this girl!
You can't help but feel attached.
Whether it's the single mom looking for love or the quirky second-grade teacher that reminds you of your best friend, it's impossible not to identify with and root for the women on the show. There's a camaraderie that comes with heartbreak—after all, we've been there too. When you meet these women's families and see them on cloud nine after a first date, they no longer feel like strangers. It doesn't matter if they're getting sent home or getting a proposal, I'm on that dramatic, emotional rollercoaster with them every step of the way.
They turn the tables.
Perhaps I would be more ashamed to admit that I watch this show if it wasn't for the fact that they put a woman in the driver's seat back in 2003 and every year since. There's a healthy satisfaction that comes with seeing The Bachelorette call the shots, not to mention that 5 out of the 7 couples that are still together were from The Bachelorette seasons. Who's surprised? Not me.