I had to laugh when I saw ABC attempting its fifth season of The Bachelor. If the goal of the show is to match the male star with the woman of his dreams and broadcast a wedding fit for royalty a few months later, then the network is 0 for 5. The Bachelorette has definitely proven more successful, with Trista wedding Ryan in great fanfare last year and commitment-shy Ian popping the question to Meredith in spite of himself (and the urgings of his sensible brother to take things a little more slowly).
ABC probably has some rule about now doing two Bachelorette seasons back to back, but at this point, I don’t think anyone would object. The public is after a story of lasting love and I’m sorry, but the likes of Bachelor Bob and Football Hero Jesse do not a fairy tale make. Maybe ABC realizes the error of trying to marry off a recent divorcee (who was very reluctant to even do the show in the first place) and a 25-year-old bitch magnet. Their solution? Put a 40-year-old on the show. He’ll commit.
After watching this week’s episode of The Bachelor, I have serious doubts about that. Byron definitely has a lot of things going for him: long hair that could easily be swept into a ponytail to make him appear more sensitive, trustworthy smile lines and creases around his eyes, nice pecs, and an interesting career as a professional bass fisherman. He’s been divorced (from a model, no less), which could be an asset or a detriment depending on how his first marriage ended. On the one hand, if he learned from his first experience, he may have a much better idea of the kind of woman he’s really looking for. One of the women on the show tried to justify his willingness to commit by saying that since he’d already tied the knot once, he’d probably do it again. True, but he’s also ended a marriage once, too, sweetie, so who’s to say that that wouldn’t happen again as well?
Funny, though, I don’t think we’re going to get to find out what will happen if Byron weds one of these salivating estrogen factories, because I don’t think he will. The reason: he is very visibly enjoying his life as Head Pimp. Off-camera, he talks about how amazing Andrea is and how he could definitely see himself with her, but then he turns around and says the same thing about Jayne. Cheresse (isn’t that the worst name ever?), a gorgeous young thing with a toned derriere, expresses her doubts that he’s really into her and finally gets her reassurance when he hands her a rose at the end of the show. I can’t believe she actually doubted herself. Of course Byron wants to tap that ass. Who wouldn’t?
Perhaps I’ve got this guy all wrong. Maybe he really is looking for something described in a Gloria Estefan song. However, history (and common sense) shows that the qualities necessary for everlasting love are not granted the appropriate environment or sufficient amount of time to marinate under these circumstances. If ABC’s goal was to produce a sophisticated match-making machine, they’ve failed miserably.
I can’t decide who I detest more: Bachelor Byron or the ho-bags in heat who are clamoring for his attention, man meat, and a chance to polish his fishing trophies. I mean, at least Byron has put himself in a position to choose who he wants, while these women sit around the mansion, aerobicizing and grooming themselves to death in the hopes of being chosen. They’re all attractive, successful, articulate women and I have a very hard time believing that they can’t find a Prince Charming of their very own by signing up for a Cajun cookery class or pretending to faint in front of the Spam display at the Piggly Wiggly or something.
One of the more desperate women on the show, Jayne, actually said, “I’m not into competing.” Well, lovey, you’ve certainly put yourself in a precarious position then by pitting yourself against 24 other hotties. There are infinitely simpler and less humiliating ways of finding a husband. Hell, my own parents hooked up through a personals ad and this summer, I attended the wedding of an ecstatically in love couple who found each other online. I also know countless numbers of folks who met in school, at church, on the job, and occasionally through the bar scene.
If I sound too smug about all of this, I apologize. I’ve been happily married to my college boyfriend for four years now and I didn’t have to kiss many frogs to get to him. However, if I were a bit older and longing for the thing I already have (and it is indeed wonderful), I would be seeking out more viable methods for getting what I wanted. However, I suppose that these women have some amount of savvy because if things don’t work out with Byron (and for 96% or more of them, that’s true), they’ve had a chance to expose themselves to a national audience full of smart, caring, fertile men just aching to walk down the aisle and start spawning. The only question is: are these dream boys watching? Or are they out getting scooped up by some other girl who chooses not to fellate the whims of some stupid primetime reality show?
Of course, even more puzzling than all of these questions is one that I need to direct at myself. If I hate this set-up and its characters so much, why do I find it so irresistible? Is it a vicarious thrill? Is it because I have low self-esteem and need a reminder that, by comparison, I’m not such a loser? Is it because I like watching people make out? The answer to all of these questions is surely some degree of affirmative, but I know what I’m secretly longing for. I’m waiting for Byron to go on another mystery date and watch the tears of joy well up in his eyes when he’s reunited with Jay, the other Bachelor candidate he competed against in the season’s first episode. Those two would make the most adorable couple. Plus, their union would prove my theory that anyone who divorces a model is probably, down deep, really gay.