A few admissions right out front: (1) I do not like reality television, (2) my wife loves reality television, and (3) she really, really loves The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, so I’ve seen my share of the shows. That said, I shall continue.

I’m not generally the guy people come to for great advice on dating. A quick look at my dating history will steer anyone away from me in that department. I once went out on a blind double date in college with a girl who refused to talk to me all night long. Not a word. Nothing. After a while it became a personal challenge to get her to say something to me. I failed. Even using direct questions I failed.

“Did you like that movie?”


You get the idea. That was one of my better dating experiences in college. I had another period of dating recently, and I can tell you that dating in your high school and college years is drastically different than dating as an older person. I was an poor, old, fat, bald guy in my 50s and could actually get dates better than I could while young and in school. Most woman my age understand that there is more to finding a relationship partner than finding someone with great abs. Yet many of these same women watch The Bachelor and The Bachelorette (which I will refer to as B/B from this point on) and yearn for a ultra-romantic relationship with some guy with great abs.

Here’s how the B/B goes: 25 girls compete with one another to win the love of one guy. It’s an elimination deal. Each week a handful or maybe just one girl gets sent packing from the huge luxury mansion where they’ve been catfighting over the dude with the great abs. At the end of each show, there is a “rose ceremony” where the girls the dude wants to keep are given a rose, and the others are ignored and are cast away in a limo where the tears flow like water from a spigot. It’s the same deal when it’s 25 guys and one girl (with great… abs) although the limo sees more anger than tears.

The weekly shows are usually on a special location chosen from the fantasy section of a travel agent’s office. Usually it is shot in a country you can’t find on a globe or any island named after a saint. The dates are activities you could never dream of doing — things like shark polishing or competitive making out in a ski lodge. It is so unrealistic. It is mind-boggling to have an expectation of doing (not to mention paying to do) these things. The bar is set high. A meal from a drive-thru followed by an R-rated flick mean nothing after a ski trolley ride in the Alps.

Ideally, the B/B star whittles the 25 down to just one by the end of the season, proposes, and the happy couple live happily ever after. Yeah, right. In truth, of the 24 couples paired up so far (two seasons did not have a winner), there are only four couples who are still together, three of which are married. The ultimate show for looking for a husband or wife has a horrible success rate. It seems that taking a few months to date 25 people at the same time isn’t a great method of finding a mate. Who’d have thought that? Well anyone with brain activity.

Perhaps the saddest aspect of the B/B is that it seems to get people to expect the fantasy dates and the gorgeous partners when reality tells us that you are more likely to end up with a date where the meal has been supersized and a bargain matinee of a movie from 2012 is playing at the theater. It’s giving single persons the idea that romance can best be found through a series of romantic getaways instead of through a real relationship where a couple talks about children, money, religion, jobs, truthfulness, politics, fidelity and a host of other things which cause couples to split. The dates need to reflect reality or else it’s nothing more than a TV show. But of course, that’s what it is. B/B belongs in the same world as the one where seven people were castaways on a deserted island in the Pacific or a Texas city is presided over by an oil magnate named J.R.

OK, this rant is over. Time to go work on my great abs. Hopefully I’ll find them one day buried beneath my layers of ab cushioning.