Real Life Dating vs. “The Bachelor”: Two Different Journeys

So, as we approach a new year of 2017, and season #847 (I lost track long ago) of The Bachelor, which began this week with 30 women competing for the love of a mop-haired dude  named Nick who mumbles and has a lisp –  I thought it might be fun to do a humorous but accurate comparison of reality-show life in the dating world, vs. real life in the dating world. Hey, I’m a 45 year old widow who just moved back in with her parents because I can no longer afford life as an adult in NYC. What else do I have to do right now, besides create comparison articles that give me another excuse to lightly mock the hilarity that is The Bachelor? Answer: Nothing. So here we go ….

Meeting for the First Time: 

The Bachelor In real life
On The Bachelor, a first meeting with your new guy starts off by pulling up to a literal mansion, in a limousine, followed by 29 other women who are also meeting your guy/their guy for the first time. You get about 20 seconds or less to make your first impression and say hello – and on this week’s premiere episode, we saw everything from girls feeding Nick maple syrup from their fingers, to a girl dressed up in a dolphin costume. (although everyone on the show insisted she looked more like a shark, but whatever.) Also, if you really impress your new man, you just might receive a “first-impression rose” from him. But, there’s only a 1 in 30 chance of that happening, so the competition is fierce. You also have to worry about what all the other girls are doing, wearing, how they are behaving in comparison to you. In this week’s premiere, more than 15 of the 30 women showed up in red dresses. This was a major cause of trauma and stress for them, and caused them to drink more wine. (what doesn’t on this show?) Also, when meeting your new man, and sharing a moment with him outside laughing or kissing, there is a very good chance that you will be interrupted mid-conversation, by one of the other 29 wine-swilling, red-dress wearing, determined ladies. Just trying to complete a conversation with your new love interest, in reality-tv land, is a huge challenge. Lastly, the first night you meet, might also be your last. If he doesn’t find you appealing enough, he will send you packing on night number one. Harsh. In real life, a  first meeting with your new guy might be the result of friends hooking you up, or of taking a chance on one of the many dating sites offered to us regular folk who don’t go on television to meet our future partners. If you live in a major city, your date probably doesn’t have a car, and you might not want him knowing where you live anyway, in case he’s a serial killer. So it’s really best to meet in the city and just jump on the subway. If you live in the burbs, I still think most people when meeting for the first time, probably meet at said date location. Again, he might be a serial killer. If you really impress your new guy on your date, he may or may not buy you dinner. Where this dinner takes place is another fun mystery! It could be The Ritz, or it could be McDonald’s. Or he could be really cheap and take you for coffee. Either way, there’s no guarantee that he will buy your dinner, (or coffee) as sometimes you meet ungentlemanly dudes who slide the bill over to your side of the table after dinner, and say with a smirk: “Time to settle up.” (not that that’s happened to me personally or anything).If you make a good impression, you may or may not get a goodnight kiss, or sometimes you may mutually decide to go much further, and turn it into a goodnight “hookup.”  Then it may get all kinds of awkward the next week, when he never calls you back or texts you even, after exchanging bodily fluids and drinking way too much wine. So, the first night you meet, might also be the last night you ever hear from him again. Or, he might turn out to be a serial killer. Harsh.


The Living Environment:

On The Bachelor, your new love interest lives in a mansion, paid for by a television network. There are lots of cocktail parties and pool parties at this mansion, and there are always lots and lots of other girls at these parties too. YOU also live in a different mansion, or sometimes in various beautiful hotels, whenever your man decides to travel somewhere “amazing”on this “journey” that the network also pays for. You do not live by yourself though. You live with all the other women who are also desperately competing for your man’s love. There are lots of roses given out at random times, and also, during a “ceremony” where multiple girls receive roses. If you get one, you get to stay longer in the mansion or hotel.

The living environment you will be in is extremely emotional. You will be living with loads of women, and these women are hormonal, have periods, and have been cut off from the internet and television while on this reality show.

In real life, your new love interest hopefully lives on his own, in a house or an apartment that he rents or owns himself. This is not a guarantee, however. You may be dating a guy who lives with his mommy, or who is “separated” from his wife, but in reality, he’s “never going to leave her.” Your alcohol situation is up to you in real life, so the amount of wine you choose to drink is optional. If you receive roses or other flowers from your man, it is because he really likes you, and you should thank him. You will not be living with multiple women, unless you live in NYC – then you may live in a 2 bedroom apartment with 21 people. If you go on a date with your new man, at least you know that at the end of that date, you won’t be asked to leave your own home. Its pretty much guaranteed that as awful as your date is, you will still be allowed to return home when it has ended. No sad rejection limo necessary. In fact, no limo at all.
The producers also supply them with endless amounts of wine and other alcoholic beverages. They drink wine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Whenever food appears, nobody eats it. They only drink more wine, and they drink it out of the hugest wine glasses you have ever seen in your life. Your roommates will walk around sometimes in bikini tops, towels, mini-skirts, and sometimes they will make innuendo comments about not wearing underwear. There is a lot of crying. Endless amounts of sobbing coming from all of these women, and you may find yourself sobbing too, should your new man not be paying enough attention to you on a particular day, or should you find yourself out of wine for an hour or more. In between dates, you will spend a lot of time at the mansion, gossiping about other people’s dates with Nick, and making assumptions and probably crying. There is also a lot of sitting around and staring longingly out various windows, like in those commercials for depression medication.
Your roommates will also do a lot of the same, because apparently nobody on this show works, or they have fake jobs that allow them to take 3 months off to film this ridiculous show. You will be rooming with a lot of dental hygenists (there are a minimum of 3 in each season – I think its in the contract), spokesmodels, “dolphin-enthusiasts”, small business owners, and other made up careers that don’t actually exist. There will be a lot of sitting around in hot tubs, holding your giant glass of wine. You may go on a date one night, and come back to find your suitcases sitting out by the front door of the mansion. This means that Nick has sent you home, and you have to go ride in the sad rejection limo.


