I’m a feminist. And not just the “sure, men and women should be considered equals” type of feminist. I’m more… the kind that probably annoys you. And yet, I can’t get enough of The Bachelor. For the last few years, I haven’t missed an episode of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, or even the god-awful Bachelor in Paradise. Sometimes it feels a little icky to watch these shows, and I often find myself defending my addiction to people who ask “how can you watch that crap?!”
I first started watching The Bachelor at the beginning of Juan Pablo’s season. My fellow D&H writer was already a die hard fan who had been watching for years and convinced me to commit to this season with her. After a single episode, I was hooked. JP’s was an especially great season and many mark it as a turning point for the show – this was the season that gave The Bachelor a conscience. It’s not that the show got any less ugly or shameless after this season, but at least we started talking about the social issues of the show in a meaningful way. Clare and JP boned in the ocean – slut shaming ensued! Sharleen “the panda” stood out in the “sea of brown bears” and we were forced to think about the type of woman who goes onto this show. Then, Andi left and made fun of Juan Pablo and his accent, cluelessness, and hypocrisy. This was a much-written-about season of TV and I got sucked into the drama pretty damn quickly. And then, I realized the secret to cultivating the lifelong Bachelor franchise fan – they make a loser of one season the star of the next! We all loved Andi, the badass assistant district attorney on JP’s season who left on her own accord. So how could we NOT watch the following season, which starred Andi as The Bachelorette? We all knew that bitch was a catch and we all wanted to watch her conquer her own season full of dumb beefcakes. Then she let Chris, the hot farmer, go and he became the next Bachelor. He dumped Kaitlyn, the funny beer-drinkin’ Canuck, and she became the next Bachelorette! More than two years later, I haven’t missed an episode; I fear I might be hooked for life.
Because the show is chock-full of manufactured drama and manipulated coincidences, we Bachelor-watchers usually file this show under the “guilty pleasure” category. But I’m tired of feeling guilty for it – if it makes me happy, I’m not apologizing. This show has somehow become a connecting thread for some of my best friends and I over the last few years. Pretty much every Monday night, we gather around the TV and take turns bringing the wine and cheese. Last season, we even made a gambling bracket for the contestants on the show! (Not to brag, but I won). Is it basic? Are our conversations borderline idiotic? Do we devote a tragic amount of time to watching attractive people speed date on television? Fuck it, yes.
So in January, when Bachelorette Kaitlyn’s dumpee Ben begins his “amazing journey,” you better believe I will be getting drunk and watching with my best friends. It’s no less mind-numbing than Monday Night Football, and Ben is hotter than Tom Brady anyway.