I am a recent fan of “The Bachelor” franchise — I never watched the show until one fateful night spring quarter of my freshman year. The first episode of Kaitlyn Bristowe’s season of “The Bachelorette” had me hooked, from Chris “Cupcake” driving a cupcake up to the mansion to a drunk contestant getting kicked out the very first episode. Her season was full of drama and scandal and made some really good television.
As most fans of the show do, I have marveled at the idea of being wooed and chased after by 30 attractive, well dressed people. We imagine ourselves handing out the roses with extremely dramatic music playing in the background or flying over Puerto Rico in a helicopter as a handsome hunk professes his love for us. It’s all very romantic — at least in our heads. Which leads to me wonder, would dating “Bachelor”-style be as romantic in real life?
Either as a contestant for “The Bachelor” or as “The Bachelorette,” I wouldn’t be a fan of the situation. As a contestant, the man you’re interested in is also simultaneously dating at most 29 other women. He kisses these other women, tells them intimate secrets about himself and makes every other woman feel just as special as he makes you feel. That alone is enough to turn me off from the idea, but there’s also the fact that he’s judging you the entire time.
Sure, in normal everyday dating, there’s an element of judging a person to see whether a relationship will work or not. However, in the format of the show, “The Bachelor” is not only judging you off of 10-minute dates, but he’s judging you by comparing you to multiple other women. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a terrible experience to go through, especially in front of millions of viewers who like to tweet about your cankles.
Dating as “The Bachelor” or “Bachelorette” doesn’t initially sound as bad. You’re the one making the decisions, doing the judging and falling in love. You get to go through every single romantic date on the show, you get the contestants doing their best to impress you — it all sounds fantastic … until you begin to wonder if this contestant is just in it for the fame or until you have to turn away someone you genuinely have feelings for just because those feelings aren’t as strong as your feelings for someone else.
I can’t imagine how hard it must be to be falling in love with multiple people in front of millions of people. And on the flip-side, you have to be 100 percent present for each contestant. I believe that even the most extroverted of all extroverts would get tired of being an active conversation partner for so many people all of the time, let alone allowing yourself to be emotionally vulnerable for everyone. Overall, it sounds like an exhausting way to explore your dating pool and one that may not lead to future happiness.
Contact Arianna Lombard at ariannal ‘at’ stanford.edu.