The Dates:

The Bachelor In real life
On The Bachelor, you should be prepared emotionally and physically for some pretty bizarre dates. You will or will not be chosen for the honor to go out on a date with your new guy, via a “Date Card” that is send via host Chris Harrison. Should you be chosen for a date, you may be lucky and receive a “one on one” date with your man, where you actually get to be alone together for a few hours, or you may be selected as one of a dozen or so others, to participate in a “group date”, which sounds like an orgy but it’s not. Group dates often involve silly activities such as pretending to be comedians and telling jokes about your man onstage, playing a sport of some kind to compete for more time with your man, or other silly-ass things. You will have to find a way to stand out in the crowd on this group date, like maybe pretending to fall ill or faking an injury during the sport playing, so that said man-meat will come running to your rescue. Your man, and other women on the show, may use words to describe the date or to describe anything at all, like “journey”, ‘amazing,” or “terrified.” Please know that in the world of this reality-show, everything is always amazing, and everyone is always terrified. Terrified of getting their heart broken, terrified of rejection, terrified that they won’t get the rose tonight. Terrified, terrified, terrified.

If you are lucky enough to get a one-on-one date with your new man, who, in this case is a mumbling fool named Nick who says stuff like: “I don’t know how to sit sideways on a couch” – you will be in store for an incredibly cheesy, manufactured romance-filled day. It may start out with a picnic on a beach or in a park. You may be taken on a helicopter ride over some exotic island somewhere (this show looooves helicopter rides almost as much as they love the word “journey”), or you may be asked to jump off a cliff or skydive or some other risky thing, with your new man, to show that you can trust each other and take chances together. Because everyone knows if you can skydive together and not die, that means you are compatible for marriage and for life. Your date may include dinner, which nobody in the history of the show ever eats. You will drink wine, because not a day goes by without wine drinking. Cameras will follow you everywhere, and you may or may not receive a rose on your date. If you do not receive a rose, you may be asked to get into the rejection limo and go home, because your new guy doesn’t see a future with you. Sorry.  If things go well, your date may end with a “private performance” outside somewhere, by some random country artist that is supposedly famous but that nobody has ever heard of. You may make out during this dance, because you get so lost in the moment of thinking that any of this is real in any way, shape, or form.  You may tell the cameras that you felt so special and that this was one of the best nights of your life. Then, the very next night, Nick will go out with someone else, and it will probably involve a helicopter or picnic or rock climbing, and you will be sad and jealous. Enter more wine. If you should be one of the lucky ladies to make the top three choices for Nick’s heart this season, your last date with him will be an ‘overnight date”, that comes with the option of staying in the “fantasy suite”, where they turn off the cameras so the two of you can sleep together.  If you are the third girl of the three women on dates, you should be aware that this man-whore has probably just got done sleeping with another chick, and then another chick before that – just hours before you sleep with him.  In the morning, you will enjoy breakfast with your new man served in bed, and then you will leave promptly so he can get ready for his next date soon. Nothing like feeling special!

In real life, you should be prepared for some pretty bizarre dates. You never know what you’re getting into on the dating sites, or through friends, or out at singles bars. Once you are dating your person for awhile, and have gone on some dates together, you will probably decide to see each other exclusively, and so you will not be competing with a bunch of other women. Yay! You may decide to stay home one night as a date, and rent a movie together and cuddle. No cameras will be following you on your date, so you can do as you please. You can keep getting to know each other, and let yourself be adaptable to different things happening on your dates. Explore new places and conversations. You may get lost in the moments, and there may be intimacy. Enjoy it. When you date someone, whether its two times or for 7 months, try to think of it as getting to know someone new. Making a new connection. If you look at it that way, then no connection will ever feel pointless or like a waste of time. In real life dating and in life, every connection serves a purpose. As for intimacy, I prefer the real life way to the reality show one. Both parties involved in the relationship shall decide if and when the time is right for intimacy. You will not receive a creepy invitation from TV host Chris Harrison, inviting you to stay overnight and supplying you with a key. Instead, you and your partner will make these decisions together, like adults. Real life sex is very complicated and messy, and not as seamless as they make it look on TV. Sometimes you might be having your period. Or the condom doesn’t work right. Or he can’t perform right with the condom. Or you aren’t sure if this guy is really worth you starting up a whole new birth control plan (its a huuuuuge pain in the as, and expensive!) for. Or one of you just isn’t in the mood. Or one or both of you has children, so you have to figure out WHERE to do it and when the kids won’t be around. And then after you have sex, a whole new set of emotions emerges. Things become closer. More intimate. In real life relationships, there are no producers or cameras or manipulating tactics going on. Its all up to the two of you, and where you want to go next.



















