I also watched The Bachelorette. And Bachelor in Paradise. And all the Before and After The Rose shows. If this is sufficient reason to revoke my Man Card, I understand, as there were times after watching that I felt so much estrogen surge through my body I could probably get pregnant. The Bachelor is a gross and pandering train wreck of humanity; an unrealistic caricature of love and romance that puts the vomit in “this makes me vomit.” And I couldn’t get enough of it.
Why did I stop? Was it an emotional evolution into Enlightened Malehood? A gradual, social progression into becoming Sensitive Man Bun Guy? No, not at all. I’ve tried to get my hair to do that and it won’t.
For those of you who don’t live in Reality TV Land, The Bachelor is basically a game show where twenty physically perfect women vie for the love of one guy, who may or may not be a Master Class Instructor in Douchebaggery, and who definitely has been genetically modified to eliminate every air follicle on his body. At the end of each episode, Mr. Tool Belt hands out a rose to each of the women he thinks should hang around and dote on him, and gently/not-so-gently guides the losers out the front door. Mix in dates of completely unrealistic magnitude and a metric buttload of alcohol and hilarity ensues.
By the end of the season, we’ve eliminated all but two women, one of whom will be the lucky girl to get a wedding proposal from Brad (they’re mostly named Brad). Usually, it comes down to Courtney (they’re mostly named Courtney), the “Professional Sports Team Choreographer” with Daddy Issues Galore and a face that underlies her majority-shareholder position in Botox, and Tiffany (they’re mostly named Tiffany), the
“Entrepreneur” with a heart of gold and a child from a previous bad decision, who, in a stroke of Divine Intervention, actually has a shot at making Brad happy. Rallying all six brain cells, Brad chooses Courtney. Tiffany is whisked off in a limo where she unleashes a torrent of snot and self-loathing to the camera. Brad and Courtney are in love for ten minutes, and their inevitable breakup is a blip on the newsstands. Hilarity ensues.
There is certainly some good old-fashioned voyeuristic fun in watching The Bachelor. Each episode is hand-crafted by the producers to create as much conflict and drama as possible. This is typically accomplished by mixing Borderline Personality Millennials with copious amounts of alcohol. This allows us viewers to watch the madness unfold from our self-righteous perch, knowing full well we would never make the stupid decisions spewing before us like a dose of Ipecac. In all honesty, I also have to admit there was this bitter, sanctimonious side of me – the geeky kid who was rejected by the cheerleaders – that felt glorious redemption watching preternaturally hot women getting their hearts broken. Every week. On camera.
But it wasn’t my guilt or shame over this revelation that made me stop watching. I just turned the TV off. I know that seems anti-climactic, but that’s what happened. One week I was watching, the next week I wasn’t.
Actually, it was more like one week I was watching, and the next week I understood intrinsically that I’m about 108 years old now, I’ve got maybe 23 seconds left to live, and I’ve got these kids to raise, this book to finish, this blog to write and this job that I apparently have to work to pay the freaking bills. I didn’t change or grow or evolve (which is an issue I’m sure I’ll deal with down the road), it’s just that my time with Brad & Courtney was done.
What it comes down to is this. When I was 32, I was backstage with my bandmates at the Fillmore in San Francisco, having finished our opening slot for Hootie and The Blowfish. Right in the middle of one of their songs, Darius Rucker (Hootie’s lead singer), came into our dressing room with a bottle of Wild Turkey and said, “why don’t we let those boys jam a little while and we’ll do in this bottle?” We drank, we laughed, things got blurry, it was awesome.
I am terrified – just absolutely terrified – that twenty years from now I’ll say, “when I was 52, I watched The Bachelor.”
Turning Off The TV And Getting On With Your Life Pairs With: The 2013 Pont de Chevalier Knights Valley Chardonnay, Sonoma County. Knights Bridge, one of the most acclaimed producers in the Knights Valley AVA, show their French street cred in the Pont de Chevalier label. This unoaked Chardonnay is the antithesis of the Napa style: If The Bachelor is Rombauer, then Pont de Chevalier is House of Cards.
This is not to say that the PDC is another Chablis knock-off, trying to be in vogue with the current stainless tank fermented Chards. The magic here is the fruit, courtesy of the unique terroir of the Knights Valley AVA. It is one of the most eastern-oriented Sonoma AVAs, just north of Calistoga, and buffered by the hills from the typical cold winds that come off the Pacific Ocean in most of Sonoma. This results in a warmer climate and more intense concentration of fruit. By allowing that fruit to speak for itself, the more subtle characteristics of Chardonnay are revealed, demonstrating a deeper complexity to this typically manipulated varietal than you’ve imagined.