Fans of The Bachelorette, which I’m guessing is about 30% more than some would care to admit (that’s right, I mean you, boyfriends), spent last Monday night on the edge of their couch as Desiree “Des” Hartsock searched for love on the beaches, mega-mansions, and even (no, I’m not kidding) bridges of Los Angeles.
As someone who semi-forces herself to sit through two hours of this popular ABC show each Monday, I can’t seem to erase from my mind how much The Bachelorette (and romance reality shows in general) distorts its viewers ideas of love, dating, and behavior in general.
Listed below are some prime examples of what I like to call “Delusional Things The Bachelorette — And Other Craptastic Television — Makes Us Think About Love.”
1.) It is normal to fall in love with someone in one night. Especially if that someone has a child, disease, or tragic past.
2.) If your crush doesn’t have a bridge, road, or monument shut down so you can have a fancy dinner date on the interstate, this person probably doesn’t like you.
3.) Hanging chandeliers from a bridge is not only normal, but romantic.
4.) It is reasonable to talk about your dad abandoning your family on a first date.
5.) Nothing intensifies a couple’s connection quite like starring in a music video together.
6.) When lacking a good gift idea, give your love interest something old with someone else’s name in it.
7.) Constantly mentioning “being there for the right reason” without elaborating on what that reason is, is a great conversation starter, ender, and in-betweener.
8.) Dressing up in wedding clothes is a low-key first date idea.
9.) At a loss for words? Describing something as “magical” tends to do the trick.
10.) Soulja Boy has great insight on love and romance. Kiss you through the phone? Don’t mind if I do!
11.) If you’ve been through a terrible tragedy, it’s wise to keep documentation of said events in your pocket just in case anyone you’re macking on wants proof.
12.) Oh, yeah, and dating 25 people at the same time is totally normal, not to mention, classy.
But seriously: When did we go from watching insightful and educational television programming to absorbing hours upon hours of over-edited and blatantly unrealistic "reality" shows? It seems as if we get some perverse satisfaction out of pretending reality romance behavior is something to be desired and and that its outlandish scenarios are even remotely plausible.
In the real world it takes time and commitment in order to really get to know someone. My guess is that it also takes more than a couple months to know if someone’s actually marriage material. It’s probably even safe to assume that having half a dozen cameras follow you around at all times makes you act less like yourself and apparently more like a love-sick, semi-drunk goldfish.
Perhaps it’s best to just take the show with a grain of salt, let the track record for successful Bachelorette couples speak for itself, and stay tuned to watch the post-Bachelorette program Mistresses immediately after — because hey, at this point, why the heck not?