The Proposal: 

The Bachelor In real life
On The Bachelor, should you survive the creepy and tacky “Overnight Date”, and make it into the top two choices for the best wife, you will then have to wait around anxiously, wondering if you are the one that Nick will propose to, or if your love story will end with a sad limo ride to the airport and nothing to show for it. Your man will meet some key members of your family, on television, in a contrived visit where they all get to know him in the course of an hour or two. You will meet his family as well, and they will all pretend as if this is all a perfectly normal way to meet the person you choose to spend your life with. Your man will be visited by a man representing an expensive jewelry store, and he will choose engagement rings, not only for you, but also for the other woman who may become his wife if you don’t. You will get up on the morning of your proposal/non-proposal, and you will stare longingly out at some gorgeous ocean or misty skyline, as you sip your coffee in your silk bathrobe and cameras film you pondering life’s events. Eventually, a limo will pick you up, you will be all dressed up in an elegant gown, and you will walk down a ridiculously long and complicated path to get to your future fiance or your future ex-boyfriend jerk who dumped you on national television. He will take your hands in his, he will review your entire few weeks relationship so the TV audience has a nice build up, and then he will keep us in suspense just a bit longer before either letting you go, or proposing.


In real life, a marriage proposal can happen anytime, in a number of ways, places, circumstances. Real life families are messy and dysfunctional, and their involvement will depend on your relationship with them. A proposal can be planned or spontaneous, and can happen in so many different ways. My husband proposed to me the Sunday before Christmas, in NYC, underneath the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. It was magical, and meaningful for us, because I’ve always been a christmas freak. A friend of mine proposed to his now wife while they were sitting on the couch together watching a movie. He just decided in that moment that he wanted to be with her like that every day, so he turned to her and said casually: “Would you do me the honor of being my wife?” She said yes, and they went out ring shopping the next morning after breakfast. Every kind of proposal in real life is beautiful to me, because it is so real and it is two people deciding to blend their lives together. There are no cameras or pomp and circumstance (unless you want that), like on a TV show, but to the two people involved, it’s the biggest and most important thing in the world. And it should be. Love IS the biggest thing in the world, and it always will be.
 If you are proposed to, you should know that literally 5 minutes earlier, he just dumped the other chick.  You should also know that as soon as just a few hours ago, he wasn’t even sure which of you he was going to choose TO BE HIS WIFE. Again, way to make someone feel special! If you are proposed to, sweeping music will play under you as you kiss and he picks you up and spins you in the air and you laugh and laugh. Three months later, you will be all over People magazine, there will be some weird cheating scandal, and you will break up.

So, after this humorous look at reality-TV dating and love versus real-life dating and love, what do you think? Which sounds better to you? For me, I think I will stick with real life. I don’t really like wine enough to stand around drinking vads of it on the daily, I cant see living in a giant house with 29 other women, and there’s no way in hell I’m going skydiving to prove my love for someone. Even though there is a lot of risk in real-life dating of getting your heart broken, or getting rejected – life is all about risks, and taking a chance could often lead you to the most wonderful, beautiful thing in the world. Everything beautiful starts with somebody making that first move, and then it just grows from there. I think that most of the audience for The Bachelor is young women. At least from what I have seen, a lot of women watch the show. I don’t think they watch it because they WANT what they see on the show. I think they watch it because it’s a form of escape, its a form of fantasy, and it’s a form of silly, meaningless fun. This might seem like a strange comparison, but I think that a lot of women watch The Bachelor for similar reasons that men watch porn. We KNOW none of it is real, we know its all fake and manipulated and that most of the couples that get engaged on the show end up breaking up later anyway – but watching it is a turn-on anyway. It brings to life that image of the knight in shining armor, coming to rescue us. More importantly, we see ourselves as that final girl that was chosen. Out of all those women, he chose HER. We see ourselves as HER, and then we think about the relationships we have in our own lives, and consider how lucky we truly are – because that person, my person, chose me. Out of everyone in the universe they could have chosen, they chose me.

Limos and roses and exotic islands and hot tubs aside, give me real-life romance and love any day of the week. Fantasy is fun and a nice escape to look at, when you don’t feel like thinking about anything. But real life, true, intense, beautiful, all-encompassing love??? That’s hot!!! And I don’t even have to rush out of the Fantasy Suite the morning after, so they can prep it for the next girl.