Crib notes: More bachelorettes should do the choosing
I’ve been a mostly consistent “The Bachelor” viewer during its 15 seasons. I was hooked when the second season couple, Aaron and Helene, got engaged during the finale. My romantic side bubbled as he swung her around in a tropical location after proposing to her and offering her the final rose. I sat in wonder, tuning out my husband’s cynicism that they’d never last.
I was glued to the TV, just as I was as a girl, when I got up in the middle of the night with my sisters to watch Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s fairytale wedding. And as women around the country have made “The Bachelor” one of the top reality franchises of the decade, I’ve been tagging right along. It’s been my big girl version of romanticism.
I remember that first season I watched, thinking, “Aaron and Helene are going to live happily ever after!” Only to have that opinion dashed the next morning when it was announced he’d callously broken up with her only weeks after the finale taped.
And since then, every time one of the engaged couples breaks up, I’ve thought about a book I read years ago, “The Rules,” by Sherrie Schneider and Ellen Fein.
The authors argue that men only propose to not-so-easy-to-get women. Some of the rules that stand out are: “Never Call Him,” “Always end a phone conversation first” and “If he doesn’t call by Wednesday, never accept a Saturday night date.” Wow! No wonder none of the bachelors on the show’s 15 seasons have found enduring love with any of the contestants. Forget about blaming the fantasy factor — many say the private helicopter jaunts over radiant waterfalls or private concert performances by Train are not real life and that is why the relationships crumble once the couples navigate the real world. I say the biggest reason these relationships don’t work is that the women aren’t cherished from the very beginning.
Our brains tell us game playing in relationships is bad. The sexes are equitable, right? So who’s to say a man has to hunt the girl? But what thousands of years of animal behavior show is that the male species wants and needs a hunt.
Now, instead of hoping and believing along with the women that they’ll finally find love and a happy ending I want to hurl something at the TV and tell those young women to run! And it’s no offense to this season’s Prince Charming, Brad Womack. I want to shake them and yell, “You shouldn’t have to work so hard to get a man to notice you!” and “Why are you crying for a one-on-one date?!” I watch the show now because it’s like watching a car wreck — it’s just too hard to look away.
I have two daughters, albeit young ones. I’ll be mortified if they throw themselves at a man when they’re ready to settle down or cat fight with other intelligent grown women like the ladies do on the show.
I have sons, too. I want them to think that women are to be cherished and revered, not selected for tight abs or for which ones play tonsil hockey with them first. Those are not rules girls.
Trista Renn was the atypical bachelorette on the show (there have been 9 bachelors and only 6 choosy bachelorettes in the show’s 15 season run.) The gilded Goldilocks at the top of the tower, Trista dazzled her 25 suitors with confidence and charisma. She was coy. She played by “The Rules.” She is also still married to the man who beat out all the others at the time and it’s because he saw her as a prized jewel he had to work so hard to get.