14 Things “The Bachelor” Teaches Us About Dating

Season 19, Episode 4 / ABC

The Bachelor is watched every week by groups of drunk but very intelligent women who otherwise eschew reality shows. Although people with NPR tote bags who talk about The Wire at parties probably aren’t most of their demographic, that universal appeal is what’s made it such a massive franchise.

My viewing parties alone included two Ivy League graduates, two book editors, and a handful of other women with equally amazing careers. We talk about The Bachelor the same way we used to discuss Serial. I guess it’s because The Bachelor is a funhouse mirror of our own dating experiences. Being in a house of 30 women competing for one man, isn’t a world away from being, say, coping with the unfavorable ratio of single men to single women in New York—often with at last one roommate.

After Monday’s finale, I’m not sure we’ll be watching next season. With the shake-up. it’s hard to say. As a feminist, it can be tough to watch all the infighting in the Bachelor’s harem of women, but The Bachelorette’s reversed-gender competition is usually an antidote. But not anymore: Kaitlin and Britt will both be Bachelorettes on the same season. I guess there wasn’t enough girl fights this season to hold people over.

Season 19 finale / ABC

1. The person who wants it the most actually does get it sometimes! Whitney, the fertility nurse who wanted a family like a rabid schnauzer wants Beggin Strips, won out over ambivalent Becca.

2. But sometimes that win is bittersweet. Because coming out to greet your fiancé when he was just recalling how much he liked the girl he almost proposed to, in front of 200 strangers, is every little girl’s dream, right?

3. And… to be fair, waffling can really get you pretty far. For all their talk about how women “love jerks,” as a rule men seem pretttttty taken by women who give zero shits about them (i.e. Becca).

4. It will subtly trick you into thinking that “dates” usually consist of a six-course meal on a candlelit table for two surrounded by a moat, followed by a surprise Big & Rich concert. Usually you’ll get a couple cocktails. Maybe an appetizer. There probably won’t be swans.

5. Sometimes you don’t want what you think you want! Becca, a 25-year-old chiropractic assistant/virgin, needed marriage like I need a hole in the head.

Season 19, Episode 8 / ABC

6. Always bring a bottle of wine and flowers to your potential mother-in-law’s house. This is one of those weird etiquette rules you’d usually learn the hard way, as a woman. So, thanks, The Bachelor!

7. Condescension never got you anywhere. Kelsey was probably one of the most horrible contestants in the history of the show. In fact, I’m gonna keep discussions about her to a minimum, because she makes me nauseous.

8. People can totally get away with presenting themselves however they want. Chris’s personal brand is “humble farmer, NBD.” In reality, he’s a land baron worth at least a million dollars He probably has a vault of corn that he rolls around in like Scrooge McDuck.

9. Dudes will pretty much expect you to sacrifice anything for them. Leave my job and friends and move to a town with a population of 500 where no stores are open in the middle of the day? Apparently nobody told Chris that growing up in a tiny shithole of a town means you have to stay there.

10. Having an incredibly beautiful woman as competition is pretty much as hard as it was in middle school. Britt, a Bratz Doll with an inner glow who effortlessly got special treatment from Chris, was projected on throughout the season. She brought out the worst in the other women. (Side lesson: Men never know when you are and aren’t wearing makeup.)

11. Talking shit never got anybody anywhere. Carly came off a lot better on the show than she did on The Women Tell All, where she just seemed mean-spirited and insecure—the bully, not the victim.

Season 19, “The Women Tell All”

12. You shouldn’t juggle dates if you can’t be confident about it. Chris’s attitude was so apologetic that it came off weak-willed. I can’t remember any Bachelor who apologized so awkwardly every time he dropped a girl back off at the house.

13. It’s 2015, and (some) men still have Madonna/whore complexes. Is it me, or did Chris oust every girl he was sexually attracted to, e.g. Kaitlin and Jade.? It’s pretty obvious he wasn’t considering physical connection when he wound up with the final two.

14. Whoever ends up with Ashley S. is a lucky, lucky person.


The Bachelor Recap: The Final Rose

Are Emma Watson and Prince Harry Dating?

#TinderTuesdays: That Time I Slept With a Cross-Dresser